Monday, November 26, 2012


The holiday season is upon us.  And so is the 29th annual PNC Christmas Price Index!

The annual survey conducted by PNC Wealth Management tracks the cost of the items gifted by the True Love in the classic carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas” - from a partridge in a pear tree to 12 drummers drumming.

The cost for 2012 is $25,431.18, up $1,168.00, or 4.8%, from 2011.

The biggest price increase on the list is the 6 geese-a-laying, which jumped 29.6%, from $162.00 to $210.00.  Half of the animal prices showed double-digit increases, the other 2 in the teens, and half remained unchanged.  While the cost of the partridge was the same as last year, the price of the pear tree in which the partridge sits was up 11.8%.  The only other double-digit increase was for the 5 gold rings, up 16.3%.

On the labor front - although the performer’s union has usually done better for its members than the musician’s union, with the dancers and leapers earning substantially more than the pipers and drummers, this year there was no change in the price of the dancers or leapers.  But the musician’s union was able to get their members a 5.5% pay raise.  The poor milking maids, considered “unskilled labor”, are paid the minimum wage, which did not go up in 2012.

As a point of information, each dancing lady gets $699.34 while a milking maid gets only $7.25 (the musicians each get slightly over $230.00).  At $58.00, the 8 maids-a-milking is the least expensive item on the list (if you could the partridge and pear tree combined).  On the other end the swan is the most expensive item at $1,000 each. 

PNC also calculates the “True Cost of Christmas”, which is the total cost of all 364 gifts from repeat giving in each verse of the song.  For 2012 this is $107,300.24, up $6,180.40 or 6.1% from last year.

And it also determines the price of the items if purchased over the internet, which, at $40,439.53, is $15,008.35 more than the base CPI.    However, the increase in cyber prices from 2011 to 2012 is only $579.47, or 1.5%. 

PNC Wealth Management tells us –

In general, Internet prices are higher than their non-Internet counterparts because of premium shipping costs for birds and the convenience factor of shopping online.”

So it does pay to stand on line on Black Friday instead of ordering from the convenience of your home on Cyber Monday.  Since I no longer exchange gifts, I do not have to do either!


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