No Big Increase in the Cost of Christmas in 2015

Reflecting a steep decline in energy costs, lower inflation and slow-but-steady economic growth, the 2015 PNC Christmas Price Index (PNC CPI) experienced its lowest growth rate in six years at 0.6% in the whimsical economic analysis by PNC Wealth Management.

According to the 32nd annual report which measures the cost of the gifts in the holiday classic, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” the price tag for the PNC CPI is $34,130.99 in 2015, a mere $198 more than last year’s cost and in-line with the government’s Consumer Price Index, which has increased 0.2% over the past 12 months.

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. The ultra-generous True Love will have to fork over $155,407 to pay for all 364 gifts, nearly $900 more than last year.

To mirror the government’s core CPI, which excludes energy and food prices, PNC removes the Swans—typically the most volatile item in the index—from its total index. With the Swans excluded, the core PNC CPI rose just 1.0%, similar to the 1.9% increase in the government’s core CPI.

NEXT: Notable changes in this year’s index

The most surprising result in this year's PNC CPI was the cost of Five Golden Rings, which stayed the same as the past two years, despite the drop in gold commodity prices again this year.  From PNC CPI history, the gold rings appear not as volatile as the underlying commodity.

If one is looking for entertainment to fill the True Love's stocking, there may be bargains this year. Prices for Nine Ladies dancing ($7,553), 11 Pipers Piping ($2,635) and 12 Drummers Drumming ($2,855) are exactly on par with the past two years. The 10 Lords-A-Leaping, however, cost 3% more than in 2014.

Economists report that housing prices have been on an upward trend for the past two years, with the Pear Tree, as the home to the Partridge, increasing 1.2%.

The prices for the Eight Maids-a-Milking, the only unskilled workers in the index, held steady for the sixth straight year reflecting the federal minimum wage, which hasn't risen since 2009, after seeing increases for three straight years.

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. As Internet prices tend to be higher, True Loves will have to splurge $43,626.73 ($9,495.74 more than buying "in person") for the convenience of online shopping this year.

The PNC CPI's sources include retailers, hatcheries, the Philadelphia-based PHILADANCO and the Pennsylvania Ballet Company. The cost of each item is revealed on an interactive website,