12 Days of Christmas

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by HerHubby, Nov 28, 2006.

  1. HerHubby

    HerHubby The SF Poet Laureate
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    NOTE: Figures below do NOT include the cost of Christmas trees made out of ladies panties at a certain Virginia college! :lol


    Cost of Christmas: $18,920

    The price of the partridge, the pear tree and the rest of the '12 Days' goodies is up 3.1% this year, thanks to rising labor costs.

    By MSN Money staff
    If Christmas feels a bit more expensive this year, you can blame it on the pear tree -- as well as the lords a-leaping, the ladies dancing and the drummers drumming.

    The annual PNC Christmas Price Index, based on the cost of the items in "The 12 Days of Christmas," rose 3.1% this year, with the sharpest increase coming from the 44% jump in pear tree prices.

    "Robust commercial construction is sparking landscapers' demand for ornamental trees, such as the species of pear used in the survey," said Jeff Kleintop, chief investment strategist for PNC Wealth Management, which creates the annual survey.

    But it was low unemployment -- and, consequently, higher labor costs -- that really put the bite in the holidays this year.

    "The Christmas Price Index reflects trends in the broader economy," said Kleintop. "After years of stagnation, wages for skilled workers, including the song's dancers and musicians, have increased as the labor market has tightened. Also, a decline in the housing market has dampened demand for luxury goods, such as gold rings."According to the 22nd annual survey, the cost of "The 12 Days of Christmas" is $18,920 in 2006, compared with $18,349 in 2005.

    Gift prices mirrored the U.S. government's Consumer Price Index -- a widely used measure of inflation calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Labor costs for dancers, drummers
    The largest dollar increase this year came from rising labor costs, which exceeded the rate of inflation for the first time in years.

    According to Philadanco, the Philadelphia Dance Company, the cost of nine ladies dancing was $4,759, 4% more than in 2006. The women's wage increase outstripped those of their performing peers: The cost of lords a-leaping rose 3%, while the musicians -- the drummers drumming and the pipers piping -- earned 3.4% more than in 2005.


    Maids a-milking, who are paid the minimum wage, were the only service providers not to see an increase this year. The federal minimum wage has been set at $5.15 per hour since 1997. Inflation since 1996 has steadily eroded the purchasing power of the hourly minimum, which would be worth $4.04 in 1996 dollars.

    For the birds: Flat prices
    The price of the partridge (as well as that of turtle doves, French hens, geese and swans) was flat this year, according to The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, as the cost of fuel to ship the birds leveled off. The avian exception was calling birds, which were purchased at a national pet store chain and increased 20%.

    Gold rings also stayed constant this year despite a cost increase in the raw material -- gold -- because of softening demand for luxury goods.

    "A slowing residential real estate market is making people feel less wealthy this year," said Kleintop.

    "Investors have been buying gold as an inflation hedge and prices per ounce remain much higher than last year," he added. "This may put pressure on profit margins at retail jewelers, who have not been able to pass along the increased cost to consumers."

    As part of its annual tradition, PNC Wealth Management also tabulates the "True Cost 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 -- $75,122 -- for all 364 items, up from $72,608 in 2005. This 3.5% increase is substantially less than last year's 9.5% increase. Kleintop observed that Christmas Price Index inflation may reflect trends that led the Federal Reserve to pause interest rate hikes this year.

    PNC Christmas Price Index Item 2005 2006 % change
    One partridge
    2005 $15
    2006$15
    Increase flat

    Pear tree
    2005 $89.99
    2006 $129.99
    Increase 44.40%

    Two turtle doves
    2005 $40
    2006 $40
    Increase flat

    Three French hens
    2005 $45
    2006 $45
    Increase flat

    Four calling birds
    2005 $399.96
    2006 $479.96
    Increase 20.00%

    Five gold rings
    2005 $325
    2006 $325
    Increase flat

    Six geese a-laying
    2005 $300
    2006 $300
    Increase flat

    Seven swans a-swimming
    2005 $4,200
    2006 $4,200
    Increase flat

    Eight maids a-milking
    2005 $41.20
    2006 $41.20
    Increase flat

    Nine ladies dancing
    2005 $4,576.14
    2006 $4,759.19
    Increase 4.00%

    10 lords a-leaping
    2005 $4,039.08
    2006 $4,160.25
    Increase 3.00%

    11 pipers piping
    2005 $2,053.20
    2006 $2,124
    Increase 3.40%

    12 drummers drumming
    2005 $2,224.30
    2006 $2,301
    Increase 3.40%

    Total Christmas Price Index
    2005 $18,348.87
    2006 $18,920.59
    Increase 3.10%





    data provided by Morningstar, Inc. © 2005. All rights reserved.
    StockScouter data provided by Gradient Analytics, Inc.
    Quotes supplied by Comstock, an Interactive Data company.
    MSN Money's editorial goal is to provide a forum for personal finance and investment ideas. Our articles, columns, message board posts and other features should not be construed as investment advice, nor does their appearance imply an endorsement by Microsoft of any specific security or trading strategy. An investor's best course of action must be based on individual circumstances.
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  2. Puss_in_boots

    Puss_in_boots Adminatrix
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    Hey! How come the milk maids are so cheap compared to the rest of the human characters in the song??
     
  3. HerHubby

    HerHubby The SF Poet Laureate
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    They just make minimum wage and haven't had an increase. The others probably get union scale, ha, ha! MILKMAIDS UNITE!!!
     
  4. Puss_in_boots

    Puss_in_boots Adminatrix
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    I don't know who this is, just some starlet at a Hollywood Halloween party, but this is the Swedish milkmaid costume I want:

    [​IMG]
     
  5. HerHubby

    HerHubby The SF Poet Laureate
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    OH YEAH!!! Gotta get that and show us a picture of you in it!! ;>
     
  6. pirouette

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    I have a few of those. :) The blouses are white, the Wescotts (sp?) are black and the trim is green and gold. They are a lot of fun:lol