It’s officially Christmas shopping season, and that means the iPads and Kindle Fires are being plucked off the shelves in droves. These gifts come with some hefty price tags – but the presents are staunchly from the present. If you’re seeking a more vintage gift-giving routine this holiday season, might we remind you of the centuries-old song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas?” The song highlights 12 gifts for 12 days to give to your true love. And though the gifts are rather old-school, be prepared to shell out as well, to the tune of $101,119.84.
This year, for the first time ever, the price of purchasing every item in the song, all 364 of them, has risen above $100,000. That’s the cost of what PNC Wealth Management calls the “True Cost of Christmas,” calculating the cost of buying every item throughout all verses (fair warning: you’ll end up with 42 swans-a-swimming and 42 geese-a-laying if you do). Each year since 1984, PNC Wealth Management has put a dollar figure on the gifts in the song.
Last year, the total cost was just under $97,000. This year, in mirroring the nation’s general economic trend, the index increased by 4.4% to $101,000. Blame it on the partridges and the turtle doves, both of which have seen double-digit price hikes in the past year. We hope your true love is a fowl lover, as winged animals dominate the list, followed by artistic services. And while paying skilled musicians can be a budget-buster, the true pain in the wallet comes with the swans. Seven of them total $6,300, making them the most expensive item on the list.
How do they come up with the numbers? In the same way a normal shopper would, in fact. PNC consults the National Aviary in Pittsburgh for a majority of the birds’ prices, including the partridge, two doves, six geese and seven swans, and their shoppers head to PetSmart to buy the more accessible calling birds (four) and French hens (three). The Pennsylvania Ballet offers the price of the ten lords-a-leaping and a Philadanco, a dance company based in Philadelphia, prices out the services for the nine ladies dancing. The two retail goods on the list, the pear tree and the five golden rings, are both rung up at Philadelphia stores. A musicians union calculates the cost of the twelve drummers drumming and the eleven pipers piping. And finally, the unskilled maids-a-milking, eight of them, are paid the $7.25 minimum wage for their services.
And if you’re not feeling quite as generous – or if 364 separate gifts would simply not fit in your house – there’s still the option to buy just one day’s worth of goods for $24,263. The cost of the index has more than doubled since PNC began indexing the items in 1984, when the price of one complete set was $12,673.
Ouch, that’s quite a price bump. However, don’t think you can cut costs with a little cybershopping: PNC notes that the price of shipping birds is exorbitant, putting an Internet-purchased list at $174,382.
LIST: The 12 CDs of Christmas