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Christmas Trivia, Fun and Games

The three months at the end of the calendar year represent most retailers’ best hope for a successful year. Many do as much business then as in the preceding nine months. And that business revolves around the celebration of the birth of a Child more than two thousand years ago. So, in the spirit of the season, let’s take a brief look at interesting tidbits, back stories and other oddities that have developed during those years.

Numbers 1 through 12 decorated for each verse in the song Twelve Days of Christmas

Time to return to musical trivia – and learn a lesson in economics.

A take or two on “The Twelve Days of Christmas”

Nearly everyone has heard The Twelve Days of Christmas, the English carol that dates back to the fifteenth century. Many can sing most, if not all of its verses. It has become so popular over the years that it has become the source for parody and economic forecasting. Take, for example, economic forecasting.

MSN Money, among many other media organizations, annually reports on the true cost of the gifts mentioned in the carol, as derived by PNC Advisors: “To buy the partridge in a pear tree, the 12 drummers drumming and all the gifts in between in the verses of the famous song you'd have to shell out $18,348, according to PNC Advisors' annual survey. And if you were really true to the song, buying all the gifts including the repetitions? Those 364 items would cost a cool $72,608, up 9.5% from last year's $66,344.

  1984 2004 2005 chg 04-05
One Partridge in a Pear Tree $32.52 $93.00 $104.99 12.90%
Partridge 12.57 15.00 15.00 0.00%
Pear Tree 19.95 78.00 89.99 15.40%
Two Turtle Doves 47.71 40.00 40.00 0.00%
Three French Hens 14.78 45.00 45.00 0.00%
Four Calling Birds 280.00 396.00 399.96 1.00%
Five Gold Rings 275.00 255.00 325.00 27.50%
Six Geese-a-Laying 150.00 210.00 300.00 42.90%
Seven Swans-a-Swimming 7,000.00 3,500.00 4,200.00 20.00%
Eight Maids-a-Milking 26.80 41.20 41.20 0.00%
Nine Ladies Dancing 1,511.50 4,400.13 4,576.14 4.00%
10 Lords-a-Leaping 1,679.45 4,039.08 4,039.08 0.00%
11 Pipers Piping 770.56 2,053.20 2,053.20 0.00%
12 Drummers Drumming 834.78 2,224.30 2,224.30 0.00%
Total Christmas Price Index 12,623.10 17,296.91 18,348.87 6.10%
True cost of Christmas in song $62,427.10 $66,334.46 $72,608.02 9.50%
"Core" index, excluding swans   $13,796.91 $14,148.87 2.60%

Source: PNC Advisors
Last year's headlines had an impact on the index. Avian flu? Those swans and geese are going to cost you more because of a spike in the price of large birds. And the French hens? You couldn’t import them from France last year -- though there are domestic suppliers. Meanwhile, energy prices are driving up some delivery costs.”

We’ll provide you with an updated 12 Days of Christmas Price Index as soon as it becomes available.
Written by Dianne Weller

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