$101,119. That’s how much it would cost you to receive every item mentioned in the Christmas carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” according to the annual Christmas Price Index compiled by PNC Wealth Management. It’s the first time the price of the 364 items listed has exceeded $100,000.
All told, $101,119 will get you:
2 drummers drumming, 22 pipers piping, 30 lords-a-leaping, 36 ladies dancing, 40 maids-a-milking, 42 swans-a-swimming, 42 geese-a-laying, 40 gold rings, 36 calling birds, 30 French hens, 22 turtle doves, and 12 partridges in pear trees
Not having that kind of money, let alone enough to pay for the care of 184 birds, I’ve put together “the 12 days of Christmas on the cheap.” Some items are free and I’ve dispensed with the notion of having 2 of this or 9 of that. Some items diverge a bit from their original descriptions in the song but for no more than $12.99, one can’t be overly choosy, no?
1st Day: A Partridge in a Pear Tree
Image by hflournoy1
Forget about the partridge, but how about just one nice pear? One organic bosc one will cost about $1.32.
2nd Day: Two Turtledoves
Image by audreyjm529
With all apologies to turtledoves, you can find out (for free, provided you can get on the internet) about a certain box turtle, Lionel, who went missing from the Bronx Zoo on December 1. The Twitter feed about Lionel’s fictitious adventures recalls those set up earlier this year about a cobra that escaped from the Bronx Zoo and a baboon that seems to have gotten out of a safari park in New Jersey. Lionel has not been getting much attention at all though he has been missing for over a week and, as a box turtle does best when the temperature is above 60 degrees, the 37 to 63 degree weather and New York city traffic are probably not the best environment for him. Please send positive thoughts that Lionel can be found and not be a lone box turtle in the big city.
3rd Day: Three French Hens
Image by katerha
For $2.50, you can get a 5-count package of yellow marshmallow Peeps. Not quite the same as French hens but not so difficult to care for (though your fingers may get sticky).
Should you wish to spend a bit more on actual birds, $20 will enable you to give the gift of a flock of chicks.
4th Day: Four Calling Birds
Image by myspaceshipisoncruise
For 75 cents, one warbling bird whistle can be yours to “call” some attention to yourself. Or, you can get four for $3, so you can have four calling bird (whistles).
5th Day: Five Golden Rings
Image by hermanturnip
I admit, a bag of Cracker Jack is not organic, has too much sugar and is not good for you. But it is the holidays and every 99 cent bag does contain a prize and if Paul could give Holly Golightly a Crackerjack box ring, it must have the sentimental value of a golden ring or two.
6th Day: Six Geese A-laying
Image by love_yellow
A golden egg would exceed the budget for these 12 days of Christmas, but a dozen cage-free eggs brown eggs cost $2.99 — so figure about 25 cents per egg.
Or, if you have $20, you can give a family a flock of geese that will lay 75 eggs a year.
7th Day: Seven Swans A-swimming
Image by the author
In many parts of the world (here in New Jersey, for instance), it’s not the time of year to swim outside, but a walk along the ocean (provided you don’t find yourself at some part of the beach where there’s only “private beach access”) is yours for nothing.
8th Day: Eight Maids A-milking
Image by bratha
A half-gallon of organic milk currently costs an average of $3.77. Not cheap, as my late grandfather would say with a frown, recalling how, for a dime (or maybe just a nickel) he could go to the Milk Bar in Vacaville between Sacramento and Oakland and get a nice cold glass of milk.
Memories aside, the $3.77 for the half-gallon makes this 12 Days of Christmas item the most costly.
9th Day: Nine Ladies Dancing
Image by SILBECL
So long as you have some music (even just some music playing in your head) and a reasonably big space, go for it and dance! The cost is a grand total of zero dollars.
10th Day: Ten Lords A-leaping
Image by Mr 胡 S
Just as with spending zero dollars on dancing ladies of any number, why spend anything on “leaping lords” when you can do the jumping yourself?
11th Day: Eleven Pipers Piping
Image by laika_one
The basic kazoo can be had for 99 cents. (If you really must have eleven to have the equivalent of the piping pipers, you’ll quickly use up $10.89 of your allotted $12.99.)
12th Day: Drummers Drumming
Image by foodiesathome.com
You very likely already have the materials for a properly good, and loud, drumming session in your kitchen cabinets. Just grab a pot or pan. If you’d like drumsticks, those flimsy wooden chopsticks that came with your last Chinese takeout will do the trick nicely.
Image by Rob Gruhl
If you’re careful about how you go about procuring your 12 day of Christmas items, the list above adds up to less than $12.99 (if you only get one bird whistle and only one brown egg).
Are you planning to give any creative, homemade gifts this year?
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Photo by scottfeldstein