The significantly higher price of gold and increased compensation for minimum wage workers will make Christmas more expensive this year – at least for one’s “true love” – if you are planning to fulfill the commitments associated with the Twelve Days of Christmas, according to a tongue-in-cheek economic analysis by PNC Wealth Management. According to the 23rd annual survey, the cost of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is $19,507 in 2007, a 3.1% increase over last year.
A leading factor in the cost increase was the five gold rings, as the jewelers who provide the prices for the rings report having no choice but to pass increased prices along to consumers as the price of gold continues to rise, according to a press release about the “study.”
The price of five gold rings now totals $395, a 21.5% increase over 2006 prices (see Labor Costs Lift Christmas Index Costs ), but still nowhere close to 1989 prices, when the five Gold Rings hit an all-time high of $750.
As the only unskilled laborers in the Christmas Price Index, the eight Maids-a-Milking make minimum wage, and have not had a raise since 1997, according to the PNC report authors. However, this year, Congress increased their wages by 13.6%, bringing the cost of eight Maids-a-Milking for one hour of work to $46.80. However, the cost of most performers in the index – the Drummers Drumming, Pipers Piping and Lords-a-Leaping – rose a modest 3% to 4%, due primarily to an increase in the performers’ compensation (apparently the contribution of writers aren’t an issue). Only the price for the Ladies Dancing was unchanged this year, according to Philadanco, a modern dance company in Philadelphia.
Among the feathered friends in the Christmas Price Index, the most notable increase was a 20% change in the price for six Geese-a-Laying, provided by the National Aviary. Most of the other bird prices in the index remained even with last year’s rates. In fact, aside from the Geese-a-Laying, only the Calling Birds will cost more in 2007. PNC prices the Calling Birds from a national pet store chain, and prices for Calling Birds (or canaries) were up 25% this year, thanks to higher demand and increased shipping costs for retailers.
For those True Loves who prefer to do their shopping online, PNC Wealth Management calculates the cost of The Twelve Days of Christmas gifts purchased on the Web. This year, the trends identified in the traditional index are repeated in the Internet version, with overall growth of 3%, nearly identical to the 3.1% increase in the traditional index. However, the index authors note that in general, Internet prices are higher than their non-Internet counterparts because of shipping costs.
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, very generous True Loves will pay more than ever before – $78,100 – for all 364 items, up from $75,122 in 2006 – a 4% increase.
For a historical look at PNC’s Index, you can visit the updated Web site at www.pncchristmaspriceindex.com