MERIC NEWS LETTER

Twelve Days of Christmas Price Index

For the 26th year, PNC Wealth Management has released its Christmas Price Index, a whimsical look at the cost of the gifts in the classic Holiday song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas”.  True Love's cost of Christmas is up a modest $386 from last year.

The total “Twelve Days of Christmas” cost is $21,465.56 in 2009, a 1.8 percent increase over last year.  With the exception of the recession in 2000 – 2001, prices have been steadily climbing since 1995.  This rise largely mirrors the Consumer Price Index; the most widely used federal measure of inflation.

Twelve Days of Christmas 2009 PNC Graph 1984 to 2009
Source: PNC Financial Services Group

The increase in the cost of milkmaids comes as no surprise.  They are the only unskilled laborers in the Christmas Price Index making minimum wage.  This year the federal minimum hourly wage increased from $6.55 to $7.25 bringing the cost of eight Maids-a-Milking for one hour of work to $58.00. Nine ladies dancing, considered skilled labor, rose by 15 percent.

A bright side of the cost of the Twelve Days of Christmas is that seven of the twelve items showed no change or a decrease in cost from 2008. Pear trees, partidges, geese, and swans have decreased significantly by 23.7 percent.

Gold jewelry prices have risen by 43 percent due to the decline in the dollar which typically causes investors to buy gold, driving up the cost.

The largest increase were french hens, a 50 percent increase due to higher demand and scarcity.

2009 PNC Chrismas Price Index
Item 2009 2008 Percent Change
A Partridge $10.00 $20.00 -50.0%
Pear Tree $149.99 $199.99 -25.0%
A Partridge in a Pear Tree Total $159.99 $219.99 -27.3%
Two Turtle Doves $55.98 $55.00 1.8%
Three French hens $45.00 $30.00 50.0%
Four Calling Birds $599.96 $599.96 0.0%
Five Golden Rings $499.95 $349.95 42.9%
Six Geese-a-Laying $150.00 $240.00 -37.5%
Seven Swans-a-Swimming $5,250.00 $5,600.00 -6.3%
Eight Maids-a-Milking $58.00 $52.40 10.7%
Nine Ladies Dancing $5,473.07 $4,759.19 15.0%
Ten Lords-a-Leaping $4,413.61 $4,413.61 0.0%
Eleven Pipers Piping $2,284.80 $2,284.80 0.0%
Twelve Drummers Drumming $2,475.20 $2,475.20 0.0%
Total $21,465.56 $21,080.10 1.8%
Source: PNC Financial Services Group

Shopping online may be more convenient; however, these conveniences will cost you a whopping $31,434.85 down 1.6 percent from a year ago.  In the case of the “Twelve Days of Christmas”, shopping online will cost you $10,000 more than if you bought these same items the traditional way.

For more information, visit the www.pncchristmaspriceindex.com website.

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