’12 Days Of Christmas’ Cost $107,300


Once again, someone has calculated the cost of all the gifts mentioned in The 12 Days of Christmas:

The verses of the holiday classic “The 12 Days of Christmas” add up to 364 gifts, and if your true love bought them all, they would cost $107,300, a 6.1 percent increase compared with last year’s total. That is also more than double the giver’s bill of nearly $52,000 in 1995, the lowest annual total for the old-fashioned gifts and services.

The cost of the 12 days of cumulative gifts is calculated annually by PNC Wealth Management, part of the PNC Financial Services Group, to come up with an amusing and easily understandable explanation of how the country’s economy is faring.


This year, the prices of the six geese, seven swans and other fowl rose because the country’s drought drove up the price of bird feed.

The five golden rings named in the song’s verses also cost significantly more than a year ago. Higher demand for gold stems from an improving economy, said James P. Dunigan, PNC Wealth Management’s managing executive of investments, who oversees compilation of the index.


The six-figure outlay to accumulate all the gifts is unlikely to faze those with deep pockets, but there is still room for a holiday bargain with the milking maids, ladies dancing and leaping lords as well as with the calling birds, turtle doves and partridge. The eight maids, who are considered unskilled labor, cost $58, still a deal because the minimum wage remained at $7.25 an hour.

Musicians like the 11 pipers and the 12 drummers were a bit more expensive, at $2,562 and $2,775. Each group received a 5.5 percent raise over last year, based on information from music groups and unions. The nine ladies dancing received no raise, remaining at $6,294.

Pushing up the final bill, however, were the geese, which soared by 29.6 percent, to $210 each, up from $162, as corn and other bird feed costs jumped. The seven trumpeter swans could be found for $7,000, up 11.1 percent.

Also up 11.8 percent was the cost of a pear tree, which rose $20, to $189.99, an increase that Mr. Dunigan said reflected a better housing market. In the song, the pear tree is a perch for the partridge, but in contemporary life, it is a tree often used in residential landscaping.

The gold rings this year rose by 16.3 percent, to $750 from $645 last year. The three French hens totaled $165, an increase of 10 percent from last year’s $150.

The partridge is the cheapest item, at $15, and the swans, at $1,000 each, are the most expensive.

Everything’s getting more expensive these days.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. JKB says:

    It’s not matter, most in the country would not be able to keep the gifts due to local zoning restrictions. And if you were, you’d be subject to intrusive government inspection of an agricultural operation or animal zoo/center.

    But showing their ignorance, 8 maids a milking would not be unskilled labor today when few could perform the job. In the past perhaps when every child pretty much learned how to handle cows and milk them.

    Plus, I say it would take at least a couple thousand dollars to get those lords a leaping. Probably need a select fire weapon or several semiautomatics get the gentry moving. Of course, if you get the lord a leaping, you kind of negate the local zoning restrictions, plus no doubt the ladies would be amenable to dancing either in celebration or out of fear of the revolutionaries.

  2. Gustopher says:

    Social Security Cost of Living Adjustments should be based on this.