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Items in '12 Days of Christmas' increase to $107,000

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Add seven swans, six geese and five golden rings to the list of Christmas gifts that cost more than they did a year ago.

And if you get all 364 items repeated throughout "The Twelve Days of Christmas" carol, you'll pay 6.1 percent more this year, according to the so-called Christmas Price Index that PNC Wealth Management updates annually.

That comes to $107,300.

"The rise is larger than expected considering the modest economic growth we've had," said Jim Dunigan, managing executive of investments for PNC. He noted the government's Consumer Price Index has risen just 2 percent in the 12 months before September.

Thrifty shoppers may find some reasons for cheer. Six items mentioned in the song haven't gone up in price: maids-a-milking, ladies dancing, lords-a-leaping, calling birds, turtle doves and the partridge. The eight maids-a-milking still cost just $58 because the minimum wage hasn't risen.

Twelve drummers drumming ($2,775.50) and eleven pipers piping ($2,562) might also be considered relative bargains compared to seven swans, which will set you back $7,000. Nine ladies dancing will cost you $6,294.03.

Dunigan said the 2011 drought caused the prices of some birds to soar, partly because of corn and other feed costs.

"The geese were up 29.6 percent, and swans were up 11 percent," Dunigan said, adding that none of the gifts in the song went down in price this year.

The price of a pear tree is $189.99, an 11.8-percent jump from last year's $169.99. Five gold rings jumped 16.3 percent this year, to $750, and three French hens are now $165, instead of $150.

The $15 partridge is the cheapest item, and swans the most expensive, at $1,000 each.

Last-minute shoppers who turn to the Internet will pay a bit more for the gifts. Buying one set of the core items in each verse costs $24,431 in traditional stores this year, but $40,440 online. Part of that difference is the extra expense of shipping live birds, Dunigan said, adding that Internet costs rose 1.5 percent compared to last year.

PNC Financial Services Group Inc. checks jewelry stores, dance companies, pet stores and other sources to compile the list. Some of its sources this year include the National Aviary in Pittsburgh and the Philadelphia-based Pennsylvania Ballet Co.

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  • Old man in a younger body
    I forgot we are supposed to do everything online now and not go to bank branches. I'm sure once the banks cut all the expense of maintaining those pesky branches and their unnecessary employees, they'll probably be able to offer a savings account with an interest rate that comes close to matching the inflation rate, right?
  • One Christmas
    I would like to go just one Christmas without reading/hearing an idiotic update on the cost of the gifts in the song the Twelve Days of Christmas, which, by the way, is probably the worst Christmas song of all time.
  • Branch?
    Who actually goes to a branch? I always think it's a fun report. I am glad they do it. Not everything has to be life and death...
  • meh.
    Glad to know PNC has time to calculate this silliness, despite not being able to afford to keep their Irvington branch open.

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