Braving the suspicion that they might have a little too much time on their hands, the good people at PNC Financial Services Group have calculated, as they have annually since 1984, a Christmas Price Index, finding it at an all-time high.
And the PNC number crunchers arrive at their index by tracing the cost of the True Love’s gifts in the carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” You know: A partridge in a pear tree, two turtle doves, three French hens, four calling birds, five gold rings, six geese a-laying, seven swans a-swimming, eight maids a-milking, nine ladies dancing, 10 lords a-leaping, 11 pipers piping and 12 drummers drumming for 12 choruses.
Rather than confine themselves to the cost of one item each — $18,920 — PNC’s green eyeshades figured the total gifts in all the verses — 364 items — and found the hit on True Love’s credit card would be $72,608, up 3.5 percent from last year. The price of swans was down, ladies dancing was up and partridges held steady at $15. (Details at pncchristmaspriceindex.com.)
The progression of “Twelve Days” — the time between Christmas Day and Epiphany — has fascinated people. Some years back, a short film was made of True Love arriving at Fair Lady’s house each day and the pair finally fleeing the chaos of flapping fowl and leaping lords, etc.
The carol is a rollicking good holiday song with lots of parts for everybody, fun to sing, and by the 12th day you’re more than ready to give it a rest until the next Christmas.