Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

How the 12 Days of Christmas Run A-Fowl of the Law (Part II)

Now we bring you Part II of our series on the painful illegalities of the beloved Twelve Days of Christmas.

As noted in Part I, at FindLaw, we have a minor tradition of discussing some of the legal issues that can crop up around cherished holiday traditions. So, without further a-do, we return to the terrible, terrible ways the Twelve Days of Christmas gifts, pear tree and all, run a-fowl (excuse the repeated and repeated pun) of modern law.

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...

7 swans a-swimming

If you get the swans swimming, keep them that way -- at least in the U.K. Under English law, it is illegal to kill a swan. Evidently, they belong to the Queen. No doubt she would be very, very angry with you if they died.

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...

8 maids a milking

From birds, we now go to people. Since these maids are clearly hard working women, you must ensure they were not trafficked in violation of national or international law. Surely you can do that much of a background check.

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...

9 drummers drumming

Check your local noise ordinances for restrictions on massive amounts of drumming. Let's cite New York City's Local Law 113, which as of 2005, placed some real restrictions on commercial music.

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...

10 pipers piping

Really, the same issues hold for piping as for drumming. But while we're at it, better pay those pipers the appropriate state sanctioned minimum wage, even if they were "a gift."

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...

11 ladies dancing

Is it that kind of dancing? If so, you are going to have to deal with lots of local restrictions, but take heart. The Supreme Court has kindly said that erotic dancing is artistic expression at least partially protected by the First Amendment.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...

12 lords a-leaping

This one has always been confusing. Why would lords leap, exactly? Let us dismiss this one by simply noting that in our great American democracy, we do not have an inherited aristocracy, so lords are somewhat irrelevant. Other kinds of dynasties (political, Hollywood) are more of an issue.

We're exhausted, aren't you? In closing, we will just refer you to our wonderful lawyer directory to meet all your legal needs all year 'round. From all of us at FindLaw, Merry Christmas (and Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa) to all, and to all, a good night.

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