Based on the gifts in the holiday classic, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” the price tag for the PNC CPI is $25,431.18 in 2012, $1,168 more than last year, according to the whimsical economic analysis by PNC Wealth Management. This year, the PNC CPI’s increase outpaced the government’s Consumer Price Index, which stands at 2.2% the past 12 months through September.
As part of its annual tradition, PNC Wealth Management also tabulates the “True Cost of Christmas,” which is the total cost of items gifted by a True Love who repeats all of the song’s verses. This holiday season is the most expensive year ever: Every thoughtful True Loves must fork over $107,300.24 for all 364 gifts, an even more generous jump of 6.1% increase compared with last year.
Much like the government’s CPI, the PNC CPI also measures a Core Index—up a modest 2.6% this year—that excludes the Swans, which tend to be the most volatile in the index. The drought caused the cost of Swans to rise by 11.1%, while the cost for Geese increased 29.6%.
Six items—the Partridge, Two Turtle Doves, Four Calling Birds, Eight Maids-A-Milking, Nine Ladies Dancing and 10 Lords-A-Leaping—remained the same price as last year.PNC explained that as the only unskilled laborers in the PNC CPI, the price for the Eight Maids-a-Milking is represented by the minimum wage.With the minimum wage flat at $7.25 per hour, hiring the maids this year will not increase labor costs.
The prices for 11 Pipers Piping ($2,562.00) and 12 Drummers Drumming ($2,775.50) are both up 5.5% this year.Economists report that housing prices may have bottomed and this trend is reflected in the PNC CPI as the home to the Partridge jumped 11.8% to $189.99. The Three French Hens were up 10% and the Five Gold Rings, which soared 16.3%, played catch up with the dramatic rise in gold prices in 2011.
For those True Loves who prefer the convenience of shopping online, PNC Wealth Management calculates the cost of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” gifts purchased on the Internet. This year, the trends identified in the traditional index are repeated in the Internet version. The cost of the items is $40,440 if bought online—a 1.5% increase from last year and nearly $580 more than this year’s traditional index.
PNC’s updated cost of Christmas website is at www.pncchristmaspriceindex.com. The site includes an interactive scavenger hunt where users take a trip around the world to locate the 12 gifts of Christmas.A table for the Index is here.