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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Last revised: 14 January 2021.