The Economics of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" Song

Buying all those Presents is for the Birds!

The Economics of
December 7, 2015

Here's a quick Christmas Quiz: In the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas", how many golden rings does the singer get from her true love? If you said "five", think again. Yes, the lyrics to this popular Yuletide chestnut mention "Five golden rings", but the lover gives them this famous fist-full of jewelry eight times. Therefore, the correct answer is 5 times 8 or 40.

Now, a more difficult question: Just how expensive are all of the gifts listed in this song? Since 1984, the PNC Wealth Management group has been compiling the tongue-in-cheek Christmas Price Index, which details the actual cost of all of these presents. The 364 presents named would cost you $155,407.18. (Gift wrapping extra.) Here is last year's total, when swans were priced a lot cheaper.

Since this is the season of giving, we hope you give this infographic to your family and friends. Now the most difficult question of all: Who would want eight maids-a-milking for Christmas?

  Conversation   |   14 Comments

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Carla | 12.07.15 @ 21:01
I dont spend anywhere near that much on anyones Christmas. That would break the bank.
Kbrawdy | 12.07.15 @ 21:02
I heard this on the radio the other day! I honestly was surprised that it was so much.. But I guess in a way it shouldn't be. It's the holidays though so..
STOKES | 12.07.15 @ 21:02
Note to self: do not use this song as inspiration for gift-giving. I think I'll stick to gift cards.
Erin | 12.07.15 @ 21:03
What a fun infographic! I'm definitely not spending that much on my gift-giving this year. lol
Kamie | 12.07.15 @ 21:05
Haha! I never saw a break down like this.. Yup, the way I spend it makes me look cheap.
Jane | 12.07.15 @ 21:05
This is interesting. Back when this was written, it would have still cost a bundle!
Heather | 12.07.15 @ 21:07
That is hilarious to think about what the total cost would be for everything mentioned in that song. Thank goodness none of those are on my shopping list. I would never be able to afford it.
Crystal | 12.07.15 @ 21:08
Oh my gosh, I love this! Who knew birds were so expensive? And where can I hire a leaping lord? That seems like a fitting gift for a few dancer in the family. Thanks for posting this. It brought a smile to my face!
Jonathan | 12.07.15 @ 21:08
This was neat lil infographic, thanks for posting it!
Nancy | 12.07.15 @ 21:09
I love these breakdowns. It is a lot of fun to see how much this is actually work.
joann | 12.07.15 @ 21:09
I wish I could afford that cost. But alas I set a budget and stick to it within fifty dollars. That cost would support me for at least 6 years quite comfortably in my little apartment.
Sara | 12.07.15 @ 21:09
Note to self never buy from the 12 days of Christmas... lol... Anyways that is a lot more than I figured those items would be.
Christina | 12.07.15 @ 21:14
Oh wow!!! I don't spend anything near that amount on Christmas. Love seeing how this is broken down, and the song.
irene | 12.08.15 @ 11:05
I don't know where you shop but I find it a little hard to believe that 7 swans would cost 13 million dollars while 8 maids are 58 bucks? Who made up these prices?
$commenter.renderDisplayableName() | 01.21.21 @ 10:50