Thursday, December 6, 2018


I’m a bit late in reporting this.  But it’s here - the 35TH annual PNC Christmas Price Index!  

The PNC Christmas Price index reports the cost to purchase the gifts included in the classic holiday song “The 12 Days of Christmas”.

PNC tells us it has “ . . . calculated the 2018 price tag for The PNC Christmas Price Index at $39,094.93, approximately $450 or 1.2 percent more than last year's cost, but less than the government's Consumer Price Index, which increased 2.5 percent through October in year-over-year measurement before seasonal adjustment..”

The major differences in the included items are –

* a 9.1% drop in the cost of gold rings, due to less demand and fluctuations in gold prices throughout 2018,

* an 8.3% jump in the cost of laying geese, after not seeing an increase since 2014, and

* a 3–3½% pay hike for leaping lords and the musicians (pipers and drummers), as lagging wages start to catch up to a tight labor market.

Once again, the labor unions for musicians, dancing ladies and leaping lords proves to be better than the milking maid union.  The milkers were paid the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for both 2017 and 2018.  While the dancing ladies fee remained the same for both 2017 and 2018, they continue to be the highest paid individuals on the list.  

The chief economist of a bank in Philadelphia, which eventually became part of PNC, began estimating the cost of the 12 Christmas gifts in 1984 as a holiday client letter.  This year’s price is about 95% higher than the first index from 34 years ago.

For those who prefer the convenience of online shopping the Index also calculates the cost of the gifts purchased on the internet.  As online costs are higher due to travel and shipping, the total cost is $41,165.95, $2,071.02 more than “in store” purchases.

The actual true cost of every gift in the song (with each previous day’s purchases repeated over the 12 days) is $170,609.46 in store and $193,360.92 online.

There appears to be some discrepancies in the 2017 numbers reported in this year’s press release and table from PNC and the numbers from the 2017 chart that I had reported in last year’s post.  There were changes to the leaping Lords amount on the “traditional” listing and leaping lords and dancing ladies in the “internet” listing.  The 2018 chart indicates that 2017 prices for these items were adjusted, but I could find no explanation for the changes.


No comments: