Tue, Nov 28, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Christmas index jumps 3.5 percent from last year

AP , PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA

The cost of The Twelve Days of Christmas is on the rise -- again.

The total price of all the gifts listed in the Christmas carol went up 3.5 percent this year, according to PNC Financial Services Group.

This year, buying all 364 items -- from a partridge in a pear tree to a dozen drummers drumming -- repeatedly on each day as the song suggests would set you back US$75,122, up from US$72,608 last year, according to US prices and wage scales.

The good news is that it's much less of a jump than last year, when prices increased 9.5 percent from 2004.

"After years of stagnation, wages for skilled workers, including the song's dancers and musicians, have increased as the labor market has tightened," said Jeff Kleintop, chief investment strategist for PNC Wealth Management.

"Also, a decline in the housing market has dampened demand for luxury goods, such as gold rings," he said.

Each year since 1984, the Pittsburgh-based bank does a tongue-in-cheek tally of how much the swans a-swimming, geese a-laying and drummers drumming would cost if you purchased them for your true love at today's US prices.

While prices for the partridge, two turtle doves, three French hens, six geese and seven swans remained the same as last year, higher wages made the lords a-leaping, ladies dancing and pipers piping costlier.

The nine ladies dancing earned US$4,759, 4 percent more, according to Philadanco, the Philadelphia Dance Co. The lords a-leaping got a 3 percent pay raise, while the drummers drumming and pipers piping earned 3.4 percent more.

The maids a-milking, however, weren't as lucky. They make the US federal minimum wage, which has been US$5.15 per hour since 1997.

Trying to find cheaper deals online won't help, either. The 364 items online would cost US$125,767, including shipping costs, compared with US$123,846 last year.

The nine ladies dancing are the costliest items on the list again, followed by the seven swans, which cost US$4,200.

The cheapest? As always, the partridge, still US$15.

also see story:

Thanksgiving weekend spending rises 19 percent

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