PHILADELPHIA — Unless you can get your hands on nearly $14,000, you can forget about surprising your true love with the fowl, rings, milkmaids and leaping lords called for on the 12 days of Christmas.
So says a Philadelphia economist, Robert J. Christian of Provident National Bank, who five years ago developed his own CPI--Christmas price index.
Christian says buying gifts for all 12 days of Christmas as outlined in the popular carol will set a would-be Santa back by $13,871.75, almost $1,000 more than last year's $12,920.25.
"The lords and leapers are much higher this year than the commodities--partridges, pear trees, things like that," he said. The five golden rings were the exception, increasing in price as gold prices rose 22% through December.
Christian and an assistant spent about four hours last week gathering the data for the index. They called the Philadelphia Zoo to price swans, partridges and turtle doves, and actors and musicians unions for the cost of hiring drummers, pipers, leapers and dancers.
Here's the result:
- The partridge is $15, the same as last year, while the pear tree was $29.95 for the second year in a row.
- Two turtle doves remained steady at $50.
- Three French hens were also steady at $15.
- Four calling birds were unchanged at $280.
- Five golden rings were $750, up from $275 last year.
- Six domestic geese a-laying cost $150, the same as in 1986.
- Seven swans a-swimming showed no increase at $7,000.
- Eight maids a-milking held firm at $26.80.
- Nine ladies dancing now go for $1,800, compared to $1,602 last year.
- Ten leaping lords require $2,000, up from $1,780.
- Eleven pipers piping cost $842.40, up from $814.32.
- Twelve drummers are going for $912.60, up from $882.18.
Differs in West
You may find that prices are different on the West Coast.
Hugh Gee & Co., a San Francisco-based investment adviser which publishes the bimonthly Money Power Confidential, computes the 12-day total at $41,848.70, but that includes a $20,000 pool for the swans to swim in.
The firm also figured that where there are milkmaids, there must be eight cows, costing about $8,800.
It also selected mynas for the calling birds. With voice training, they're $2,400 for the quartet. And Hugh Gee's rings cost $2,348 in all.