12 days of gifts a mere $39,000 this year

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - Money - By Carolynn Look Bloomberg News

Hol­i­day love­birds might get a bet­ter deal on par­tridges, gold rings and maids-a-milk­ing this year than Amer­i­cans who don’t base their gift lists on car­ols.

The cost of buy­ing all goods and ser­vices in “The Twelve Days of Christ­mas” has gone up by roughly half the pace of over­all U.S. in­fla­tion, ac­cord­ing to a Christ­mas price in­dex com­piled by PNC Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Group.

While repli­cat­ing the song isn’t cheap — the to­tal cost would be more than $39,000 — that’s only 1.2 per­cent higher than last year. In­fla­tion is about 2.5 per­cent so far in 2018.

PNC says the lower in­fla­tion rate can be ex­plained in part by fall­ing gold prices.

The cost of many types of birds listed in the song have re­mained stag­nant, with the ex­cep­tion of egg-lay­ing geese, whose prices shot up.

A static fed­eral min­i­mum wage means nine ladies danc­ing will re­ceive the same com­pen­sa­tion as they did last year. The same goes for eight maids-a-milk­ing, though PNC doesn’t fac­tor the cost of dairy cows into its anal­y­sis, and only a tiny frac­tion of the U.S. pop­u­la­tion would have those read­ily avail­able.

The pre­sum­ably more skill-based work of lords-aleap­ing, pipers pip­ing and drum­mers drum­ming is see­ing a bump in pay, how­ever, as the la­bor mar­ket tight­ens.

Here are the 12 items listed in the song, with their lat­est cost:

■ 1 par­tridge in a pear tree: $220.13

■ 2 tur­tle doves: $375

■ 3 French hens: $181.50

■ 4 call­ing birds: $599.96

■ 5 golden rings: $750

■ 6 geese-a-lay­ing: $390

■7 swans-a-swim­ming: $13,125

■ 8 maids-a-milk­ing: $58

■ 9 ladies danc­ing: 7,552.84

■ 10 lords-a-leap­ing: $10,000

■ 11 pipers pip­ing: $2,804.40

■ 12 drum­mers drum­ming: $3,038.10


Stag­nant wages and fall­ing gold prices have held down the cost of items in “The Twelve Days of Christ­mas.”

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