The Cost of Christmas: A Relative Bargain?

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

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