Street comes alive with the ‘12 Days of Christmas’
YARDLEY BOROUGH – While it’s uncertain whether anyone would consider 10 leaping lords an appropriate holiday gift, it is certain that the lords, along with the other 11 gifts made famous by the English carol, have become a tradition unto themselves in Yardley.
Quite simply, Christmas simply wouldn’t be Christmas in Yardley without the “12 Days of Christmas” displayed strategically set up on Canal Street rooftops, yards and porches.
The unique, organized display is always the talk of the town around Christmas. Start at one end and see a partridge in a pear tree. The house across the street has two turtle doves perched precariously from the fence. The displays continue all the way until the other end of the street, where 12 drummers are drumming by the home’s front door.
Cars pass by slowly as passengers check out the festive holiday decorations. Taking a romantic stroll at night, folks can see the illuminated characters. It’s almost as if they nine ladies dancing are moving if you look close enough.
The idea started at least four decades ago when Craig Hill, one of the Canal Street residents, came up with the idea of cutting wood into shapes, which would depict such things as turtle doves and ladies dancing. The idea was to visually tell the story of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”
Hill’s displays originated in the 1970s and ran for a couple of years, but stopped. In 1989, it was resurrected, according to Joy Harrington, who lives in the red house on Canal Street.
“It’s been running continuously since then,” said Harrington, a retired teacher.
Twelve houses on Canal Street each have a depiction of each of the 12 days.
Harrington has three wooden French hens on her roof.
“Some of them have been changed over the years,” said Harrington, “but we have the originals from the 70s.”
Getting the hens on the roof was once a challenge. Someone would climb up on the roof.
“WH fiJuUHG RuW hRw WR GR LW RuW WhH window because we’re getting older,” she joked.
Each display is put up at the start of the season. “They have to be up for the Christmas Parade, which was Dec. 1 this year,” Harrington said. “They will stay up until New Years.
Beth Trevisani, whose Canal Street house is closest to East Afton Avenue, has been spearheading the project. There’s a sign in her front yard, “Welcome to Canal Street.“
“She takes over that responsibility and magically everyone complies,” Harrington said.
Harrington said it’s truly a labor of love. “We know people really look forward to it,” she said. “We certainly see people walking the street, driving the street and singing “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”
A front porch on Canal Street in Yardley features 11 pipers piping.
A partridge surrounded by -- what else? -- pears hangs in a tree.
Three French hens perched on a roof on Canal Street in Yardley.
Two of the eight milking maids featured at a house on Canal St.