Christmas Price Index

Since 1986, the PNC Financial Services Group in Pittsburgh has annually calculated the cost of the items listed in the carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas, from “a partridge in a pear tree” to “twelve drummers drumming.” (The research is done by Rebekah McCahan.) The sum is reported as the Christmas Price Index. In 2002, the index stood at $54,951.34, somewhat less than the previous year, due to a fall in the price of swans. In 2020, it was only $16,168.14, because due to the covid-19 pandemic, dancing ladies, lords aleaping, pipers piping and drummers drumming, were unavailable.

The Economist, a well-known weekly magazine, maintains a less fanciful Yuletide price index based on two baskets of prices, one representing the price of Christmas dinner (a 5-kilogram turkey, 200 g of brussel sprouts, 200 g of carrots, a 500 g pudding, 2 bottles of wine and a bottle of Champagne) and the other a basket of toys. It computes the Yuletide Index for London, New York, Paris, Toronto and Frankfurt. The results appear annually in the issue before Christmas.


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