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Your True Love Will Get a Bargain for Christmas This Year

Carolynn Look
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Your True Love Will Get a Bargain for Christmas This Year

(Bloomberg) -- Holiday lovebirds might get a better deal on partridges, golden rings and maids-a-milking this year than Americans who don’t base their gift lists on classic carols.

The cost of buying all goods and services in “The Twelve Days of Christmas” has gone up by roughly half the pace of overall U.S. inflation, according to a Christmas price index compiled by PNC Financial Services Group. While replicating the song isn’t cheap -- the total cost would be more than $39,000 -- that’s only 1.2 percent higher than last year. Price increases in the rest of the economy have averaged about 2.5 percent so far in 2018.

PNC says the lower inflation rate can be explained in part by plunging gold prices, which have made five 14-carat gold rings $75 dollars cheaper to buy this year than last. The cost of many types of birds listed in the song have remained stagnant, with the notable exception of egg-laying geese, whose prices shot up.

A static federal minimum wage means nine ladies dancing will receive the same compensation as they did last year. The same goes for eight maids-a-milking, though PNC doesn’t factor the cost of dairy cows into its analysis, and only a tiny fraction of the U.S. population would have those readily available. The presumably more skill-based work of lords-a-leaping, pipers piping and drummers drumming is seeing a bump in pay, however, as the labor market tightens.

Here are the 12 items listed in the song, with their latest cost and inflation rate:

1 partridge in a pear tree: $220.13 (+0.1%)2 turtle doves: $375 (0%)3 French hens: $181.50 (0%)4 calling birds: $599.96 (0%)5 gold rings: $750 (-9.1%)6 geese-a-laying: $390 (+8.3%)7 swans-a-swimming: $13,125 (0%)8 maids-a-milking: $58 (0%)9 ladies dancing: 7,552.84 (0%)10 lords-a-leaping: $10,000 (+3%)11 pipers piping: $2,804.40 (+3.5%)12 drummers drumming: $3,038.10 (+3.5%)

To contact the reporter on this story: Carolynn Look in Frankfurt at clook4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Gordon at pgordon6@bloomberg.net, Jana Randow, Randall Woods

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