A partridge in a pear tree, turtle doves, gold rings — the narrator in the song “The 12 Days of Christmas” received quite the roster of gifts from his true love (and a hell of a lot of birds).
But have you ever wondered how much all this stuff would actually cost?
For 36 years running, PNC has published an annual (very tongue-in-cheek) Christmas Price Index, which tracks the going rate for all of the items in the song, from 3 French hens ($182) to 7 swans-a-swimming ($13,125).
The tally for 2019?
- If you just count each line in the song once: ~$39k.
- If you count cumulatively (adding up the total mentions of each item in all verses): A toasty $170k.
That’s 42x (and 185x) higher than the $920 experts project the average American will spend on gifts this holiday season.
In determining its price estimates, PNC consulted a national bird supplier, a waterfowl farm, multiple hatcheries, a tree nursery, and a national jewelry chain.
For the items involving people, the cost was calculated based on a service (e.g., hiring a dance troupe, or a group of musicians).
There’s also an inadvertent tale about income inequality buried in here: The cost of the 8 maids’ service is calculated based on one hour each at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Even collectively, with $58 in wages, they wouldn’t be able to afford a single gift on the list.