What child tax breaks are these?
The Christmas tax story

True love's 12 Christmas gifts cost more in 2013

Partridge in a pear tree_PNCIf you're rushing around this Christmas Eve to finish up your shopping, I hope you find everything you're looking for without too much trouble.

And I hope it doesn't cost you as much as the collection of gifts given to a true love in the classic Christmas song The 12 Days of Christmas.

Yes, I'm still stuck in a song loop, having just wrapped up the Christmas Tax Tip Tunes feature on the day before the day before Christmas.

Turtle doves_PNCAnd while it's not strictly tax-related, the annual PNC Christmas Price Index is always fun. So fun, in fact, that the $27,393.17 price tag in 2013 for a partridge in a pear tree through 12 drummers drumming is this holiday week's By the Numbers figure.

C'mon, sales taxes have to be counted in there somewhere!

PNC Wealth Management's 30th annual Christmas song price tally is $1,192 more than last year. The 7.7 percent increase in 2013 is the largest since 2010 when the index jumped 9.2 percent.

French hen_PNC2Following historic economic trends: "While there are exceptions in given years, what's most interesting about the index's history is that since the beginning, year-over-year increases have averaged 2.9 percent, which is exactly the same number as the U.S. inflation index," said Jim Dunigan, managing executive-Investments of PNC Wealth Management.

This year, however, PNC's Christmas Price Index increase outpaced the government's Consumer Price Index, which stands at 1 percent for the past 12 months through September.

Calling birds_PNC"We were surprised to see such a large increase from a year ago, given the overall benign inflation rate in the U.S., but the dancers in the index took a huge leap this year to play catch up from paltry increases the previous few years," Dunigan said.

Here's the price per each verse:

Golden ring_PNCOne partridge will run you $15 this year, the same as in 2012. The pear tree in which it perches is $184 in 2013, slightly less than the plant's price of $189.99 in 2012. The pair brings the first verse's cost in 2013 to $199.99, a 2.4 percent reduction in last year's cost.

The price of two turtle doves also held firm this year, costing the same $125 per pair they did in 2012.

Geese a-laying_PNCPoultry price stability continues with the three French hens. That feathered trio remains at the 2012 price of $165.

Four calling birds, however, are markedly more expensive in 2013. This year they cost $599.96. In 2012 the four vocal avian gifts were priced at $519.96.

Five gold rings were $750 in 2012. That's the same price for the jewelry in 2013.

We return to flat fowl inflation with the six geese a-laying. The price in both 2012 and 2013 is $210.

Swans a-swimming_PNCAnd it's a good thing that the most costly gift in the song, the seven swimming swans, didn't go up in 2013. The $7,000 price tag both last and this year is plenty to pay.

The eight milking maids also are the same price as 2012, a total of $58 for the dairy services.

Maids a-milking_PNCNine ladies dancing, however, produced 2013's largest single item percentage price hike. The fancy-footed gift went up 20 percent this year, from $6,294.02 to $7,552.84. 

Ten lords a-leaping cost, fittingly, 10 percent more in 2013, going from $4,766.70 last year to $5,243.37 in 2013. Ladies dancing_PNC

As for musicians, the price for them to play increased only slightly this year.

Eleven pipers piping will run you $2,635.20 for a 2013 performance, 2.9 percent more than last year.

Lords a-leaping_PNCSimilarly, 12 drumming drummers charge 2.9 percent more in 2013 for their rhythmic accompaniment, going from $2,775.50 in 2012 to $2,854.80 this year.

Full set, online orders require fuller wallet: If you tabulate the total cost of items presented by a smitten gift giver who repeats, and purchases, all of the verse's 364 goodies -- and PNC did -- the price tag skyrockets to $114,651.18.

Piper piping_PNCAnd if you opted to buy the 12 Days of Christmas gifts online, you'd pay even more.

The overall Internet price for one set of each verse's gifts comes to $39,762.61 in 2013. But that's cheaper than 2012's online price tag of $40,439.53.

"In general, Internet prices are higher than their non-Internet counterparts because of premium shipping costs for birds and the convenience factor of shopping online,” Dunigan said.

Drummers drumming_PNCThe true cost of repeating the purchases each time through the song also is higher online, coming to $173,410.13 this year.

Now don't you feel a bit better about what you paid for your more run-of-the-mill mall presents this year?!

You also might find these items of interest:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The comments to this entry are closed.