"Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:15).
If taken literally, giving the gifts of the famed holiday song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, would cost you a fortune--and much more this year (2012) than last!
The cost of buying all 364 items repeated throughout the timeless holiday carol has gone up 6.1 percent since last year, according to the annual Christmas Price Index compiled by PNC Wealth Management. And the new retail cost of $107,300 really hurts in the biggest U.S. cities [Chicago, Los Angeles, New York], where state and local sales tax adds on as much as 9.5 percent. …
Thrifty shoppers may find some reasons for cheer. Six items mentioned in the song haven't gone up in price: maids-a-milking, ladies dancing, lords-a-leaping, calling birds, turtle doves and the partridge. The eight maids-a-milking still cost just $58.
Twelve drummers drumming ($2,775.50) and eleven pipers piping ($2,562) might also be considered relative bargains compared to seven swans, which will set you back $7,000. Nine ladies dancing will cost you $6,294.03.
Dunigan said the 2011 drought caused the prices of some birds to soar, partly because of corn and other feed costs.
"The geese were up 29.6 percent, and swans were up 11 percent," said Jim Dunigan, managing executive of investments for PNC, adding that none of the gifts in the song went down in price this year.
The price of a pear tree is $189.99, an 11.8 percent jump from last year's $169.99. Five gold rings jumped 16.3 percent this year, to $750, and three French hens are now $165, instead of $150.
The $15 partridge is the cheapest item, and swans the most expensive, at $1,000 each.
Last-minute shoppers who turn to the Internet, possibly in a bid to dodge sales tax, will pay a bit more for the gifts. Buying one set of the core items in each verse costs $24,431 in traditional stores this year, but $40,440 online. Part of that difference is the extra expense of shipping live birds, Dunigan said, adding that Internet costs rose 1.5 percent compared to last year.
Wise gift givers this year (and every year!) might do well to forgo the partridges, gold rings, and swans in favor of sharing the one gift of greatest value ... the message of salvation by grace alone through faith in the Child of Christmas ... the Lord Jesus Christ. Cost to you ... nothing. Cost to Christ ... everything. Value ... priceless!