Thanks to inflation, your “True Love” will have to spend a pretty (expensive) penny when showering you with turtle doves, golden rings, and a dozen drummers this holiday season.
The cost for the dozen items outlined in the “Twelve Days of Christmas” song hit a record high this year of $45,523.27. That’s a 10.5% leap from last year, according to financial services firm PNC, which released its 39th annual Christmas Price Index on Thursday.
The festive CPI, which measures the average change in prices for the 12 gifts in the classic Christmas carol, is running even hotter than the more traditional Consumer Price Index, which measured 7.7% in October. Still, both indexes share some similar themes: the effects of elevated energy and commodity prices, supply chain challenges, and a tight labor market boosting services inflation.
For example, the cost of a partridge in a pear tree is up nearly 26%, driven entirely by spiking fertilizer costs; French hens and turtle doves are more expensive because their food — much like ours — has become pricier; investors rushing to “store-of-value” assets including precious metals caused gold ring prices to skyrocket 39%; and labor shortages and wage increases mean those lords-a-leaping and ladies dancing are earning 24% and 10% more, respectively.
While the majority of the products in this festive basket of goods saw prices increase, the cost of a partridge and four calling birds held steady. Also unchanged, once again, is the price tag for eight maids who earn minimum wage milking cows. The octet’s services run at a total of $58 an hour — a rate that has not shifted since the federal minimum wage was increased to $7.25 per hour in 2009.
The “core” holiday CPI, which excludes swings in the sky-high costs of having seven swimming swans whose prices and availability have varied in the past, rose 15.4%.
“Despite True Loves’ generous intentions, the gifts that make up the PNC CPI are not well-insulated from what is being experienced across the broader economy,” Amanda Agati, chief investment officer for PNC Asset Management Group, said in a statement.
The “True Cost of Christmas” for the total items repeated in all of the song’s verses — 364 in all — would be $197,071.09. That’s a 9.8% increase from 2021, according to PNC.
PNC says its lighthearted take on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ CPI is meant to highlight market changes over time while both educating consumers about the economy — and sparking some holiday joy.