Here we have four of the six geese. (Perhaps the other two have been eaten?) This porcelain figurine from about 1780 shows a man carrying a goose in his arms and three in a large woven basket on his back. In the carol, the six geese-a-laying might be a reference to the six days of Creation… or perhaps the geese are included because they make a fine centrepiece for a feast. In Dickens’ “Christmas Carol” the poor man can afford a goose but not a turkey (the pricing is likely to be the other way around these days).
During the 18th century these porcelain figurines became really popular as a table decoration.
Did you know? The phrase “your goose is cooked” has nothing to do with the bird, but instead comes from a 15th century martyr burned at the stake whose name was Jan Hus.