12 Days of Christmas Cost More in 2010

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) - Forget Cyber Monday, because Christmas isn’t going to come cheap this year.

According to PNC Financial Group, which calculates the cost of every gift given in the popular Christmas song “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” the total price tag on the items increased by 9.2% this year.

If you were to purchase all of the items now, you would be out $23,439. Last year, the items cost $21,465.56. According to PNC, the $1,974 increase represents the second highest jump in cost ever as well as the largest percentage increase since 2003, when the index rose 16%.

The surge is in marked contrast to the government's Consumer Price Index, which grew a mere 1.1% during the past year.

"Typically, we see more parallels between our index and the Federal government's," James Dunigan, managing executive of investments for PNC Wealth Management, said in a press release. "This year, we hope, is an aberration. But let's keep in mind that we are talking about a small basket of goods and services here compared to the Consumer Price Index."

Dunigan explained the cost increase was related to rising gold commodity prices, as the cost of the Five Golden Rings went up by 30% in 2010. This increase in price can also be attributed to wage increases for the song’s high-end entertainers. Apparently, the Nine Ladies Dancing (up 15%), 10 Lords-a-Leaping (8%), 11 Pipers Piping and 12 Drummers Drumming (both up 3.1%) didn’t get a raise last year, and had to play catch-up in 2010.

Sadly, the Eight Maids-a-Milking are still making minimum wage.

PNC has tabulated the cost of the classic Christmas song for the past 27 years, using sources that include retailers, the National Aviary in Pittsburgh and the Philadelphia-based Pennsylvania Ballet Company.

The full list of gift prices for 2010 are as follows:

  • One Partridge in a Pear Tree: $161.99
  • Two Turtle Doves: $100
  • Three French Hens: $150
  • Four Calling Birds: $599.96
  • Five Gold Rings: $649.95
  • Six Geese-a-Laying: $150
  • Seven Swans-a-Swimming: $5,600
  • Eight Maids-a-Milking: $58
  • Nine Ladies Dancing: $6,294.03
  • 10 Lords-a-Leaping: $4,766.70
  • 11 Pipers Piping: $2,356.20
  • 12 Drummers Drumming: $2,552.55


PNC also separately accounts for the repetition in the song’s verses, so, if you were to give all of these gifts in exactly the way that the song describes (as a true love, no doubt, would), you would spend $96,824 for all 364 gifts, a 10.8% increase compared to last year. Check here for a historical look at PNC's index.

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