On the twelfth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Twelve drummers drumming,
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree!
From “The Twelve Days of Christmas”


Each year, PNC Financial Services publishes its annual Christmas Price Index, which measures how much it would cost to buy each of the gifts in the holiday carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

Given the relative rarity of some items on the list and the fact that more than a few have not yet been commoditized by the Chinese (or others like it), you might have thought that the cost of celebrating Christmas would have held its own versus the broader consumer price index.

But you would be wrong. In fact, while the PNC index has gained 69% since it began in 1984, the headline CPI has more than doubled (through October, at least).

In fairness, much of the difference comes down to the double-digit hit that the price of a partridge in a pear tree, five gold rings, and seven swans-a-swimming took in 1995.

Still, I guess some might find it good to know that Christmas is a relative bargain.


PNC Christmas Price Index

Category: Economy

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

7 Responses to “The Cost of Christmas: A Relative Bargain?”

  1. Onlooker from Troy says:

    Gee, I’m glad they waste their time on this drivel.

  2. Marcus Aurelius says:

    This year, there were over 45,000 applicants for the 50 positions requiring people (12 drummers, 11 pipers, 10 lords, 9 ladies, 8 maids), and it’s only seasonal work.

  3. Adult Franklin411 says:

    Maybe because the basket of goods used in calculating CPI gets updated more than once every four centuries.

    Here are some 21st century Christmas goods:

    Zhu Zhu Pets, digital cameras, watches, golf clubs, designer clothes.

    Barry, maybe you should archive your current Amazon wish list and price it every year. Probably a much better index than this pap.

  4. colin says:

    PNC is overweight food in this index, which ties into the divergence between food/energy and core in your charts of the next post. Also, no ‘real estate’ (not that the real index has anything remotely close to a good representation of RE).

  5. MA,

    good point, as well, with http://clusty.com/search?input-form=clusty-simple&v%3Asources=webplus&query=Human+Trafficking alive, and well, the surfeit of trained Peasants has kept a lid on the relative price of such ‘nicities’..


    if you, too, were a TARP recipient, you’d, as well, have ‘plenty of “Free Time”‘, no?

  6. mars10 says:

    Does this factor in the total of 364 gifts received if the entire song is sung?

    Whenever possible, I save time by singing the single verse summary version:

    On all twelve days of Christmas,
    my true love sent to me
    12 drummers drumming,
    22 pipers piping,
    30 lords a-leaping,
    36 ladies dancing,
    40 maids a-milking,
    42 swans a-swimming,
    42 geese a-laying,
    40 golden rings,
    36 calling birds,
    30 French hens,
    22 turtle doves,
    And 12 partridges in pear trees!

  7. MikeNYC says:

    I’d like to see this chart priced in gold over the same time period.

    Or perhaps since 1780 (Earliest known printed version of the rhyme, per Snopes )