How The CPI Affects The True Cost Of Christmas

         If you bought all the gifts in the holiday classic “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” you’d be writing a check for $155,407.18 to pay for the true cumulative value of 364 Pear Trees, Geese-a-Laying and Lords-a-Leaping, etc., which is nearly $900 more than last year.

         One set of the gifts outlined in the song will only cost you $34,130.99, an $198 increase from last year.

         According to the 32nd annual PNC Wealth Management Christmas Price Index released this week, the PNC CPI is similar to the United States’ Consumer Price Index in that it measures changes in prices of goods and services.

         Reps at the Pittsburg, PA, based bank said most years the PNC CPI has often increased or decreased at a rate consistent with the U.S. CPI, and is additionally affected by 3 factors:


• The Internet – which makes gifts easier to find, but adds costs for shipping and handling

• The Price Of Services – which has increased over the years, while the price of goods have slowed

• Fuel Costs – while volatile over the years, it dramatically changes the cost of shipping


         “While the economy continues to chug along on a sustainable path, low commodity prices are keeping consumer costs down,” Jim Dunigan, chief investment officer of PNC Asset Management Group, said. “With only a few items in our index increasing in cost this year, True Loves should be thrilled that they can have their goose and better afford the gas to roast it, too.”


         2015 PNC CPI Price List:

— One Partridge in a Pear Tree: $214.99           Last year: $207.68

           — Partridge, $25                                      Last year: $20

           — Pear Tree, $189.99                              Last year: $187.68

— Two Turtle Doves: $290                                  Last year: $260

— Three French Hens: $181.50                          Last year: Same

— Four Calling Birds (Canaries): $599.96           Last year: Same

— Five Gold Rings: $750                                    Last year: Same

— Six Geese-A-Laying: $360                             Last year: Same

— Seven Swans-A-Swimming: $13,125             Last year: Same

— Eight Maids-A-Milking: $58                            Last year: Same

— Nine Ladies Dancing: $7,552.84                    Last year: Same

(per performance)

— Ten Lords-A-Leaping: $5,508.70                   Last year: $5,348

(per performance)

— Eleven Pipers Piping: $2,635.20                     Last year: Same

(per performance)

— Twelve Drummers Drumming: $2,854.80        Last year: Same

(per performance)


         According to the PNC, the steep decline in energy costs and falling commodity prices, lower inflation and slow economic growth have caused their list to grow at its lowest rate in 6 years at 0.6 percent for the cumulative value of all the gifts in the song.

         The 2015 PNC CPI shows the cost of a Partridge in a Pear Tree rose 3.5%, due to the popularity of Partridge as a gourmet food.

         The price of Turtle Doves also went up by 11.5%, because the price of grain increased this year.

         The only other blip was the cost of Lords-a-Leaping, because of a 3% increase in salaries.

         But, Maids-a-Milking are earning the same. That’s because the PNC CPI considers that job unskilled labor and bases their salary on the federal minimum wage, which hasn’t changed since 2009.

         Last, the above goods and services will cost a lot more if purchased on the internet. At $43,626.73, that’s $9,495.74 more than if you bought everything “in person.”

         The PNC CPI’s sources include retailers, hatcheries, the Philadelphia-based PHILADANCO and the Pennsylvania Ballet Company.


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Categories: Leslie’s List