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This year, cost of '12 days of Christmas' tops $107K

Published November 26, 2012 9:45 pm

Inflation • Lords a-leaping cost same as in 2011, but geese a-laying will set you back more.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Add seven swans, six geese and five golden rings to the list of Christmas gifts that cost more than they did a year ago.

And if you get all 364 items repeated throughout "The Twelve Days of Christmas" carol, you'll pay 6.1 percent more this year, according to the so-called Christmas Price Index that PNC Wealth Management of Pittsburgh updates annually.

That comes to $107,300.

"The rise is larger than expected considering the modest economic growth we've had," said Jim Dunigan, managing executive of investments for PNC. He noted the government's Consumer Price Index had risen just 2 percent in the 12 months before September.

Thrifty shoppers may find some reasons for cheer. Six items mentioned in the song haven't gone up in price — maids-a-milking, ladies dancing, lords-a-leaping, calling birds, turtle doves and the partridge. The eight maids-a-milking still cost just $58 because the minimum wage hasn't risen.

Twelve drummers drumming — $2,775.50 ­— and eleven pipers piping — $2,562 — might also be considered relative bargains compared to the seven swans, which will set you back $7,000. Nine ladies dancing will cost you $6,294.

Dunigan said the 2011 drought caused the prices of some birds to soar, partly because of corn and other feed costs.

"The geese were up 29.6 percent, and swans were up 11 percent," he said, adding that none of the gifts in the song went down in price this year.

The price of a pear tree is $189.99, an 11.8 percent jump from last year's $169.99. Five gold rings jumped 16.3 percent, to $750, and three French hens are $165, instead of $150.

The $15 partridge is the cheapest item, and swans the most expensive, at $1,000 each.

PNC Financial Services Group Inc. checks jewelry stores, dance companies, pet stores and other sources to compile the list. Some of its sources this year include the National Aviary in Pittsburgh and the Philadelphia-based Pennsylvania Ballet Co. —

Cost comparison

Partridge, $15; last year: same

Pear tree, $189.99; last year: 169.99

Two turtle doves, $125; last year: same

Three French hens, $165; last year: $150

Four calling birds (canaries), $519.96; last year: same

Five gold rings, $750; last year: $645

Six geese a-laying, $210; last year: $162

Seven swans a-swimming, $7,000; last year: $6,300

Eight maids a-milking (minimum wage), $58; last year: same

Nine ladies dancing (per performance), $6,294; last year: same

10 lords a-leaping (per performance), $4,767; last year: same

11 pipers piping (per performance), $2,562; last year: $2,428

12 drummers drumming (per performance), $2,776; last year: $2,630

Source: PNC Wealth Management