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

An index for the 99%: 12 items of Christmas with the family will cost you $79.81 November 29, 2011

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.

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.


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