The Twelve Days of Christmas Price Index for 2010 – Yikes!

Santa

It’s been awhile since we revisited the folks at PNC Financial Services Group to check out the cost of all those things that we sing about in The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Yes, all those things – because remember, when you get to the twelfth day and all those drummers drumming, you’ve been adding all of the other gifts along the way. Think about it. The first day it’s just a partridge in a pear tree. The second day it’s another partridge, another pear tree, and two turtle doves. The third day, it’s yet another partridge, and another pear tree (that’s three partridges up to now and three trees); we’re up to four turtle doves and we’re adding three French hens.

It just keeps getting worse.

By the time the song is over we’re really talking about a total of 364 partridges, trees, doves, hens, leaping lords and milking maids – and (we’re pretty sure) 40 very expensive go-old rings (ba-dum-bum-bum – that, at least is how Miss Piggy sang it in the Muppet Christmas Show).

We’ve discovered a couple of things about the PNC Financial Services Index. They call the four birds “calling” birds and then go on to describe them as canaries (and use their PetCo store as their pricing source.) In the original song they were “colly” birds – older English for blackbirds. “Colly” was derived from “collier” or coal mine. And coal is black so, apparently, that’s how blackbirds ended up being called that. Is that the same kind of blackbird baked in a pie? But, we digress. On the other hand, many coal mines used canaries in cages as harbingers of potentially lethal concentrations of methane gas – the canaries would expire first and give the miners time to get out. So, there’s a sort of relationship between the two birds – and canaries are at least easier to price.

The other thing about the PNC Index is its use of “pipers” as flautists. Traditionally they were always considered to be bagpipers. We wonder if that’s a musicians union issue.

In any case, 2010 did not mark a good year for anyone wishing to give the full complement of Twelve Days gifts. The total of $23,439.38 was a 9.2 percent increase over the cost in 2009. According to the PNC Financial economists that was the highest year-to-year increase in many years. We just hope the economists at FNC don’t talk to their counterparts at the Federal Reserve or interest rates are sure to rise to combat those inflationary pressures.



Written by Dianne Weller
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