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Just How Much Will 6 Geese-a-Laying Cost You These Days?

Chances are the average Pittsburgher won’t buy six geese-a-laying for a loved one this year. But if you choose to, the price has increased drastically since last year.

PNC Wealth Management has for the the last 31 years calculated the price of the 12 gifts of Christmas from the popular song. The department puts a price tag on the unusual modern-day gifts with help from the National Aviary, pet chains, farms and a national jewelry chain. The sources remain consistent yearly, but like the Consumer Price Index, prices fluctuate due to market or business climate changes.

Chris Jordheim, vice president of PNC wealth management in Pittsburgh said the index and website is a tongue-in-cheek way to teach students and consumers about inflation.

Eight of the 12 gifts had a zero percent change, including the eight maids-a-milking. The maids are the only unskilled service on the list and they represent the stagnant federal minimum wage. Lords-a-leaping and ladies dancing on the other hand are skilled positions and tend to increase. Jordheim said a true love could splurge on entertainment this year. Of the four entertainment options, only lords-a-leaping increased – up two percent.

“The ladies dancing, we actually go out to Philadanco in Philadelphia, which is a dance studio, and price out how much [hiring nine ladies] would cost. Lords-a-leaping is actually from the Pennsylvania ballet company. So we actually go out to national chains and national reference points and get actual prices,” he said.

If you’re going all out, a set of 12 gifts will cost you $27,673; up one percent or $280 from 2013.

“The price of gold for the gold rings, the transportation costs, fuel, things like that have come down. Now grain prices have gone up so it’s impacted the price of some of the live animals,” Jordheim said.

The Christmas index assumes a purchaser would buy all items in person, but if items were bought online, when having to pay for shipping, the price index would increase by 8 percent.

“If you did the repeating, you’re actually buying 364 separate items and that would cost a whopping $116,273. If you’re to do that over the Internet you’re approaching $200,000,” he said. 

While the increase in price is up 1 percent, the overall inflation is up 1.7 percent in 2014. Over the years the tracking has very closely reflected the national CPI index and inflation.

“Although you’d think a very narrow index like this would be off quite a bit. It’s actually a very good indicator and a very close indicator for the economy as a whole,” Jordheim said. 

Sarah Schneider is WESA's education reporter. From early learning to higher education, Sarah is interested in students and educators working to create more equitable systems. Sarah previously worked with news outlets in Pennsylvania, Illinois and Idaho. She is a graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale where she worked for the school newspaper, the Daily Egyptian.