An index for the 99%: 12 items of Christmas with the family will cost you $79.81

The Consumerist reports on an annual holiday tradition from PNC Financial:

According to the folks at PNC Financial, who have spent decades tracking the ups and downs of the gifts rattled off in the seemingly endless tune, the total cost of realizing the full “12 Days of Christmas” has crossed the $100,000 mark for the first time, coming in at a total of $101,119.84. …

The single most expensive item on the list is the seven swans a-swimming at $6,300, followed very closely by the $6,294.03 you’d have to pay for the nine ladies dancing.

The cheapest item on the list are the eight maids a-milking, which somehow only costs $58. The partridge actually costs less at $15, but it has to come with the pear tree, which adds another $169.99 to the cost.

Keep in mind that even the least expensive item would need to be purchased several times over to fulfill the 12 Days bonanza.

Don’t have $101,000 sitting around? Then for only $24,263.18 you can get one of each item on the list.

OK, that’s fun and all, but the song itself can get tiresome long before the 12 days of Christmas even begin. And who really needs or wants to give any of that stuff? Turtle doves and French hens?

Not to mention that $101,119.84 is way beyond the annual Christmas budget of 99 percent of us. Heck, that’s way beyond the total annual budget for 99 percent of us.

Happily, Robert Earl Keen provides us with an alternative.

Keen’s song “Merry Christmas From the Family” (lyrics here) tells the story of a raucous American holiday — something most of us can relate to more easily than we can to lords-a-leaping and 40 golden rings.

In Keen’s tale, one of the few family members still OK to drive is constantly being sent out to pick up a string of items at whatever gas-station convenience store might still be open late at night on Christmas Eve. And in a neat parallel to “The 12 Days of Christmas,” the shopping list in “Merry Christmas from the Family” consists of precisely 12 items.

YouTube Preview Image

So with all due respect to the Christmas cheer of PNC Financial’s annual index, I think I prefer Keen’s song and his index — a Christmas index for the 99 percent.

And I’m happy to report that this index won’t set you back $101,000. This one will only cost you $79.81.

The full list of items:

  • ice ($2.19 a bag)
  • extension cord ($16.95)
  • can of bean dip ($1.99)
  • Diet Rites ($5.29/12 pack)
  • box of Pampers (big box, $24.99)
  • Marlboro Lights ($6.21)
  • celery ($1.99)
  • can of fake snow ($2.04)
  • bag of lemons ($2.99)
  • Diet Sprites ($5.29/12 pack)
  • box of tampons ($3.49)
  • Salem Lights ($6.39)

Whenever possible, I priced these at gas station convenience stores and 7-Elevens here in Chester County, Pa. That means sales tax on the extension cord, soda, fake snow and cigarettes. Diet Rite was impossible to find (do they still make that?), so I substituted a 12-pack of Tab.

 

  • hapax

    so I substituted a 12-pack of Tab.

    Tab?  REAL Tab?  Like the disgusting tinny-tasting diet cola Tab, that made you feel virtuous and skinny just by your ability to choke it down, not the ghastly pretentious Nu!Tab energy drink?

    That’s it, kids.  We’re moving to Pennsylvania.

  • Anonymous

    Fred, you’re the best.

  • Lori

    Like hapax, I’m stunned you could find Tab at your local convenience store. I haven’t seen that stuff in years. Unlike hapax I do not consider your ability to pick up Tab at the local Gas ‘N Go to be an incentive to move to Pennsylvania. 

    As for the Diet Rite, yes they still make it. I don’t know about the local convenience stores, but both Wal-Mart and Meijer in town carry it. 

  • http://twitter.com/merusdraconis Matt Cramp

    I’m sure the video says ‘tampons’ instead of ‘Pampers’.

  • Lori

    The video version has tampons twice*, but IIRC the album version has Pampers the first time and tampons the second, like it is on the sheet music. 

    *Bad day no matter how that happened. My sympathies to all concerned. 

  • Anonymous

    Another one for the WTH did you find Tab crowd. I’m not certain I’ve EVER actually seen Tab in person.

    Diet Rite however, it pretty easy to come by around here

  • http://profiles.google.com/gottlieb.paul Paul Gottlieb

    One of my favorites, a lovely song about family love and a true holiday spirit. And who doesn’t love Bloody Marys?

  • Murfyn

    I often read Fred’s stuff here at Slacktivist, I greatly respect his knowledge and writing skills and his ability to be funny and honest and like that . . . but that video wasn’t good music. Or good poetry.

    Here is Redneck 12 Days:  http://youtu.be/VJOe3CXE-mA
    And here is Allan Sherman’s 12 Days:  http://youtu.be/7qoClBsZSTM

    OK, not everyone likes Foxworthy’s schtick, and the Sherman is from like 50 years ago, but they are both better than that video up there.

  • FangsFirst

    Believe I have indeed seen Tab showing up again, possibly only on television as I recall only derision poured on it (being too young to have been around for its initial appearance) so I have never looked for or touched the stuff. Though if I were at some event and some were there for free, I might try it just for the sheer novelty.

    Then again, I tried root beer after years of not liking and not drinking it and was only reminded that, yes, I really do not like it. At all. It was followed by trying two new fruits. that I hated. I blame elementary school for the long period before I would open my mind to new food possibilities.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve had Tab before…That stuff is nasty. >.>

  • Lori

    It really is. I’m convinced that all those stories about the sweetener being bad for you were less because of studies done on lab rats and more because Tab tastes like it would give you cancer. 

    And yet, I know people who loved it. To each their own. 

  • Emcee, cubed

    That means sales tax on the extension cord, soda, fake snow and cigarettes.

    This stuck with me, because I lived in PA for over 40 years, and this makes sense. I now live in NV. We have tax on clothing, but soda isn’t taxable. This…does not make sense to me. At all.

  • Technomad

    Personally, I am long since sick of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” as well as some other holiday staples.  “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” comes to mind (as do all Santa-related songs; I am Highly Not Fond of the Jolly Old Elf) and that stupid Chipmunk song.  The Chipmunks were funny…once.  Hearing the Chipmunk Christmas song four times in an hour makes me want to slowly strangle Simon, Theodore and especially Alvin.

  • Grey Seer

     And on the 12th day of Christmas, Grey Seer, having been driven into a homocidal rage by the constant looping soundtrack at his workplace, did merrily slaughter everyone in sight and make wonderful decorations out of their dripping intestines.

     (Seriously. Last year, the soundtrack had that damn song at least once every five minutes, with the special kind of audio distortion that can only come from really cheap equipment.)

  • Morgan

    A grousing session about the Twelve Days of Christmas, yet I’m the first to link Christmas Countdown (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQkF7fpw-wI)? How can this be?

  • Guest

    Well, for myself, I’ve got to bring up this twisted a cappella version of “12 Days,” complete with ending to the tune of Toto’s “Africa.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Fe11OlMiz8

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Uh…what’s Tab?

  • Anonymous

    Something that, when a billboard for same is seen in a Supernatural episode, provides an obvious cue that the setting of the episode is the early 1970s. Other than that, you got me.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Was about to do just that! Hilarious :)

  • http://guy-who-reads.blogspot.com/ Mike Timonin

    Tab was/is a diet soda designed to be, I guess, semi-cola like (I don’t know, I never drank the stuff). It was big in the late ’70s and ’80s – hence the Tab joke in Back to the Future. It comes in a red can. Apparently it was marketed by the Coca Cola company. You can buy it on Amazon – a 24 pack will run you $23 US, plus shipping, handling, and tax where applicable.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    Tab appears in America the Book which claims that the last remaining Tab vending machine is in the room in the White House where cabinet meetings take place.  As I recall at least, it’s been quite a while since I had a look at America the Book.

  • Anonymous

    I am so glad my credit union doesn’t waste money having its employees conduct such frivolous “research”.

  • Anonymous

    Straight No Chaser is one of my Christmas traditions.  :-D

  • hapax

    It really is. I’m convinced that all those stories about the sweetener
    being bad for you were less because of studies done on lab rats and more
    because Tab tastes like it would give you cancer.

    Those of us who love it did so because it was nasty.  It was like the aching muscles after a really good workout — it really made me feel virtuous, just by drinking it.

    (Also, it did make me eat less, because everything tastes nasty when my mouth is full of that bitter metallic aftertaste.)

    Diet Coke just isn’t the same.  It tastes like carbonated cupcake frosting. 

    *****

    I’m sorry, Fred.  This has got to be the most self-indulgent derail ever of a post about economic injustice.

  • Anonymous

    I was wondering if someone, somewhere had done the math on the redneck 12 days of Christmas items. I Googled and it doesn’t seem like it. Maybe I’ll have to. :D

  • Rowen

    Ugh. I see stuff like this and think “research fail.” It’s “colly” not calling, hence four black birds. And the golden rings refer to the rings around the neck of birds like a pheasant, thus keeping the whole “fowl” theme that goes for the first 7 days.

  • Jenora Feuer

    Could be worse.  Here (Ontario) if you buy a single soda/muffin/whatever, it’s a food item, and has sales tax.  If you buy a six-pack of soda/muffin/etc., it’s a grocery item, and does not have sales tax.  The idea is supposed to be that restaurants charge tax but grocery stores don’t, but the actual way the rules work leads to all sorts of odd consequences…

  • Lori

     I was wondering if someone, somewhere had done the math on the redneck 12 days of Christmas items. I Googled and it doesn’t seem like it. Maybe I’ll have to. :D  

    One of our Canadian slacktivites needs to do the Bob & Doug McKenzie version. What is 4 pounds of back bacon running these days? 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32CwrOZVobo&feature=related

  • rizzo

    Ah come on Lori, you beat me to it!  Don’t have to be Canadian to enjoy it either, just have to enjoy beer…in a tree…

  • Lori

    Honestly, that’s the only version of 12 Days that I can stand any more. It’s saved not only by the beer…in a tree and the 3 French toasts, but by the fact that they get confused and skip a large chunk of the boring middle. 

  • Anonymous

    I can still get Diet Rite at the local Harris Teeter.  But I live in the South, and RC is a very southern brand.  When we visited Kentucky, that was the only soda you could get in most of the restaurants.

  • Anonymous

    I can still get Diet Rite at the local Harris Teeter.  But I live in the
    South, and RC is a very southern brand.  When we visited Kentucky, that
    was the only soda you could get in most of the restaurants.

    When and where was this?  ‘Cause in the Bluegrass (from Lexington to Ashland, from London to Louisville) most every restaurant at least serves Coke and Coke products, if not Pepsi.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Oddly enough, Saccharine is a major ingredient in Li Hing powder and manages to be crazy delicious in that. Not in anything else for some reason.

  • EJ

    I don’t see how anyone can dispute that Run DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis” is the one Christmas song that never gets old.  In all seriousness, at this point that’s the only Christmas song that I’m genuinely glad to hear every year.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Jenora Feuer:

    What’s even more Byzantinely arcane about the GST/HST rules is when it comes to deciding what kind of fruit drink is taxable vs nontaxable. (>_<)

  • Anonymous

    Not to mention that $101,119.84 is way beyond the annual Christmas budget of 99 percent of us. Heck, that’s way beyond the total annual budget for 99 percent of us.

    No it isn’t.  100k annual income starts a bit over 90%.  That makes it obviously more than the annual Christmas budget, but within the realm of ‘annual budget’.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    1. Tab. Seems to be I found it quite recently in grocery stores here in Boulder. The problem is, it’s not the Tab I grew up with and acquired a taste for. I grew up with Tab that was sweetened with saccharine (and came with the cancer warning that prompted us to joke how that yes, if you feed a rat 50 times its weight in saccharine, things will probably go quite badly). The Tab I picked up a few years ago had both saccharine AND Nutrasweet, thus making it undrinkable (for me). *deep sigh*

    2. 12 Days. Mostly loved the Twisted 12 Days With the Toto Ending, (especially the Carol of the Bells mash-up! Whee!) but A. would have liked even better to hear that group actually cover “Africa”, and B. the “Dreidl” bit was Not Funny.

    I mean, in general, “one of these things is humorously not like the other” can be funny. But all I could think during this song was, “Man, ostracizing Jews is effin’ hiLARIous, amirite?” Maybe I’ll be able to find it funny when the last news story about some poor Jewish kid getting bullied by their “Christian” classmates, or some Jewish family getting driven out of town by their “Christian” neighbors, HERE IN THE U.S., is more than a decade old.

    Until then, no, I’m afraid having the whole chorus stop in silence until the dude who sang Dreidl says “Sorry” is just not hitting my funny bone.

    3. On the other hand, there’s always the 12 Yats of Christmas by Bennie Grunch an’ da Bunch. (Bonus: a use of “ya momma” that isn’t an insult!) (Also, do not ask me why the dude is yanking on a fishing pole to demonstrate catching a crawfish. Maybe crawfish nets aren’t nearly as dramatic.)


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