Christmas Swans Swim Their Way to Pricier 2003 Holiday

December 8, 2003 ( - If you're upset about the cost of Christmas 2003, you can always blame the swans, the pipers and the drummers.

That’s because the cost for those three elements of the  holiday classic, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”   shot up this year, bumping up the PNC Advisors Christmas Price Index total price tag for the 364 items this season to $65,264 – an increase of almost 19% from 2002.

According to the yearly tongue-in-cheek analysis from PNC Advisors, the s even swans-a-swimming this year will fetch a pricey $3,500 this season, up from last year’s $2,100 – a 67% jump.  Unlike 2002, when swans took a significant dive in price, these graceful feathered friends have bounced back to their 2001 level of $500 a piece, up from $300 last year, according to the Philadelphia Zoo.

Meanwhile, arranging for 11 pipers to be piping will set you back $1,982.40 this year – a hefty 22.8% jump over last year and the ticket for 12 drummers to be drumming skyrocketed to $2,147.60 – up 22.8% over last year. The Index bottom line was particularly hard hit by a 16% hike in skilled labor costs, PNC said.

Then there were t he four calling birds that were also flying high at $400, more than a 26% increase from last year.    All told, the swans, geese, calling birds, French hens, turtle doves, and partridges cost over $4,100, representing about 25% of the overall Index.

“The bird prices tend to be stable, except when supply and demand get out of sync, causing the prices to move dramatically,” said Rebekah McCahan, investment strategist who provides the research for the Christmas Price Index. “The low inventory of calling birds and swans this year, combined with a resurgence in demand, has boosted prices – a sign of consumer confidence returning,” she added.

But not everything shot up in price this year. Indeed, the cost of the five gold rings dropped by 5.6%, and the pear tree was down a full 28.6% from 2002.

Finally, Internet surfers should beware. To buy everything in the song on the Web cost   $101,206.09   this year.   As in the past, most items are more expensive primarily due to the increased shipping costs.

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