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On the first day after Christmas my true love sent to me quite a credit card bill.
Thirty years ago, PNC Wealth Management started a holiday tradition of calculating the cost of the items mentioned in the carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” In this year’s accounting, the cost for a set of the items mentioned in each verse is $27,393, if you buy in stores. (Please let me know if you find one with lords-a-leaping in stock.)
However, if you pay attention to the lyrics, it sounds as though the gifts are repeated each day with something new added — so by Day 12 one should have a dozen partridges in their respective pear trees. If you add up that entire extravagant list, the grand total is $114,651, according to PNC’s Christmas Price Index.
But, again, that’s based on prices in stores. Factor in the costs of ordering your dancing ladies and other gifts online and the price is even higher — about $173,000, according to PNC. Apparently the cost of shipping birds is insane, and even if you find free shipping for your swans, they’re still $1,000 each — the most expensive gift item in the song. (Gold rings are only $150 each.)
“In the three decades since the list was started in 1984, year-over-year increases have averaged 2.9 percent, which is exactly the same number as broader U.S. inflation,” The Associated Press says. “But it’s a fickle list because the price of some items has barely budged, while others have soared.”
Compared with last year’s prices, only the pear tree got marked down — to $184. Maids-a-milking are paid the federal minimum wage of $7.25, and are one of seven gifts whose price did not increase. Overall, the in-store price jumped 7.7 percent. Inflation was only 1.7 percent.
You can check out historical estimated prices for the song’s gifts on PNC’s Christmas Price Index website.