How Much Would the Twelve Days of Christmas Actually Cost?


If you’re stumped for a gift this year and look to your favorite repetitive Christmas song for inspiration, be prepared to shell out a few clams. Going all out and buying your beloved all 78 items from the song will make your bank account about $24,263.18 lighter, up 3.5% from last year.

With only a couple of exceptions, the price of the gifts has increased every year since PNC Bank started calculating the total in 1984. Back in those days, you could have impressed your Secret Santa for just $12,673.56. A partridge in a pear tree would have set you back a mere $32.52.

In case you have to squint too hard to read PNC's graphic, here's the breakdown:

A Partridge in a Pear Tree: $184.99, up 14.2%
Two Turtledoves: $125, up 25%
Three French Hens: $150.96, the same price as last year
Four Calling Birds: $519.00, down 13%
Five Golden Rings: $645, down 0.8%
Six Geese A’Laying, $162, up 8%
Seven Swans A’Swimming: $6,300, up a whopping 12.5%
Eight Maids A’Milking: $58, the same price as last year
Nine Ladies Dancing - $6,294.03, the same price as last year
10 Lords A’Leaping $4,766.70, the same price as last year
11 Pipers Piping - $2,427.60, up 3%
12 Drummers Drumming - $2,629.90, up 3%

The total has been calculated by Rebekah McCahan of PNC Wealth Management every year since 1986. She gets her prices from Pennsylvania-based businesses. In case you’re wondering about the low price of the eight maids, well, they receive minimum wage because they’re considered unskilled workers. At $58, that means the maids are milking for an hour each. The "Calling Birds" are canaries and were priced at PetSmart.

The “True Cost of Christmas” is what it would cost if you bought each item as many time as it appeared in the song, for a total of 364 gifts.

By the way, if you have some time to kill, check out PNC's Christmas Index site - it's quite the production.