12 Days of Christmas cost $19,507 this year

December 02, 2007|By JAY HANCOCK

Who says there's no inflation? The PNC Christmas Price Index, which tracks the cost of all gifts in "The Twelve Days of Christmas" carol, rose 3.1 percent this year to $19,507.

Much of the pain came from the rising cost of gold, which has hit $800 an ounce. Those five gold rings are going to cost you $395 - 22 percent more than last year, says James Dunigan of PNC Wealth Management. The cost of eight maids-a-milking ("the only unskilled laborers in the Christmas price index," says the bank) also went up along with the minimum wage. Wages for drummers drumming, pipers piping and leaping lords rose along with those of other performers, although not as much those of the milkmaids.

Goose prices also rose. Prices for partridges, turtle doves, French hens and swans, not so much. Priced in pounds sterling, of course, all the gifts would probably have been more affordable, thanks to the strong British currency. (It is an English carol, after all.)

"Each year, the Christmas Price Index reflects trends in the broader economy," said Dunigan in a canned statement. "This year, increased commodities prices, concerns about the value of the dollar and the first minimum-wage increase in 10 years were major factors in the increases to the Christmas Price Index."

So far this year, the Consumer Price Index - the most common measure of inflation - has risen 3.5 percent.

jay.hancock@baltsun.com

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