Gold keeps the 'Twelve Days of Christmas' cost a-leaping
Making one's true love happy will cost a whopping $87,403 this year, a minuscule increase from last year, according to the latest cost analysis of the items in the carol "The Twelve Days of Christmas."
That's the grand total for the single partridge in a pear tree to the 12 drummers drumming, purchased repeatedly as the song suggests, according to the annual "Christmas Price Index" compiled by PNC Wealth Management. The price is up a mere $794, or less than 1 percent, from $86,609 last year.
The cost of buying each item just once is increasing this year to $21,466, up 1.8 percent from last year's $21,081.
Jim Dunigan, managing executive of investment for PNC Wealth Management, which has been calculating the cost of Christmas since 1984, attributed the modest increase to lower energy costs and fewer wage increases.
It's the smallest increase since 2002, when the cost decreased, according to PNC.
The main driver behind the higher cost is that the price of gold has increased 43 percent, bringing the five gold rings up $150 to $500.
Although wage increases were modest, nine ladies dancing, at $5,473 per performance, is the costliest item, surpassing the that of any of the material goods.
The most expensive goods are the seven swans a-swimming at $5,250, but their cost decreased 6.3 percent from last year's $5,600. Dunigan said their cost tends to be the most volatile because of supply and demand; they were up 33 percent last year over 2007.
Costs for the 10 lords a-leaping ($4,414 per performance), 11 pipers piping ($2,285 per performance) and 12 drummers drumming ($2,475 per performance) remained the same as last year. Dunigan says that reflects the labor market in which the unemployment rate rose to near 10 percent after sitting below 5 percent for much of the decade.
And for those who would shop online, a word of caution.
PNC says you'll pay $31,435, which is down from last year's online price, but still about $10,000 more than in the traditional index.
"In general, Internet prices are higher than their non-Internet counterparts because of shipping costs for birds and the convenience factor of shopping online," Dunigan said.
PNC Financial Services Group Inc. checks jewelry stores, dance companies, pet stores and other sources to compile the list. While it is done humorously, PNC said its index mirrors real economic trends.
Besides putting out the list for fun, PNC makes it available to teachers across the country to teach economic trends.
While it's unlikely anyone would buy the items, Dunigan said one item is likely to please.
"We don't necessarily suggest picking just one, but it's hard to believe that gold rings wouldn't lead the list on a year-to-year basis," Dunigan said.
Prices of items in the Christmas carol "The Twelve Days of Christmas," according to PNC Wealth Management:
• Partridge, $10 (last year: $20)
• Pear Tree, $150 (last year: $200)
• Two Turtle Doves, $56 (last year: $55)
• Three French Hens, $45 (last year: $30)
• Four Calling Birds (canaries), $600 (last year: same)
• Five Golden Rings, $500 (last year: $350)
• Six Geese a-Laying, $150 (last year: $240 )
• Seven Swans a-Swimming, $5,250 (last year: $5,600 )
• Eight Maids a-Milking, $58 (last year: $52)
• Nine Ladies Dancing (per performance), $5,473 (last year: $4,759)
• 10 Lords a-Leaping (per performance), $4,414 (last year: same)
• 11 Pipers Piping (per performance), $2,285 (last year: same)
• 12 Drummers Drumming (per performance), $2,475 (last year: same)
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.