12 Days of Christmas to cost nearly $40,000 this year, PNC calculates | TribLIVE.com
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12 Days of Christmas to cost nearly $40,000 this year, PNC calculates

Teghan Simonton
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AP
The corporate headquarters of PNC Financial Services Group Inc. is in Pittsburgh.

Plan to spend about $40,000 on Christmas gifts this year if you’re using the 12 Days of Christmas as your shopping list.

This year, PNC is reporting a total cost of $38,993.59 to buy all 12 gifts — including five golden rings, a bunch of drummers drumming and a lot of birds.

There’s nearly no increase over 2018 but a 95% increase since the first index in 1984. Thirty-five years ago, the total cost of the 12 Days of Christmas was $20,023.57.

Amanda Agati, chief investment strategist for PNC Asset Management Group, said the Christmas Price Index is a whimsical way of gauging the broader economy, using a popular musical tradition to understand what real-life consumers are experiencing.

The index considers the stock market, wage levels and growing labor costs for an increasingly service-oriented economy. It’s meant to be similar to the U.S. Consumer Price Index, which monitors changing costs of more everyday goods and services.

“I hope that it makes the ability to understand and analyze the market more broadly a little more accessible,” she said.

PNC gathers price information from fowl hatcheries, production companies and other unusual sources. The price of gold fluctuates throughout the year. It’s a complicated project, she said.

“This ends up being a full-year kind of undertaking,” Agati said.

While the cost stayed mostly flat, so did wages. This is especially evident when looking at the human items on the list, Agati said.

“The eight maids-a-milking haven’t seen a pay raise in a decade,” she said.

The maids-a-milking are priced based on the federal minimum wage level, which has remained at $7.25 since July 2009. The PNC Index estimates the cost of hiring eight maids for one hour of milking.

Gold seems to be at a high in time for the holidays, as five golden rings will cost around $825, 10% more than in 2018.

“The price of gold tends to be a more interesting gauge on investor sentiment,” Agati said. “It could mean that a more challenging backdrop is on the horizon, because gold prices are definitely rebounding.”

The six geese-a-laying experienced the second-largest price increase in 2019. Agati thinks this is likely because of a growing interest in backyard farming.

The bird aisle also saw the year’s greatest price decrease — the two turtle doves. Agati said the supply of turtle doves in the United States has superseded the market’s need, resulting in a 20% price drop from 2018. This was the first year the turtle dove price dropped since 2004.

To best reflect today’s consumers, PNC also calculates the cost of the items via online shopping. The grand total through this method is $42,258.91 — over $3,000 more than buying in-store. In 2018, the online shopping cost was $41,165.95.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated the wrong percentage increase between 1984 and 2019. The story has been updated with the correct percentage increase.

Teghan Simonton is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Teghan at 724-226-4680, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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