Every year, PNC Wealth Management tabulates the cost of the 12 Days of Christmas, based on classic holiday song. Their Christmas Price Index (CPI, a whimsical play on the Consumer Price Index) rose a modest 1.8 percent compared to last year, with the total cost for gifts in the song totaling just under $21,500. It was the smallest increase since 2002, when the index fell 7.6 percent.
Among the 12 gifts in the index, three items fell measurably from last year, while five increased in cost and four remained steady. The sharp rise in gold prices in the past year caused a dramatic 43 percent jump in the purchase price of five gold rings for one’s true love. Declines in the cost of birds in the index helped keep the overall price index low. The cost for a partridge in a pear tree was down 27 percent and the six geese-a-laying price tag dropped roughly 37 percent.
As the only unskilled laborers in the PNC Christmas Price Index, the eight maids-a-milking received an automatic raise for the third straight year due to another increase in the federal minimum wage. The ladies dancing were the only performers to receive a raise this year, a whopping 15 percent.
For those who prefer the convenience of shopping online, it will cost nearly 50 percent more. PNC Wealth Management estimates the cost of gifts purchased on the Internet for the 12 days of Christmas will be roughly $10,000 higher because of convenience and the cost of shipping live birds.