This Year, the 12 Days of Christmas are Taking a Bigger Bite Out of Your Wallet

By: Sean K. Thompson
| Published 12/22/2021


THE WOODLANDS, TX – Many Woodlands-area residents had to navigate through some banking changes earlier this year when PNC bought out BBVA. But PNC is known for more than just community banking services. For 38 years now, they have released a comprehensive list of the costs that would be associated with buying all the gifts listed in the favorite song, The Twelve Days of Christmas.

PNC releases its annual cost of all those gifts

The PNC Christmas Price Index® is a light-hearted holiday tradition, which this year includes adjustments for the pandemic’s impact on the cost of purchasing the presents in the renowned carol.

According to their website, “The PNC CPI is similar to the U.S. Consumer Price Index, which measures the changing prices of goods and services like housing, food, clothing, transportation and more that reflect the spending habits of the average American. It’s a fun way to measure consumer spending and trends in the economy. So, even if Pipers Piping or Geese-a-Laying didn’t make your gift list this year, you can still learn a lot by checking out why their prices have increased or decreased over the years.”

Though the list is annual, the percentage comparisons are between this year and 2019; PNC officials decided that 2020 was too affected by COVID to fairly gauge the differences.

“With most live, in-person performances cancelled in 2020, we removed them from the Index last year, which resulted in an unprecedented 59 percent drop in the PNC CPI from 2019,” said Amanda Agati, chief investment officer for PNC Asset Management Group. “Comparing 2019 data is a better gauge of the impacts of inflation, before the pandemic’s effects took hold of the global economy. We are trying to normalize the comparison by excluding a-once-in-a-century pandemic that had an outsized impact on last year's data.”

That being said, the cost of all of the gifts sung about in The Twelve Days of Christmas has gone up a whopping 5.7 percent over 2019’s cost to a total of $170,298.03. Here’s a breakdown from PNC of each day’s haul, with today’s cost, the percentage difference from 2019, and a brief summary of each:

A PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE – $222.68 (+6.0%)
The price of the Partridge and Pear Tree has grown this year, entirely due to the rising cost of this tree.

TWO TURTLE DOVES – $450.00 (+50.0%)
These two birds were among the most changed gifts in the index this year, reflecting volatility in the markets overall so far in 2021.

THREE FRENCH HENS – $255.00 (+40.5%)
The price of Three French Hens is also on the rise – by more than 40% – in 2021. It's a trend among the birds that some may say is “for the birds.”

FOUR CALLING BIRDS – $599.96 (0.0%)
Ever the example of consistency, these Four Calling Birds ring in at $599.96 again this year. It's no change from the 2019 index, but still a steep price to pay.

FIVE GOLD RINGS – $895.00 (+8.5%)
If true love wants gold rings on their fingers, it's going to cost you $895 to make it happen. It's a reflection of gold commodity and retail price increases.

SIX GEESE-A-LAYING – $660.00 (+57.1%)
The volatile birds trend for 2021 continues with Six Geese-a-Laying. They jumped in price by more than 57% this year, the highest increase of any gift in the index.

SEVEN SWANS-A-SWIMMING – $13,125.00 (0.0%)
Routinely the most expensive gift in the Christmas Price Index, the Seven Swans-a-Swimming command a hefty $13,125. That's a lot, but it's the same as they cost in 2019.

EIGHT MAIDS-A-MILKING – $58.00 (0.0%)
There has been no change to the Federal Minimum Wage and therefore no change to the price for Eight Maids-a-Milking. They'll still cost $58 in 2021.

NINE LADIES DANCING – $7,552.84 (0.0%)
The Nine Ladies Dancing were out of the 2020 Christmas Price Index due to pandemic limits on live performances. Although they're back this year, their price hasn't changed from 2019 – reflecting consistency in the price for some performing arts.

TEN LORDS-A-LEAPING – $11,260.00 (+12.6%)
The Lords are leaping for joy, rising almost 13% in 2021 from 2019, in part due to increased wages. The leaping Lords are glad to be stepping their way back into the Christmas Price Index.

ELEVEN PIPERS PIPING – $2,943.93 (+7.1%)
The Eleven Pipers used their 2020 year away from the index to raise prices by more than 7%. The return of live music performance may well be worth it to your true love.

TWELVE DRUMMERS DRUMMING – $3,183.17 (+7.1%)
Setting the beat for their return to the Christmas Price Index in 2021, the Twelve Drummers Drumming raised their price this year by more than 7%.

TRUE COST OF CHRISTMAS IN SONG – $179,454.19 (+5.4%)
This represents the total cost of all the gifts bestowed by True Love when you count each repetition of the song, totaling 364 presents. Spreading cheer throughout the year in 2021 costs 5.4% more than in 2019.

If you're on a more limited budget, you can just pay for one day's worth of goods or service with no daily repetitions and walk away a mere $41,205.58 lighter. And, just in case you were thinking a few clicks of the mouse button would get you a better deal online, the PNC CPI takes this into account. Without going through an entire breakdown of individual expenses all over again, just suffice it to say that the total Internet-bought amount would drain your account to the tune of $210,627.12, an 8.3 percent increase over 2019.

(Graphic courtesy of PNC)

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