Those wanting a more traditional Christmas this year—complete with turtle doves, lords a leaping and gold rings—will need exactly $27,393.17 to foot the bill.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the PNC Wealth Management Christmas Price Index (CPI). The report, which was launched by the chief economist at a PNC predecessor bank, evaluates the cost of items from the classic carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas, from 12 drummers drumming ($2,854.80) right down the partridge in the pear tree ($15 and $184, respectively.)
Maurice Quiroga, managing director and executive VP of PNC in St. Louis, says the company gets prices from national chains and professional performance companies to calculate the cost. Prices for the partridges, doves, geese and swans came from the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, while prices for ladies dancing and lords a leaping came from the Pennsylvania Ballet and PHILADANCO. A national jewelry chain supplied the cost of the five 14-karat gold rings. While many of these sources are based in the northeast, Quiroga says that because they are national institutions, the prices are aligned with those across the country.
While many items remained the same as last year, 11 pipers piping and 12 drummers drumming both saw 2.9-percent increases in 2013. Four calling birds will set back consumers $600, 15 percent more than last year. The price for eight maids a milking, the only unskilled laborers on the report, has stayed the same since 2009, the last time the federal minimum wage increased.
Those in the market for pear trees will save almost $6 compared to last year, but the savings stop there. Last-minute shoppers turning to the Internet will pay $12,300 more than those shopping at brick-and-mortar stores, Quiroga says, for additional expenses and shipping. For a truly lavish holiday, true loves who buy all 364 gifts repeated in the verses will shell out $114,651.18.
“Prices are increasing because of supply and demand,” Quiroga says. “While there are exceptions to given years, what’s most interesting about the history of the CPI is that over the years, the increases have averaged to 2.9 percent, exactly the same number as the U.S. inflation index. So we’re right in line with the index.”
As for next year, Quiroga predicts that 2014 will look similar to 2013, but with less aggressive increase rates as the economy begins to slow down and anticipation for the federal reserve to start raising rates increases.
For consumers wanting to discover more about the CPI, PNC also has launched pncchristmaspriceindex.com, an interactive experience where visitors ‘build’ the gifts online, as well learn about economic trends.