The index measures how much it will cost to purchase gifts from the classic holiday song, “The 12 Days of Christmas” — a holiday twist on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Consumer Price Index. After a bah-humbug economic year in 2020, the cost of purchasing those twelve presents increased 5.7% from 2019, to $41,205.58.
The Bureau of Labor Statistic’s regular CPI stands at 6.2%, well above the Federal Reserve’s inflation target of 2%. The Christmas Price Index used data from 2019 to calculate inflation because the pandemic made 2020 difficult to measure.
“It’s interesting that our specialty gift basket of goods and services is relatively in line with these elevated price levels,” said Amanda Agati, chief investment officer for PNC Asset Management Group.
The largest price increases were for exotic pets — specifically Six Geese-a-Laying, which jumped 57%, Two Turtle Doves, up 50%, and Three French Hens, which climbed 40%. Higher food and labor expenses drove up the cost of raising birds.
Gold prices are also up, pushing the cost of five golden rings 8.5% higher to $895.
The most expensive item on the list is Seven Swans-A-Swimming, which cost a hefty $13,125, about the same as in 2019. Live performances are back, and so are the Nine Ladies Dancing — their price has also held steady at $7,552.84. But prepare to pay more for the Eleven Pipers Piping and Twelve Drummers Drumming.
Those feeling especially extravagant this year will have to fork over $179,454 to purchase the gifts for each time they are mentioned in the famously repetitive song.
And anyone who shops online for the 12 Days of Christmas gifts will have to fork over an additional $4,394 for travel and shipping costs.
“Consumer behavior is the drumbeat for the US economy,” Agati said. “With 70% of US GDP tied to consumption, consumer health is key to future market performance. Keep an eye on retail sales, savings rates and consumer sentiment as indicators of the success of this holiday season.”