'12 Days of Christmas' inflation is transitory

'12 Days of Christmas' inflation is transitory

The annual price tag of the price of buying all of the gifts mentioned in “The 12 Days of Christmas” is out for 2023 and, while it’s higher than last year, it’s not posting nearly as steep an inflationary jump as we saw last year.

The 2023 PNC Christmas Price Index found the overall price climbed just 2.7% this year, a little north of the Fed’s overall year-over-year target rate, but miles better than the 10.5% increase it saw last year. The overall cost of buying all 12 gifts in song works out to $46,729.86 this year.

If you’re one of those obsessive purists, who insists on purchasing all 364 gifts, including 12 pear trees and 40 gold rings (where, prey tell, do you expect your true love to wear that much jewelry?!?), you’re looking at a bill of $201,972.66.

For those keeping track at home, that’s $22,518.47 more than two years ago.

So what’s driving prices higher this year? Ok, Doolittle, let’s talk about all the damned birds. First, and this is important, no true love wants 184 birds for Christmas, no matter how much you think they enjoy ornithology. And no one, NO ONE wants 42 geese honking around their home. Geese are jerks.

Putting aside any avian flu concerns, all of those winged creatures add up. Turtle Dove alone saw a 25% price increase this year to $750. And you’re thinking of getting 22 of those?  The geese? They’re going to cost 8.3% more, coming in at $780. (That’s a $500 increase since 2018.)

Swans and Calling Bird prices have remained steady throughout the year, so you get a bit of a break there.

All of those performers are going to expect more as well, whether they’re drummers, pipers or leaping lords, with asks increasing between 4% and 6.2%).

Oh, let’s also hope your true love isn’t a feminist, ‘cause if so they’re not going to be happy to learn that the maids-a-milking and ladies dancing didn’t see any sort of pay raise this year, while the men did.

Still, maybe you view recreating the song as a grand romantic gesture (or maybe the pettiest of revenges). Here’s how the prices break down by gift.


2023 price

A partridge + a pear tree

$319.18 (+25.813.9)

2 turtle doves

$750 (+25%)

3 French hens

$330 (+3.5%)

4 calling birds

$599.96 (unch)

5 gold rings

$1,245 (unch)

6 geese

$780 (+8.3%)

7 swans

$13,125 (unch)

8 maids-a-milking

$58 (unch)

9 ladies dancing

$8,308.12 (unch)

10 lords-a-leaping

$14,539.20 (+4.0%)

11 pipers

$3,207.38 (+6.2%)

12 drummers

$3,468.02 (+6.2%)

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