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What Is the Christmas Price Index?

A partridge in a pear tree can’t really cost that much—can it?

Well, you might be surprised by how expensive it would be to buy that single bird or any of the gifts from the classic Christmas song “The 12 Days of Christmas.” And let’s face it: We’ve all wondered just how much damage it would do to our Christmas budget if we bought five golden rings for our true love.

Luckily, the Christmas Price Index is here to give us the answer.

What Is the Christmas Price Index?

The Christmas Price Index is an annual list that looks a lot like the Consumer Price Index. But instead of measuring the price of your grocery bill, the Christmas Price Index looks at the actual price of the “goods and services” from the Christmas song “The 12 Days of Christmas.”

Yep. We’re totally serious.

PNC Financial Services has crunched the numbers on “The 12 Days of Christmas” since 1984, and it’s not stopping now.

How Much Do the Gifts From “The 12 Days of Christmas” Cost?

Here’s how much each gift would set you back this year.

A Partridge in a Pear Tree: $280

Two Turtle Doves: $600

Three French Hens: $319

Four Calling Birds: $600

Five Golden Rings: $1,245

Six Geese-a-Laying: $720

Seven Swans-a-Swimming: $13,125

Eight Maids-a-Milking: $58

Nine Ladies Dancing: $8,308

Ten Lords-a-Leaping: $13,980

Eleven Pipers Piping: $3,021

Twelve Drummers Drumming: $3,267

Grand Total: $45,523

The even grander total if you count each time (364) that a gift was mentioned in the song: $197,0711

The Christmas Price Index and Inflation

No one can escape inflation these days. Yep, the seven swans a-swimming couldn’t even get away from paying more for groceries and utilities if they did their best Michael Phelps impression.

The same is true for the Christmas Price Index, which is over $4,300 more expensive in 2022 than it was in 2021.2 That’s a 10.5% increase, and it’s not too far off from the real inflation rate in the U.S. right now—a whopping 7.1%.3

Some of “The 12 Days of Christmas” gifts that got hit the hardest by inflation over the last year are the five golden rings (39% more expensive in 2022 than in 2021), the two turtle doves (33%), and the lonely partridge who’s probably tired of eating pears all day (26%).

The Christmas Price Index and Online Shopping

Long gone are the days of waiting in line outside of Macy’s in the freezing cold to get doorbuster deals at Christmastime (unless you find that sort of thing fun—in which case, you do you). Now, you can get the same sales from your phone while sitting on the couch under a warm blanket.

But when it comes to the gifts in “The 12 Days of Christmas,” shopping online will actually cost you more cash to get those gifts into the hands of your true love.4 The big price jump is mostly thanks to the shipping and gas prices behind carting around those 23 live birds.

By the way, what the heck would someone even do with all those birds? Open a sanctuary? Set up a real-life version of Angry Birds? There aren’t exactly a ton of options there. Giving a gift card or a pack of socks would probably be a much better choice.

Is Your Christmas Budget Ready?

All this talk about spending major dough on your true love’s Christmas gift has us wondering—how’s your Christmas budget looking? Don’t fall into the trap of overspending (like paying $3,000 to rent the services of 11 pipers piping). Make sure your Christmas budget is on track with our free budgeting tool, EveryDollar.

Money

Start budgeting with EveryDollar today!

And if you do want to splurge a bit, skip the lords-a-leaping and treat yourself (or your true love) to the premium version of EveryDollar. You’ll be able to connect your bank account to the app so you can easily track transactions, and you’ll get access to the paycheck planning feature for folks with an irregular income.

We wouldn’t recommend forking over $45,000 for a bunch of birds and jewelry, but if you’re mega rich and dead set on making "The 12 Days of Christmas” come to life, EveryDollar can help you budget for that too. No judgment here. (Okay, maybe a little judgment.)

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Ramsey Solutions

About the author

Ramsey

Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners. Learn More.

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