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The Real Meaning of The 12 Days of Christmas

The Real Meaning of The 12 Days of Christmas

I’ve never wanted a partridge in a pear tree, two turtle doves, or three French hens. In fact, I’ve never even wanted one French hen. I’ve certainly never wanted six geese a-laying or nine ladies dancing. However, I do have to admit…it would be a pleasant surprise to wake up to eleven pipers piping!

You might be asking why I’m writing about The 12 Days of Christmas on, well, Christmas? Even for the last-minute shopper, day-of is cutting it beyond close to start in on this hefty of a shopping list! Well, despite popular belief, The 12 Days of Christmas begins on Christmas Day — not December 13. Yep, The 12 Days of Christmas has roots in medieval traditions and Christianity with the 12th day falling on January 5, the day before Christ’s manifestation in human form on January 6. Deep, huh? Regardless, today its history is less significant than as a symbol to so many of the season. A holiday favorite, everyone from John Denver and the Muppets to Janice Dickinson have made The 12 Days of Christmas their own.

Who knew the 12 Days could also serve as an economic indicator?  According to the PNC Christmas Price Index, which has been calculating the total cost of the gifts of the 12 Days since 1984 ($12,673), check out a quick breakdown of what one could expect to pay this year:

  • Partridge in a pear tree: $159.99 (down 27.3% from last year)
  • Two turtle doves: $55.98 a pair (up 1.8%)
  • Three French hens: $45 (up 50%)
  • Four calling birds: $599.96 (no change)
  • Five golden rings: $499.95 (up 42.9%)
  • Six geese a-laying: $150 (down 37.5%)
  • Seven swans a-swimming: $5,250 (down 6.3%)
  • Eight maid’s a-milking: $7.25 an hour, total of $58 (up 10.7%)
  • Nine ladies dancing: $5,473.07 (up 15%)
  • Ten lords a-leaping: $4,413.61 (no change)
  • Eleven pipers piping: $2,284.80 (no change)
  • Twelve drummers drumming: $2,475.20 (no change)

Added up, we’re talking a staggering $21,465 with tax and fees, representing a 1.8% increase from last year. Or enough to buy 103 pipers piping! Seriously, the good thing about the holiday season is that it’s a time to be thankful for everything and everyone you have in your life, so remember it truly is the thought—not the amount spent—that counts.  But if anyone has some pipers they want to get off their hands, you know where to find me!

Posted by Justin