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A True Cost Analysis Of '12 Days Of Christmas'

Pear Tree
Leoneda Inge

How much would you pay for Six Geese-a-Laying?  What about a Partridge in a Pear Tree?

An economic analysis by PNC’s Wealth Management Division crunches the numbers and highlights just how much a loved one could end up spending this holiday season.

“On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me, a Partridge in a Pear Tree," sang members of the North Carolina Master Chorale Chamber Choir.

They kicked-off an event at North Hills Shopping Center in Raleigh this week to better explain what "The Twelve Days of Christmas" really means for your wallet.

It’s an annual tradition for the money experts at PNC Wealth Management to tabulate for us the “True Cost of Christmas.”  And as expected, the Christmas Price Index has jumped 7.7 percent over this time last year.

Say if you wanted to buy your mate Four Calling Birds.  Last year that would have cost you about $520.  This year, it’s $600, a whopping increase of 15.4 percent.

“The thing she’s really known for is that sound, that pig grunting sound," said Brent Lubbock.

Brent Lubbock, of Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park, gently holds Matilda, an Australian Goose with a neon beak and heart designs on her feathers. The Lubbocks of Scotland Neck brought their birds to North Hills for sort of a “12 Days of Christmas” petting zoo.

“And then we have four calling ducks to represent the four calling birds, you know we have the whole theme going here, with the Partridge in a Pear Tree, the Turtle Doves, three French Hens," said Lubbock.

NCMC Chamber Choir
Credit Leoneda Inge
NCMC Chamber Choir members Leanne Glasgow, Jennifer Seiger, Lewis Moore and Rob Maddrey sing "The Twelve Days of Christmas."

You get the picture.  Wondering how much a Partridge in a Pear Tree costs?  Well, PNC says a Partridge cost the same in 2013 as it did last year $15 dollars.  But a Pear Tree can cost about $184 dollars, a little cheaper than last year.

Eight Maids-a-Milking.  The price didn’t change from 2012, it costs $58. But it does cost a whole lot more to give a gift of Nine Ladies Dancing, that’s up 20% and will cost you about $75-hundred dollars.  No, I don’t know the exact type of dancing the Christmas Price Index is referring to.  I just know it’s more than twice the price of 12 Drummers Drumming!

Bill Hope and Tamela Collard were admiring the North Hills Christmas Tree and all the fancy birds.  I asked them how much they thought five Gold Rings cost.

“For five gold rings, I would say $1,000 for all five, $200 bucks each," said Hope. 

"Alright, that’s what I’m talking about! I like those Gold Rings!" said Collard.

PNC says the price of Five Gold Rings has remained steady during the past year at $750.  The total price of all of the 12 gifts named in the famous song is about $27,400, that’s up almost 8% from last year and up 116% from the first Christmas Price Index in 1984.

But having members of the North Carolina Master Chorale Chamber Choir serenade me with “The Twelve Days of Christmas” – priceless.

Leoneda Inge is the co-host of WUNC's "Due South." Leoneda has been a radio journalist for more than 30 years, spending most of her career at WUNC as the Race and Southern Culture reporter. Leoneda’s work includes stories of race, slavery, memory and monuments. She has won "Gracie" awards, an Alfred I. duPont Award and several awards from the Radio, Television, Digital News Association (RTDNA). In 2017, Leoneda was named "Journalist of Distinction" by the National Association of Black Journalists.
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