Wednesday, December 9, 2020



It’s that time of year again – time for the 37th 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” – “a light-hearted take on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Consumer Price Index, which measures the average change in prices consumers pay for goods and services over time.

PNC tells us –

Considering the impact of social distancing, PNC calculated the 2020 price tag for the PNC Christmas Price Index at just $16,168.14, a considerable decrease of $22,825.45 or -58.5% over last year's cost, with a third of the index constituents literally not available for purchase this year.

The major differences in the included items are –

* The 2020 cost of the performers in the listing – dancing ladies, leaping lords, piping pipers, and drumming drummers – is $0.00, as live performances are non-existent this year due to the virus.   

* The “birds of a feather” in the list represent a combined increase of $328.50, or 36.4%, from 2019.  The inability for consumers to eat at restaurants or even get takeout during the lockdowns drove an increased need for cooking at home, leading to an unexpected increase in demand (and subsequently prices) for our fowl friends.” 

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.  

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 $20,355.09 - $4,186.95 more than “in store” purchases and $21,903.82, or 51.8%, less than 2019.

The actual true cost of every gift in the song (with each previous day’s purchases repeated over the 12 days) is $105,561.80 in store and $133,355.96 online.

Click here for the press release that includes the full chart.


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