Christmas Price Index rising faster than the cost of living

seven swans a-swimming

Seven swans a-swimming will set you back a staggering seven grand! Image: rvacapinta/Flickr/cc by

In spite of relatively slow inflation, the cost of buying all the gifts in “The Twelve Days of Christmas” has risen by more than six percent this year, according to the PNC Financial Services Group’s Christmas Price Index.

Highest ever Christmas Price Index

Each year PNC adds the current costs of all the gift items mentioned in the iconic Christmas song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” including drummers drumming, pipers piping, Lords a-leaping and maids a-milking. That total cost came up to $107,300 this year, an increase of 6.1 percent from 2011. It is also the highest price-tag on the twelve gifts since PNC began compiling the list in 1984.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government’s Consumer Price Index (another CPI) rose just 2.2 percent in the 12 months prior to September.

That comes out to total of 364 items, nearly one for each day of the year. Most of them have gone up in price since last year. Some showed no change from 2011. However, nothing on the list went down in price.

Blame it on the birds

According to PNC’s managing executive of investments, Jim Dunigan, the birds are the biggest reason for the price hike.

“The culprits this year were our feathered friends,” Dunigan said on CNBC’s Worldwide Exchange. “The geese and the seven swans were up the most. And that was due to the drought we had in the United States that pushed up feed prices.”

The seven swans a-swimming was the most costly gift, at $7,000. Who knew that a swan would set you back a grand? Geese were also up by 29.6 percent.

However, the lowest-priced item on the list was also a bird. The partridge goes for just $15. However, the pear tree to put it in will cost you $189.99.

No price change

Several items cost the same this year as they did in 2011. They include the above-mentioned partridge, as well as the calling birds, turtle doves, maids a-milking, ladies dancing and lords a-leaping. In case you were wondering, eight maids a-milking will set you back $58 for minimum wage labor. The minimum wage in the U.S. is the same as it was a year ago.

Shopping online

The list also found that getting the twelve gifts online would be even more costly, which flies in the face of common wisdom. However, online retailers are charging an average of 1.5 percent more for items than they did in 2011. Also, noted Dunigan, the cost of shipping live birds greatly increases their price over buying them locally.

To purchase all 364 items online, the price tag would come to 177,957.93. That is up 2.1 percent from last year.


Sacramento Bee
Daily Finance

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