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Cost of “The 12 Days of Christmas” Gifts Jumps after Three Years of Slow Growth

PNC calculates the price tag for “The 12 Days of Christmas” gifts at $39,094.93 as price for geese soars and gold lays an egg.

To buy the gifts included in the classic holiday song "The 12 Days of Christmas," True Loves will need to have a lot of money on hand.

PNC calculated the 2018 price tag for the PNC Christmas Price® Index at $39,094.93, approximately $450 or 1.2 percent more than last year's cost, according to the 35th annual holiday economic analysis. Despite the small increase, the PNC Christmas Price index rose less than the government's Consumer Price Index (CPI), which increased 2.5 percent through October in year-over-year measurement before seasonal adjustment.

"While we have witnessed more market volatility this year, consumer confidence remains strong and wage growth is beginning to catch up with high employment," said Amanda Agati, Chief Investment Strategist for The PNC Financial Services Group. "The PNC Christmas Price Index reflects these trends, as we see strong growth in key areas."

PNC revealed the cost of each item on an interactive website, where you can learn about the index and see a historical comparison of the prices.

This year's insights include:

  • Golden Geese: The price for Six Geese-a-Laying was up 8.3 percent, after not seeing an increase since 2014.
  • Tarnished Rings: After posting the largest growth rate in 2017's index, the cost of Five Gold Rings fell 9 percent due to less demand and fluctuations in gold prices throughout 2018.
  • Leapers, Pipers and Drummers, Oh, My: As lagging wages start to catch up to a tight labor market, the Lords-a-Leaping, Pipers Piping and Drummers Drumming all saw an increase, as costs rose between 3 and 3.5 percent.
Christmas Price Index gifts with prices

A PNC predecessor bank in Philadelphia began estimating the cost of the 12 Christmas gifts as a holiday client letter in 1984. Since then, it has since become one of PNC’s most popular economic reports. This year's price is approximately 95 percent higher than the inaugural report 34 years ago.

The Cost of Convenience – and Repetition

Now it’s easier than ever to find the goods and services listed in the song online. This convenience comes at a price, though. Buying the goods and services from the song online tends to be more expensive than buying them in a more traditional transaction, mainly due to added shipping and handling costs of the specialty items. Tech-savvy True Loves will have to splurge $41,165.95 ($2,071.02 more than in-store purchases) for the convenience of online shopping this year.

As part of its annual tradition, PNC also tabulates the "True Cost of Christmas," which is the total cost of items bestowed by a True Love who repeats all the song's verses. Purchasing all 364 gifts will require $170,609.46, up $781.94 from last year and $66,813.45 from 1984.

DIY Gifts for a Modern Twist

Let’s be honest – it’s not practical to give your True Love the real gifts named in “The 12 Days of Christmas.” If you’re looking for a more practical and modern way to show your True Love how much you care (and one that involves fewer live animals), consider a handmade approach. PNC asked creative bloggers share their favorite DIY interpretations of the twelve classic gifts. See their creative takes, added each day through Christmas, plus step-by-step instructions so you can recreate the gifts at home for your own True Love.


Learn more about the PNC Christmas Price Index »

Amanda Agati
Amanda Agati is Chief Investment Strategist at PNC Asset Management Group

A price index measures price changes through a representative group of individual items. The PNC Christmas Price Index reflects changes in the economy in the same way the Consumer Price Index issued by the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics does.

The Consumer Price Index measures the change in the prices of goods and services, reflecting the spending habits of the “average” American. The CPI is used as a benchmark for making adjustments in Social Security payments, wages, pensions, and tax brackets to keep them in tune with the buying power of the dollar.

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