Price Of Doing 12 Days Of Christmas Up 1%, Will Now Cost $116K

A year ago, the annual cost of acquiring all the gifts enumerated in the classic, if irritating, carol “The 12 Days of Christmas,” added up to a record $114,000. The latest numbers are in and the good news is that things haven’t changed that much; the not-so-good news is that you probably don’t have $116,000 to toss away on the lark of making the song’s lyrics manifest.

This marks the 31st go-around for the Christmas Price Index, which was started by Provident National Bank here in Philadelphia, and which is now run by PNC Wealth Management. It attempts to track the annual changes in cost for purchasing all the material items listed in the song and hiring all the laborers and artists named in the carol.

With inflation holding relatively steady and fuel costs sinking, many of the costs from the 2013 CPI remain unchanged this year. Prices held steady for the pair of turtle doves ($125), the quartet of calling birds ($600), the gold rings ($750), the septet of swans ($7,000), the octet of maids-a-milking ($58), the nonet of ladies dancing ($7,552), the almost-a-dozen pipers piping ($2,635), and the duodecet of drummers drumming ($2,854).

It’s worth noting that the maids-a-milking figure only factors in the wage cost for eight minimum wage laborers and does not include the cost of buying/renting cows (or other lactating mammals).

Three items saw double-digit percentage price hikes — the half-dozen geese jumped 71.4% to $360; the cost of the partridge increased 33% to $20; and the trio of turtle doves soared 10% to $181.50.

Just running through the full list once will now hit your credit card for $27,673, a slight uptick of 1% over last year’s total, and the smallest year-over-year increase since 2002, when the total actually dropped by 7.6% over 2001.

But if you’re going to do the song correctly, you’ve got to tally up the costs as you’d sing the carol. So the partridge/pear tree combo is counted 12 times and the drummers only get added in once, etc.

When you do that, the CPI for 2014 comes to $116,273, up 1.4% over the 2013 number of $114,651.

Only 10 years ago, the total CPI was nearly $50,000 less at $66,334.