The cost of 12 drummers drumming, 11 pipers piping and the rest of the grab bag of gifts enumerated in “The 12 Days of Christmas” has risen just 1 percent in the past year.
That’s according to the helpful economists at PNC Wealth Management, which have tracked the cost of buying the boatload of gifts named in the popular holiday song each year since 1984. They’ve dubbed it the PNC Christmas Price Index.
This year’s total price tag: $27,673.22. The 1 percent increase is the smallest since 2002, when the cost fell 7.6 percent.
The biggest cost drivers are the nine ladies dancing, which will set you back $7,552.84; and the seven swans-a-swimming, which cost $7,000. Both are unchanged from last year. In fact, the cost of eight of the dozen items stood pat.
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The biggest increase, percentage-wise, was the cost of six geese-a-laying. Their price tag rose 71.4 percent to $360. (It goes without saying, Geese “R” Us is in gouging mode this year.)
Then there’s the “True Cost of Christmas,” which accounts for the repetition that is the song’s signature. If you buy a partridge in a pear tree each day for a dozen days, and two turtle doves each day for 11 days, and so on and so forth, it adds up to $116,273.08 for a total of 364 gifts.
PNC consults with retailers, the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, a Philadelphia dance company and the Pennsylvania Ballet to calculate its tongue-in-cheek CPI. PNC Wealth Management is part of Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group, as is PNC Bank.
The Christmas Price Index has proven to be surprisingly close to the rate of inflation over the long haul. The index has averaged a 2.8 percent annual increase, the same as the U.S. inflation index.