What Does Christmas Cost?
By Trish Berg
We all know that shopping for Christmas began on Black Friday, and continues today on Cyber Monday. I am not sure where the name Black Friday came in, but I think it's because the retailers go into the "black" and start making a profit that day.
For us, maybe it should be called "Red" Friday since we all go into the red so they can go into the black.
So nice of us, isn't it.
Then, this morning I saw an article in the newspaper about the true cost of the 12 days of Christmas. You know the song, On the first day of Christmas, my true love game to me.... and all that.
Well, there is actually a company that tracks the consumer price index and they have calculated the cost of the gifts in that song over the years. 23 years to be exact.
WHAT? :::Snort::: Do they not have better things to occupy themselves with? Probably our tax dollars at work.
But curious cat that I am, I took a look.
According to their research, the cost of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is $19,507 in 2007, a 3.1 percent increase over last year. The consumer price index (the complex thing that people much smarter than I am use to measure inflation) rose by 3.5 percent so far this year.
If your true love is buying you 5 golden rings this year, he will have to spend $395, a 21.5 percent increase over 2006 prices, but still nowhere close to 1989 prices, when the five Gold Rings hit an all-time high of $750.
Why didn't Mike get me those 5 gold rings back in the late 80's when they were so much cheaper!
8 Maids a milking cost $46.80 per hour at today's minimum wage rates. That is some expensive milk! I wonder what YooHoo would cost instead.
As for the performers on the list, entertainers if you will, the Drummers Drumming, Pipers Piping and Lords-a-Leaping -- their salaries only rose 3-4%, but with the writer's on strike in Hollywood and New York, and many stage hands following suit, I am guessing they may have to be left out this year. There is nothing less entertaining than a drummer with nothing to drum or a lord a leaping with no script to read.
Poultry, well, those six Geese-a-Laying, will now cost you 20% more than last year.
All in all, an expensive endeavor at best, but true love is worth it, don't you think?
And, if you prefer to do your 12 days of Christmas shopping online, well, the prices are pretty close. But imagine shipping turtle doves, partridges and doves, let alone paying for airfare for the lords, ladies and drummers.
And, as tradition notes, they also tabulated the cumulative cost of The 12 Days of Christmas, which is the total cost of items gifted by a True Love who repeats all of the song's verses. This holiday season, very generous True Loves will pay more than ever before Ð $78,100 -- for all 364 items, up from $75,122 in 2006. This 4 percent increase is about even with last year's 3.5 percent increase.
You can, believe it or not, get a historical look at PNC's Index.
As for me, my true love does not need to buy me 5 golden rings, doves of any kind or even drummers or milkers. All I need is cash. Send me the $19,507 is cold hard cash. You may need to rent a Brinks truck, but that's fine with me.
Makes you stop and think, doesn't it? What is Christmas truly about, anyway?
After all, nothing says "I love you," like putting a price tag on gifts from the heart, and isn't that what we are all somewhat guilty of this time of year?
And I am not sure about doves, maids or drummers, but I do know that the greatest gift ever given isn't even mentioned in that song. The Baby born in the manger who came into a dark world to show us the light.
I wonder if PNC could calculate that price tag....
Trish would love to hear from you at www.trishberg.com, or e-mail trishberg @ trishberg.com.