Twelve Days of Beaded Christmas


Welcome to this year’s December beading fun…the Twelve Days of Beaded Christmas! Thank you very much for being here! In case you missed my blog post, I’ve explained what this is and why I’m doing it in the video below. So, start by watching that, then scroll on down the page and enjoy this Festive gift from me to you…

How does the twelve days of beaded Christmas work?

Well, if you want the full experience, you should also sign up for your twelve emails. These will be sent to you every second day, between 1st and 23rd December 2021. They will include some free beading patterns, a different discount coupon code in every email, and a fun game of ‘Higher or Lower’. If you want to enjoy all of that, follow this link and leave your details.

Note: you can still join the email list, but the Twelve Days of Christmas event has finished, so you will receive a free subscription to my e-zine, Beading with Katie.

If you don’t want to receive emails, you can still have fun. Just come and visit this page every day and watch me reveal each of the Twelve new beading treats. I’m not going to spoil any surprises by describing them now…you can get a taste right away with day 1, below. Then keep coming back to find out what else I have to entertain you…

So, if you’re ready to have fun, let’s get started…

Beadflowers Christmas event 2021, Twelve Days of (Beaded) Christmas by Katie Dean, Beadflowers

Day 1 of the Twelve Days of Beaded Christmas

Well, the obvious place to start is with The Twelve Days of Christmas.

I was doing a little research into how this Christmas carol came into being. It turns out, we’re not really sure. Possibly, it was linked to a game of memory. So, that seemed kind of appropriate to me, since this event is all about fun and games!

The song was first published in England in 1780, as a chant, without music. The tune that we all know today was composed by Frederic Austin, in 1909, and is apparently an arrangement of an English folk song melody. And the ‘Twelve Days’ refer to the traditional twelve days of Christmas that started on Christmas Day and finished at Epiphany.

Now, for those of you who don’t know (or like me, often forget!) the order of the gifts given, here’s a reminder…

  1. A partridge in a pear tree
  2. Two turtle doves
  3. Three French hens
  4. Four calling birds
  5. Five gold rings
  6. Six geese a-laying
  7. Seven swans a-swimming
  8. Eight maids a-milking
  9. Nine ladies dancing
  10. Ten lords a-leaping
  11. Eleven pipers piping
  12. Twelve drummers drumming

Your Day 1 Game/Challenge

I have been busy working out how many beading patterns I have published on the Beadflowers that could be related in some way to the gifts given in the song.

So, your challenge is to see if you can find them all!

Now, I have given you some clues in the text above…if you’re clever enough to spot them. So, you just need to search through the beading patterns on here (use this link to get direct to them) and count up how many you can find that might relate.

You can also find some of those related patterns on sale in my Etsy store. So, that will give you a few clues…and a few bargains to grab if you feel like it!

You’ve got two days to hunt these out. I will reveal my answer in the Day 2 post. So, make sure you come back here and see how you got on. And, if you find this one too much of a challenge, don’t worry…things will get easier!

So, good luck and I will be back in a couple of days with your next Twelve Days of Beaded Christmas event


Your Twelve Days of Beaded Christmas Day 1 Results Revealed…

Now, just in case anybody is arriving late and still wants to take the challenge, I’m going to keep the answers hidden. But if you are ready to see them, you can follow this link.


A bonus gift for you to enjoy…

Vivebooks, the publisher of all my beading ebooks, is also running a site-wide special discount throughout Advent. So, this special offer doesn’t only apply to my ebooks, but also to all their other beautiful craft titles.

Fancy trying some cross stitch or card-making? How about applique or quilting? Then there are the tiaras, jewellery and even corset-making!

Twelve days of beaded Christmas Vivebooks advent discount coupon, Katie Dean, Beadflowers

So, if you want to browse, just follow this link…

Choose your ebook(s), add them to your basket, then add the coupon code ADVENT21 before you check out. It will give you 21% off and is valid until 26th December 2021.



Day 2

Today, we’re going to take a little trip to San Fernando in the Philippines. Why might that be?

Well, one of their December traditions is a Giant Lantern Festival, Liliglan Parul Sampernandu.

It is a kind of competition to see who can build the most elaborate lantern. Traditionally, lanterns would have been made from paper (the type used for Origami), and lit with a candle. Typically, they would measure about half a meter in diameter.

Today, they are made from all manner of materials and lit with electric bulbs. They have grown to more like 6m in size.

Your Day 2 Twelve Days of Beaded Christmas contest…

Your challenge for the second of the Twelve Days of Beaded Christmas is to tell me how many beading projects (so that could be patterns or classes) on the Beadflowers website, use tea lights and will light up.

Note: where I have a lantern that comes with more than one design, you DO NOT need to count each design as a separate pattern

Good luck! I will be back with another fun festive story and a new challenge soon. So, make sure you check back regularly so you don’t miss it!


Day 3

Today we’re travelling to Africa. Now, you might be surprised to learn that Christmas is a big event in many African countries – even those that are predominantly Muslim. Fun fact: in Senegal you will find mosques decorated with Christmas trees.

When you think about it, this shouldn’t be surprising at all. Bethlehem is located in Northern Africa after all!

However, this tradition is also enmeshed with local tradition. In some countries, the festival celebrates the birth of the God Ra (Osiris).

Egypt and Ethiopia both follow the Julian calendar, so they actually celebrate Christmas on 7th January.

And, linking back nicely with yesterday’s tradition, the Gambia celebrates with a huge parade of lanterns in the shape of boats (called Fanal).

A few things that are common across all the countries: going to Church is vitally important. So, is celebrating love and exchanging gifts with friends and family. Festive meals are also a big feature, and in the more southerly countries, where it is the height of summer, the meal may be a barbecue, and a lot of gatherings will take place outdoors.

If you want to find out more and learn about some of the particular traditions, I found this blog post a really interesting read:

Your events for Day 3 of the twelve days of beaded Christmas

If you pop over to my Etsy store, you will find a few patterns on sale, celebrating the themes I’ve been talking about today.

I would also like to share some free project inspiration with you. This is one that will help you show some love for friends and family. So, check out this link.


Day 4

We’re not moving too far today…just over to Greece. Why might that be?

Well, have you heard about their centuries-old tradition of decorating boats instead of Christmas trees? The name of this tradition is Karavaki, (meaning Small Boat).

Being a very, very old tradition, it’s also unclear exactly how this one originated. But we do have a few clues, apparently…

The Greeks have always been proud of their sea-faring traditions. With so many islands, it is no wonder. One theory suggests that in some of the more Southerly parts of the country, trees (and certainly Fir Trees!) were not a big part of the landscape. So, the idea of hanging lights, baubles and decorations on a tree seemed rather odd to inhabitants of that area.

However, with such strong connections to the sea, it made a lot more sense to decorate boats with festive lights.

Another variation speaks to the fact that this tradition was more about celebrating the safe return of the fishermen. They could be spending days or weeks out at sea, in dangerous winter storms, all while their families at home prayed for their safe return. So, it would certainly make a lot of sense to celebrate that event with lights on the boats.

A third suggestion I have heard is that this is all about celebrating the feast day of St Nicholas, on 6th December.

So, you can take your pick. But apparently it is still a tradition that can be found in Greece today.

Festive fun for day four of the Twelve days of beaded Christmas

You can hunt around my Etsy store and Beadflowers website for some treats that are connected to today’s theme. And, you can use coupon code BOAT25 to take 25% off ANY of my online classes. But be warned…this special offer will expire when I post your next event!

As if that wssn’t enough, I also have a puzzle-solve game for you to play today.

I am going to give you four clues. The answers to each can be strung together to give you a coupon code. But you’ll have to wait until Day 12 to find out how to spend your coupon… So, for now, just start solving this puzzle, and make a note of your code.

Clue 1: How many classes are available in my online beading school? Here’s the link to find it:

Clue 2: There is a famous Christmas Carol featuring ships in it’s title (I saw ?? Ships). What is the number of ships missing from that title?

Clue 3: How many beaded bauble covers do I sell as patterns on the Beadflowers website? (Note: these are projects that have some sort of beading around a classic glass bauble, NOT any other kind of beaded bauble)

Clue 4: How many patterns are listed in the Nativity section in my Etsy store? Here’s the link to the store:

You should end up with an answer that is 5 digits. When you have it, just save it up until the twelfth day and I will let you know how to use it.


Day 5

Today, I want to take you to one of my favourite spots in the world…the US state of Alaska. Now, Alaska has a town called North Pole and, no surprises, you will find Santa’s house, and all the reindeer located there.

You can visit that all year round. So, I was lucky enough to meet the reindeer while they were enjoying their summer rest period one year.

My trips to Alaska have only ever been in the summer months, but I gather it can be a pretty magical place in December.

Nature brings her own light show with the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), and the whole state can be a winter wonderland of snow and ice.

So, here are a couple of fun facts for you…(I haven’t verified the truth of them, so don’t quote me on this!)

Alaskans put up their Christmas lights in September…just in case it’s 30 below zero in December.

It’s tradition to cut down a 100-foot-tall Spruce, use the top 6-foot for a Christmas tree and the rest for logs to warm the house.

Wild Alaskan salmon is the traditional delicacy for Christmas lunch.

…and I know I have some Alaskan beading friends reading this, so I hope it brings you a smile, whether it’s true or not!


A festive game

Today, I’m bringing you another festive game. The Bald Eagle is the symbol of the USA. Like all birds of prey, it has amazing eyesight that it uses to hunt.

Today, I am inviting you to tune in to your ‘inner Eagle’ and see if you can spot the spirit bead in one of my recent beading projects.

So, if you’re ready to give that a go, follow this link.

Day 6

Today, we’re heading halfway around the world, but remaining in the Northern hemisphere, as we travel to the Ukraine for a beautiful story.

If you thought that spiders and spider webs were just for Halloween, think again…

In the Ukraine, it is traditional to hang a spider’s web decoration on your Christmas tree. And this tradition comes from a beautiful story that really speaks to the true meaning of Christmas.

Many, many years ago, a poor widow lived in a cottage with her children. They had no material possessions, but were a loving family.

As Christmas approached, this family were a little sad. They didn’t have the money to buy expensive gifts or decorate their home like their neighbours. They had a simple, small fir tree, and that was all.

On Christmas Eve, as the widow and her children went to bed, they felt rather sad that their tree wasn’t decorated with lights and gifts like their neighbours. But nonetheless, they recognised their blessing in having one another.

The spiders saw all of this. So, overnight they crept up the tree and covered it with beautiful silken webs.

In the morning, when the children woke, they were amazed to see the beautiful work of the spiders. They called to their mother. As she came to look, a ray of sunshine stole through the window of their small cottage and spread up the tree. As it fell upon each web, it turned the spider’s silk into beautiful strands of gold and silver. The widow and her children ended up with the most precious tree of all.

(And yes, there are a number of variations on that story!)

Beaded spider web pattern for a halloween decoration, Katie Dean, Beadflowers

Your treat for today…

If you would like to honour this tradition, I have a beaded spider web pattern. You can find it at this link: and you can choose what it is worth to you.


Beaded Christmas wreath earrings, necklace, bracelet, Katie Dean, Beadflowers

Day 7 of the Twelve Days of (Beaded) Christmas

Today, we’re moving a little to the West – to Germany to be precise. Although the tradition I’m exploring today was actually common across much of Europe.

What is it?

The Christmas wreath.

Why is it peculiarly appropriate to celebrate this tradition in today’s modern world?

Well, apart from its Christian symbolism, it also represents the idea of respecting nature and not throwing things away.

The history of wreaths actually goes back to Greek and Roman times when they became a symbol of honour, joy, victory, even spirituality. They could be worn to crown someone of power and influence, or given as a symbol of victory.

The association of the wreath with Christmas is usually dated to the sixteenth century. The idea of bringing something evergreen into the home symbolised power, resilience and hope. The evergreen survives through the harsh winter.

The first wreath decorations were actually tied up with Christmas trees. Bringing a fir tree into the house seemed to celebrate survival. But it also symbolised the Holy Trinity, so it became an important ritual to trim the tree into as uniform a triangle as possible.

The branches that were trimmed from the tree were woven into a circular wreath, celebrating eternity. And of course, that gave a use to those branches, rather than simply discarding them.

These circular wreaths were often hung on the branches of the Christmas tree – perhaps the earliest Christmas decorations!

Your inspiration for today

So, as you contemplate that symbolism, I want to invite you to make your own beaded wreath. It will last forever and can become a family heirloom.

You can use this blog post to find out how to make it.

You will see that the blog post links to some projects that featured in my Beaded Christmas ebook series, as well as my French beading ebooks. So, if you want to explore those further, remember to use your 21% discount. The coupon code is ADVENT and you can find all the ebooks at this link.

Click here to grab a penguin pattern now!

Day 8

Staying in Europe, but moving to one of its island nations, did you know that cats are linked to festive celebrations?

Well, in Iceland, they have a Yule Cat tradition.

However, forget all thoughts of cute little kitties…

This is a huge, scary black cat who will devour naughty children. In particular, this cat is linked to clothing. Some of the tradition may perhaps relate to workers in the wool industry. As an incentive to finish spinning wool during the Autumn months, they would be gifted new clothes as a reward.

Coming back to the Yule Cat tradition, it is important for children to receive some new clothes amongst their Christmas gifts. So, perhaps those traditions of Christmas jumpers and the ever-popular socks as stocking fillers may serve a purpose after all…surely better than being eaten by the vicious black Yule Cat?!

Today’s festive fun

So, based on that tradition, I’ve got a challenge for you today…

How do you fancy designing a Christmas Cat? Now, this could be a Peyote panel. Or perhaps you’re adventurous and think 3D? Maybe it’s some jewellery.

Think cute kitties in stockings, or cats wearing Santa hats…or take your inspiration from the Yule Cat!

And, to help you on your way, I’ve got a couple of offers for you…

First, you might like to try my free email course to teach you the basics of design. Just follow this link:

Leave your details and then the emails will be delivered straight to your inbox. This could be something that you save up to enjoy after all the festive chaos is over.

And, if you’re more serious about getting into beading design, I run a full online class to teach you all the basics, and give you personal help and feedback. As a special gift, if you can use coupon code XMASCAT to get a 25% discount if you join before the end of 2021. Use this link to join the class and enjoy your discount.

Like all my other classes, you can start it whenever you’re ready and work at your own pace.

And, if you’re not up for designing anything, just pop over to my Etsy store and enjoy some discounts inspired by today’s story. Here’s the link for you:


Day 9

We’re going to stay in the Scandinavian regions today, and just shift to Norway.

Many Scandinavian traditions feature evil spirits of one kind or another. In fact, this isn’t just confined to Sandinavia…But more on that next time…

So, in Norway, a traditional belief is that witches and other evil spirits come out to play on Christmas Eve. In a bid to prevent them from flying around doing mischief, households will hide all their brooms!

Fact or fiction? You decide…

Another quiz…with an awesome discount as a prize…

Whether you want to believe that story or not, it does lend itself to another quiz question today. So, here goes…how many beading patterns on the Beadflowers website feature a broomstick?

If you can identify the correct answer, it will give you a mystery discount coupon code. The code will be a number written out in full. For example, if you think the answer is 1, then your coupon code will be ONE.

The coupon – if you can correctly identify it – will work on both the Beadflowers website and my Etsy store (And it’s an amazing discount, so you really want to get this!). If you don’t get it right first time, you have as many goes as you want, so good luck!

The small-print…This coupon is valid for one use per customer, and only valid on beading patterns (not classes or books or beads). And it will expire just before your next post arrives. So, get hunting quick!

Halloween witch peyote stitch panel for beaded lantern with interchangeable sides, Katie Dean, Beadflowers

Day 10

We are going to stay with witches today…

I have a story about another Christmas witch tradition. This time, we’re moving South to Italy. The witch in question is called Befana and she is said to bring treats to good children on the morning of Epiphany (January 6th).

However, if you haven’t been good, rather than receiving a treat, you may find you wake up to a lump of coal!

Your challenge…do a good deed and receive a gift from me…

So, today, I challenge you to do a good deed to help someone else. After all, this is the time of loving and giving, peace and goodwill to all. And, if nothing else, your good deed will hopefully keep you safe from evil spirits and ensure you receive more goodies this year…


Day 11

We’re a bit late with this tradition from the Netherlands…Sinterklaas Day. Traditionally, this is the Saint’s Day for St Nicholas, which is on December 6th.

There are a lot of traditions surrounding this day. But I want to focus on the shoes…

It is traditional for children to leave out a wooden shoe on the evening of December 5th and, if they’ve been good, their parents will fill it with sweets and toys.

This tradition dates back centuries and was most likely a way of helping the poor. Apparently, shoes would be left in the church to be filled with donations from the rich, then distributed to the poor families in the community.

Sweets, candies and chocolate have definitely become a Christmas tradition in all parts of the world. And if you know me, you know I love a beaded sweet. So, that has guided me to…

Today’s treat…

How would you like to make your very own set of beaded chocolates? And even better, how about getting the tutorial at half price?

Well, if you can answer this quiz question, you can enjoy my Peyote Stitch beaded chocolate collection online class with 50% off.

The Question:

How many different flavours are in a standard box of Quality Street chocolates?

(If you need a clue, the answer is actually on this page)


Once you have the answer, you can apply it as your coupon code to get 50% off the Peyote stitch beaded chocolate collection online class.

Your answer is going to be a number, but you need to write it in word form. For example, if you answer is 1, then the coupon code to apply to get your discount is ONE.

This link will take you direct to the online class, (the discount coupon is NOT valid on the PDF only version).

The discount coupon will expire on 26th December 2021, so make sure you use it before then (and be aware that the expiry time can be affected by time zones, so don’t leave it until the last minute!). Good luck!

Day 12

Well, this festive adventure is drawing to a close. We’ve travelled to all the continents apart from Antarctica and Australia so far. So, let’s finish up in Australia…

If you’re sitting in the Northern hemisphere, feeling the cold, let me invite you to drift south to a hot sunny day.

Forget your roast turkey…how about a picnic on the beach…perhaps some King prawns?

And maybe, while you’re there, you’ll be lucky enough to see a Surfing Santa.

You might spend the afternoon enjoying a spot of cricket in the street with your neighbours…

And possibly you’ll be looking forward to a Boxing Day barbecue.

But let’s not forget the traditional stuff too…the carols by candlelight, and the giving of gifts.

Is this sounding familiar to my Australian beading buddies? Or is this another myth just like the other tall tales?

Whatever you choose to believe, and however you want to celebrate, thank you for taking this trip with me. I hope I have managed to shower you with gifts, love, light and joy, and I will leave you with your final dose of Festive fun. This is something you can savour to enjoy after the Big Day…


Your festive fun for today

Remember the code that you (hopefully) uncovered back on day 4? Well, let me reveal how you can use it.

Start by heading over to my online beading school:

You can then use your code to get 30% off ANY of the classes. Your coupon code will run out at the end of 2021. So, make sure you grab your treats before then. And remember, if the code isn’t working, it’s probably because you didn’t solve the puzzle correctly, so just pop back up to day 4 and take another look at the clues and have another go.

And that’s not all…I’ve got one final puzzle to entertain you today.

This picture of a Christmas gift is also a word search. Concealed in there, are four words. Each of them is a coupon code that will work on the Beadflowers website and in my Etsy store. But the value of each code is a mystery!

Twelve Days of Beaded Christmas event with Katie Dean, Beadflowers

The codes are only valid on beading patterns (not classes or beads or books), and they will all expire as we say goodbye to 2021. So, you can have some fun with these during that strange period between Christmas and New Year.

Beware: I have also hidden some trick words that aren’t actually coupon codes. So, if you are trying out a word and it’s saying the coupon doesn’t exist, that will be because you’ve found one of the trick words. Remember, words can be written forwards (left-right), backwards (right-left), up, down, or diagonal. So, this puzzle may occupy you for some time…good luck!


I wish you a peaceful Festive period and a very good start to 2022. Thank you for joining me!

Have you enjoyed the Twelve Days of Beaded Christmas event…?

If you are having fun, and you would like to say thank you, you can help support my work by leaving me a tip. Just follow this link now! Thank you for your support!