The 12 Days of Christmas are going to cost you more this year.People rarely hand out partridges and pear trees for the holidays anymore, but if they did, they'd have to pay more for them this year. According to the latest numbers crunched by PNC Wealth Management, the Christmas Price Index -- as dictated by the song "The 12 Days of Christmas" -- has gone up 3.5 percent since 2010. And while your own true love may not require any swans a-swimming, chances are that the cost of buying everything on a modern Christmas wish list has gone up by about the same amount.
"As the economy continues to struggle, we are seeing weakness in some areas of demand within the Index," James Dunigan, managing executive of investments for PNC Wealth Management, said in a press release. "That is illustrated in the costs of the Five Gold Rings. While gold commodity prices are at or near record highs, the demand for retail gold is waning, and thus our Five Gold Rings actually dropped by 0.8 percent this year."
That makes gold rings a pretty good buy in real life, too.
The most expensive thing on the list is the swans, which cost a whopping $6,300 each. Buying them online isn't any cheaper: Thanks to sky-high shipping and handling charges for live animals, swans purchased in cyberspace cost more than $10,400 apiece (it's nearly impossible to find a decent coupon code for live swans these days).
The least-expensive item on the list is, oddly enough, human: Maids a-milking only get $58 for a days work, given that they're unskilled laborers who earn minimum wage, which didn't change over the past year.
The company priced the imaginary purchases by checking jewelry stores, dance companies, and pet shops, as well as real-life organizations like the National Aviary in Pittsburgh and the Pennsylvania Ballet Company. For those of you singing along, here's what one of each gift in the song would cost in 2011:
- Partridge: $15
- Large pear tree: $169.99
- Turtle Dove: $125
- French Hen: $150
- Calling bird: $519.96
- Gold ring: $645
- Goose: $162
- Swan: $6,300
- Maids a-milking: $58
- Ladies dancing: $6,294.03
- Lords a-leaping: $4,766.70
- Piper: $2,427.60
- Drummer: $2,629.90
Since PNC started tracking the Christmas Price Index in 1984, the price of services (like dancing, drumming, and piping) has increased while the price of actual goods (like birds and rings) has gone down. The price of ladies dancing has tripled, for example.
In real life, the cost of everything from peanut butter to Thanksgiving dinner is on the rise as well, which means that Christmas shopping will cost you more than it has in the past. "Typically we see parallels between our Index and the Federal government's," Dunigan said.
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