Thanks to the weak economy in 2009 the 26TH Annual PNC Christmas Price Index increased by a mere 1.8% compared to last year in the economic analysis based on the prices of gifts in the holiday classic, "The Twelve Days of Christmas”.
The total price tag for 2009 is $21,465.56, only $385.46 more than last year. It is the smallest increase since 2002, when the index fell 7.6%. The Christmas Price Index exceeds the U.S. government’s Consumer Price Index, the widely used measure of inflation calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is down 1.5 % for 2009.
PNC Wealth Management has also tabulated the “True Cost of Christmas,” which is the total cost of all the items gifted by a True Love in all of the song’s verses. This year very generous True Loves will $87,402.81 for all 364 gifts, only 0.9% more than last year.
PNC reports that – “Among the 12 gifts in the Index, three items fell measurably from last year while five increased in cost and four remained steady.”
A sharp rise in gold prices caused the cost of the Five Gold Rings to jump 42.9% to $499.95. The cost of the Three French Hens increased by 50%, going from $30.00 to $45.00, while the cost of the Partridge that was in the pear tree was cut in half, dropping from $20.00 to $10.00. The cost of the Pear Tree itself dropped 25%. The cost of Six Geese-A-Laying fell 37.5%.
Eight Maids-A-Milking made 10.7% more in 2009, due to an increase in the federal minimum wage, and the fee for Nine Ladies Dancing increased by 15%. The Dancing Ladies continue to be the most expensive item on the list at $5,473.07. I can certainly attest to the high cost of Dancing Ladies.
The most expensive individual item was the Swan-A-Swimming, costing $750 each, as compared to $608 and change for each Dancing Lady.
The Lords-A-Leaping, Pipers Piping and Drummers Drumming did not get a pay raise in 2009. They cost exactly the same as 2008. As I point out each year, the performing artist union does a better job for its membership than the musicians’ union. Each Leaping Lord gets $441.36 while the musicians only average about $207.
For True Loves who would rather shop online PNC calculates the cost of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” gifts purchased on the Internet. These True Loves will pay a grand total of $31,434.85 to buy the items online. While less expensive than last year, it is about $10,000 more than shopping the “old fashioned” way.
James Dunigan, managing executive of investments for PNC Wealth Management, explains that, "In general, Internet prices are higher than their non-Internet counterparts because of shipping costs for birds and the convenience factor of shopping online.”
Click here to download the Christmas Price Index. For more about the history of the Christmas Price Index and some FAQs click here.