How Much Would the 12 Days of Christmas Cost?
The Twelve Days of Christmas are officially, according to the traditional Christian calendar, the twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany on January 6th. Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night takes its name from the then contemporary Twelfth Night celebrations and festivities, which the play honors and continues. Written in 1780, it's still one of the most beloved and well recorded songs, with traditional versions from Frank Sinatra to Sara Evans, and comedic versions coming from The Muppets, Jeff Foxworthy, Bob & Doug McKenzie, and more.
But it's almost 240 years old! It's out of date! So how much, in today's dollars, would the gifts cost? There are two schools of thought on this. One being that you buy each set once. Only one partridge in a pear tree. The other is that you buy each set for how many times it is repeated in the song, so ultimately you'd end up with twelve partridges in pear trees, and likewise only twelve drummers drumming. Either way, it's a lot of money.
The PNC has released their annual Christmas Price Index, which calculates the cost of everything in the song, and breaks it down by cost of the individual items and why it costs so much (or little).
In 2017, to buy each set of gifts only once, you'd rack up a $34,558 credit card bill, up over $200 from 2016. The most expensive gift being the Seven Swans A-Swimming, at $13,125 (swans ain't cheap), while the least expensive gift being the Eight Maids A-Milkin', at just $58, which covers one hour of work for eight employees at federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. If you were to buy all 364 gifts each time the gift is repeated, you'd end up over $150,000 in the hole.
As a non-financial advisor, I recommend skipping the Lords A-Leaping and French Hens, maybe investing the money instead, or buying a new home.