Twelve Days of Christmas Price Index

For the 25th year, PNC Wealth Management has released its Christmas Price Index, a light-hearted look at the cost of the gifts in the classic Holiday song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas”.  True Love's cost of Christmas will be more expensive this year due in part to scarcity of swans, partridges, turtle doves and the increase in the national minimum wage.

The total “Twelve Days of Christmas” cost is $21,080 in 2008, a 8.1 percent increase over last year.  With the exception of the recession in 2000 – 2001, prices have been steadily climbing since 1995.  This rise largely mirrors the Consumer Price Index; the most widely used federal measure of inflation.

Twelve Days of Christmas Price Index 2008
Source: PNC Financial Services Group

The increase in the cost of milkmaids comes as no surprise.  They are the only unskilled laborers in the Christmas Price Index making minimum wage.  This year Congress increased the minimum hourly wage from $5.85 to $6.55 bringing the cost of eight Maids-a-Milking for one hour of work to $52.40.

A bright side of the cost of the Twelve Days of Christmas is that five of the twelve items showed no change or a decrease in cost from 2007. Many items have decreased significantly; gold, french hens and geese have all declined.

Gold jewelry prices have dropped 11 percent as retailers are trying to move luxury items.  French hens and geeses are found plentiful and decreased in price by 33.3 percent.

The largest increase were doves, a 37.5 percent increase due to higher demand and scarcity. Swans also rose in price 33.3 percent, adding a whopping $5,600 to the total.

Twelve Days of Christmas Price Index Table 2007 to 2008 Percent Change
Source: PNC Financial Services Group

Shopping online may be more convenient; however, these conveniences will cost you a whopping $31,957 up 2.3 percent from a year ago.  In the case of the “Twelve Days of Christmas”, shopping online will cost you $10,877 more than if you bought these same items the traditional way.

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