True Love or Insanity

For 40 years now, 4-Star PNC Bank, N.A., Wilmington, DE (formerly Provident National Bank) has provided us with a whimsical inflation reminder. It calculates how much it would cost to purchase all of the items from the “Twelve Days of Christmas” Holiday Song. The results of this Christmas Price Index (CPI) are intended to be as fun as they are educational.

So, if you or your true love has any desire to purchase the extraordinary items mentioned in this song, it would cost 2.7% more this year than last, that is if you shop the traditional way. If you do your Christmas shopping online, you will pay a premium (see chart). Two point seven seems tame compared to the inflation we’ve all witnessed at the grocery store. But these are definitely not your typical purchases, let alone groceries.

Some items increased much more than that average. For example, a partridge in a pear tree, which would have been yesterday’s gift (December 25th is the first day of Christmas) is up almost 14% from a year ago. And that is all due to soaring housing costs. The price of the bird remained flat, but the pear tree (its home) grew 15%.

Due to their scarcity, today’s two turtle doves are 25% more expensive than last year. Tomorrow’s three French hens are much easier to come by, which is reflected in their modest 3.5% increase, while the cost of four calling birds remained unchanged.

Surprisingly, the price of the five gold rings also remained unchanged, as long as they are purchased locally. The internet price of gold rose 35% making it much more expensive to shop for these items online. We do pay for convenience.

The last time we “reported” on these prices (2021), the cost of six geese-a-laying was skyrocketing, rising 57% between 2019 and 2021, and that was if you purchased them locally. If you ordered them online, the increase was over 65%. The rate of increase has slowed substantially, but was still up 9.1% last year and 8.3% this year.

The price for seven swans-a-swimming (the most expensive gift in the song) has remained unchanged at $13,125 for several years now. The same holds true for the poor Maids-a-Milking, they have not had a raise in years. Ladies Dancing showed no change this year either, but did at least receive a modest raise last year.

The men, on the other hand, all got wage increases of between 4% and 6.2% this year (or 11% online). Take from that what you will. As for us, Frankincense and Myrrh are sounding better every day.

Happy Holidays! We wish you a Joyous and Prosperous New Year.