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Even ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’ is being slammed by inflation

December 3, 2021, 2:48 PM UTC

Thinking of buying your true love two turtle doves and six geese-a-laying this year? Well, first off, we need to talk about your idea of a good gift, but if we still can’t change your mind, you’re gonna be shelling out a lot of shillings.

PNC’s annual Christmas Price Index, which totals out the current cost of the gifts in the holiday song “The 12 Days of Christmas,” has been published—and all of those birds in the song come at a hefty price. Two turtle doves will cost you 50% more this year, coming in at $450. Those three French hens? That’s up 40.5% to $255. And the six geese-a-laying saw prices soar 51% in the past year.

And, really, who gives a goose for a Christmas gift? They’re the jerks of the bird world.

Overall, buying all of the gifts in the song, as it was sung, would cost you $179,454.19 this year, a 5.4% increase over 2019. (And your true love would be stuck with 178 birds.)

Not everything is more expensive. You’ll pay the same for the swans-a-swimming and maids-a-milking. (The lack of a Federal Minimum Wage and limits on live performances works in your favor there.) Drummers and pipers are commanding a bit more, though. And, proving that there’s a wage gap even in holiday songs, the lords-a-leaping are earning more this year, but the ladies dancing saw no increase.

Can’t resist tradition? Or looking to confound your love with extravagant displays of largess? Here’s how the gifts break down:

Gift2021 PricePrice Change
A partridge in a pear tree$222.68+6%
Two turtle doves $450+50%
Three French hens$255+40.5%
Four calling birds$600No change
Five gold rings$895+8.5%
Six geese-a-laying$660+57.1%
Seven swans-a-swimming$13,125No change
Eight maids-a-milking$58No change
Nine ladies dancing$7,553No change
10 lords-a-leaping$11,260+12.6%
11 pipers piping$2,944+7.1%
12 drummers drumming$3,183+7.1%

While PNC didn’t compile the index last year, it has tracked the price of the gifts since 1984. If you’d avoided the repetition of the song, the price tag would be $41,205. That’s more than double the year 2000 price of $20,989. (It could be worse, though—if written today, the song could mention Bitcoin.)

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