If Christmas shoppers were to buy all of the items listed in the classic holiday tune, “12 Days of Christmas,” they would have to spend over $100,000.
According to a report by PNC Wealth Management, the total cost of the 364 items included in the song has risen to the all-time high price of $101,119.84. Buying just one verse of the carol would cost $24,263 this year.
Remaining the same price were maids-a-milking, ladies dancing, lords-a-leaping, and gold rings, while the verses included items that have seen a 3.9 percent price increase over the last year.
The most expensive items are the seven swans-a-swimming, which would cost $6,300; while the second highest price is the 11 pipers piping, which would set you back $2,427. Also increasingly expensive, the partridges and turtle doves each have seen a double-digit hike in prices in the past year.
PNC has calculated the cost of the items in the song every year since 1984, with the first assessment marking the song at $12,673 that year. 2010 saw a $97,000 price tag. This year, the price mirrors the current economic trend, and will likely rise to some extent every year in the future.
“The 12 Days of Christmas” was first published in England in 1780, and textual evidence indicates it may be of French origin. The earliest music version of the song was recorded in 1842 and published in “The Nursery Rhymes of England.” In the early 20th century, composer Frederic Austin added his melody from “Five gold rings” and onward, which is now the standard version of the song.
The cumulative song describes each gift mounting in grandeur as the lyrics build on one another. “The 12 Days of Christmas” remains under the copyright registered in 1909 under Novello & Co. Limited.
“The 12 Days of Christmas” is often interpreted as a Catechism song where each item stands for Christian doctrines. Although there are no historical or scholarly references to Catholicism, many people believe that the verses actually represent more than what is stated.