Items in '12 Days of Christmas' top $107K

But maids, dancing ladies, drummers, pipers and turtle doves are still relative bargains.

By MSNMoney partner Nov 26, 2012 9:59AM
Tetra Images, JupiterimagesBy KEVIN BEGOS, The Associated Press

Add seven swans, six geese and five golden rings to the list of Christmas gifts that cost more than they did a year ago.

And if you get all 364 items repeated throughout "The Twelve Days of Christmas" carol, you'll pay 6.1 percent more this year, according to the so-called Christmas Price Index that PNC Wealth Management updates annually.

That comes to $107,300.

"The rise is larger than expected considering the modest economic growth we've had," said Jim Dunigan, managing executive of investments for PNC. He noted the government's Consumer Price Index has risen just 2 percent in the 12 months before September.

Thrifty shoppers may find some reasons for cheer. Six items mentioned in the song haven't gone up in price: maids-a-milking, ladies dancing, lords-a-leaping, calling birds, turtle doves and the partridge. The eight maids-a-milking still cost just $58 because the minimum wage hasn't risen.

Twelve drummers drumming ($2,775.50) and eleven pipers piping ($2,562) might also be considered relative bargains compared to seven swans, which will set you back $7,000. Nine ladies dancing will cost you $6,294.03.

Dunigan said the 2011 drought caused the prices of some birds to soar, partly because of corn and other feed costs.

"The geese were up 29.6 percent, and swans were up 11 percent," Dunigan said, adding that none of the gifts in the song went down in price this year.

The price of a pear tree is $189.99, an 11.8 percent jump from last year's $169.99. Five gold rings jumped 16.3 percent this year, to $750, and three French hens are now $165, instead of $150.

The $15 partridge is the cheapest item, and swans the most expensive, at $1,000 each.

Last-minute shoppers who turn to the Internet will pay a bit more for the gifts. Buying one set of the core items in each verse costs $24,431 in traditional stores this year, but $40,440 online. Part of that difference is the extra expense of shipping live birds, Dunigan said, adding that Internet costs rose 1.5 percent compared to last year.

PNC Financial Services Group Inc. checks jewelry stores, dance companies, pet stores and other sources to compile the list. Some of its sources this year include the National Aviary in Pittsburgh and the Philadelphia-based Pennsylvania Ballet Company.

This year's list:
  • Partridge, $15; last year: same
  • Pear tree, $189.99; last year: 169.99
  • Two turtle doves, $125; last year: same
  • Three French hens, $165; last year: $150
  • Four calling birds (canaries), $519.96; last year: same
  • Five gold rings, $750; last year: $645
  • Six geese a-laying, $210; last year: $162
  • Seven swans a-swimming, $7,000; last year: $6,300
  • Eight maids a-milking, $58; last year: same
  • Nine ladies dancing (per performance), $6,294; last year: same
  • 10 lords a-leaping (per performance), $4,767; last year: same
  • 11 pipers piping (per performance), $2,562; last year: $2,428
  • 12 drummers drumming (per performance), $2,776; last year: $2,630


Nov 26, 2012 10:45AM
Those of you that believe in the above crap have lost the "TRUE" meaning of Christmas.  It is NOT the cost that you need to be thinking of, but what the "togetherness" is.  Stop trying to "out buy the Johnson's" and concentrate on the "Family" aspect o Christmas.    Merry Christmas to one and all.  There I said it.
Nov 26, 2012 10:35AM
I would have thought the gold rings would have been the most expensive, considering how much gold is these days. Who would have ever thought it would be the swans?
Nov 26, 2012 11:10AM

The credit card charges are the most expensive. All the fee's that come along with it. The charge cards will be used for the christmas, and the payback will be higher than listed in the list.

Christmas the true meaning as been long forgotten its not about presents its about the birth of Christ.

Not christmas trees, santa, elves, reindeer, none of that.

Now a days christmas has become so commericalize. Stores have Christmas items out in August.

And to them its all about money. Even some places are opened on Christmas. When they use to be closed because of the blue laws.

Give a gift to toys for tots, or the shoe box for Good Samaritan's Purse, for childern who never get presents on christmas.

Spending time with family and friends and having a wonderful christmas dinner is great. that is a present enough.

there are plenty of people in this world who never have christmas, and are homeless, and job less.

Remember the true meaning of Christmas first and foremost its about the birth of Christ.

Nov 26, 2012 11:42AM
This is WAY too early.  The 12 days of Christmas begin on December 25th and end on January 6.
Nov 26, 2012 12:49PM

Dammit, This year it's gonna cost me about $214K ...?


Does anyone know where I can get these discreetly; Last year I almost got in trouble...


One of the Milkmaids squealed..

A bird tweeted..

Two geese started squawking..

All the hens were clucking...

A Lord and a Piper had an affair..

A drummer was drumming himself...

And the Partridge shidted on me......

Nov 26, 2012 12:09PM
Only a pagan does not know the true meaning of Christmas.  
Nov 26, 2012 3:15PM

Good job debra....Knew someone could have done it better.


And had fun doing it...

Nov 26, 2012 1:44PM
Last year we did the twelve days of Christmas a lot cheaper.  The Partridge was painted on an oven mitt, 2 turtle doves were cruel worked on 2 hot pads, 3 turtle doves were embroidered on 3 kitchen towels, 4 calling bird were 4 wine glasses with a bird etched on each glass , 5 golden rings were gold colored napkin rings, purchased at Home Goods, 6 geese a-laying were standing wooden eggs (stained) with geese painted on them, 7 swans a-swimming, blue sand in a glass ornament with swans stained glassed on the ornament. (heavy , so the top needs to be glued on) 8 maids a-milking was an ice-cream maker with a wood burned maid, milking a cow, 9 ladies dancing was a video of the Rockets, 10 lords a-leaping was a ribbon pillow on one side and a lord leaping and a big #8 was painted on the other side, 11 pipers piping was a CD of bagpipe Christmas music, 12 drummers drumming were 12 napkins embroidered with drummers drumming.  The final gift was a table cloth with all 12 days embroidered around the edge and a circle in the middle. The total cost was $225.00 + many hours, we're both crafty.  We made up a poem to match each day and delivered them each day, starting 12 days before Christmas.  So much fun! 
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