What is The Cost of The 12 Days of Christmas Gifts? A Lot

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It's December, and that means it's time to sing "The Twelve Days of Christmas." But let's think about it literally for a second. If we really were to purchase these twelve gifts, how much would they cost?


According to 2016 prices, the total would run you back $34,363.49—an increase of 0.7 percent from 2015. What accounts for this cost increase? PNC Bank, the company who released this cost estimate, claims it has to do with a lack of availability for the Turtle Doves, and "wage increases for the Drummers and Pipers." Sounds like demand is exceeding the supply for those guys.

At first glance, the study seems silly, but PNC started doing this 30 years ago as a barometer for measuring inflation. In 1986, $34,363.49 was equal to around $15,711. Still a bit pricey just to buy 12 days worth of gifts. Although, if you calculate it by the total number of times they are mentioned in the song, you'd have 364 gifts, which comes to $156,507,88. The most expensive gift on the list for the 12 Days of Christmas? 7 swans-a-swimming.

If you'd like to save some cash this year, you can go for the cheapest item on the list, which is the partridge at $20 each.


Conversely, your two turtle doves have increased by nearly 30% because of a "lack of availability" from last year, and the Pipers Piping has gone up 2.8 percent, from $2,635 to $2,708. Hey, we didn't say that recreating a famous Christmas carol would be cheap. If you want cheap, explore Good Housekeeping's website, or Overstock.com.

If you really wanted birds, I'm not sure that partridges or turtle doves are the way to go either. It seems like there are a number of other options, like parakeets, hummingbirds, or sparrows, that might be cheaper.

The 12 drummers drumming might be pricey too, when factoring tips. Plus, you'd have to specify how long you want them to perform. If they impose an hourly rate, you have to keep their performance limited.

In case you were wondering about the song itself, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was published in England in 1780, as a chant without music. Over time, different iterations of the song began popping up in places like Scotland, France, and the Faroe Islands.

PNC Bank is helping adults take back this children's song by introducing adult-like things, such as money. But it's also a nice way to introduce the idea of inflation to your children in a fun and engaging way.

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