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Twelve Days Shopping Hints

Remember the old classic carol The Twelve Days of Christmas? Denise Shelton delves into just where you can buy your partridge in a pear tree online.

With the 12 days of Christmas upon us (December 25 to January 5), shoppers intent on impressing their true loves can order almost everything they need online.

Live partridges are pretty hard to come by these days, but nonpurists can buy theirs for $10 a pound from gourmet food supplier The Golden Egg. Luckily, pear trees are no problem. Clay Allman at Indiana's Tree Connection has them for $62.

The Virginia Diner's chocolate turtledoves are guaranteed to "make you coo" at $12.95 a box, and four calling birds of many varieties can be purchased through Robin's Nest, a supplier of exotic birds and accessories. The price depends on how much calling you want the birds to do.

For the three French hens, please refer back to The Golden Egg, where they sell for about $15 each. These birds may not be French, but they won't be saying much, so no one will be the wiser.

Five gold rings can be had from any number of sources and at a wide range of prices. Check out World Wide Mall's jewelry section for an idea of what's available.

Shoppers determined to procure six geese a-laying and seven swans a-swimming may have to compromise a little. If you're willing to hunt down your own geese, a how-to tape can be purchased from Schoolhouse Videos for $12.95; otherwise, you are by now familiar with The Golden Egg. A whole goose is only $60; unfortunately, it won't be doing much a-laying. The video Swan Lake Story: A Dance Fantasy not the right URL has at least six "swans" in it who do a pretty good imitation of swimming.

As for the milking maids, the dancing ladies, the leaping lords, the piping pipers, and the drumming drummers, your best bet is to advertise on one of the many employment Web sites available. < a href="">Yahoo has a good list. If you want to provide your own equipment, see Renegade Music's Web site for pipes and drums, and McKinney Enterprizes for milk buckets.

On the other hand, a fruitcake made by Trappist monks may have that medieval flair you're looking for, and you don't have to clean up after it.