For $34K, you can gift 'The 12 Days of Christmas'

On second thoughts, I think I'd prefer a gift card.

In the latest study that usually gets people asking "Why on earth would I buy someone eight maids-a-milking?" the cost of "The 12 Days of Christmas" rose only slightly over the past 12 months.

Every December, the PNC Christmas Price Index releases a festive inflation tracker that it describes as "whimsical," but which we think is downright impractical, by figuring out how much it would cost shoppers to buy someone a gift included in "The 12 Days of Christmas."

This year, buying all 12 things included in the festive song for your true love would set you back $34,363.49, just $232.50 – or 0.7 percent – more than last year.

We're not sure if this takes into account the cost of housing and feeding a partridge, French hens, turtledoves, swans, geese, leaping lords etc., but PNC says the modest rise "reflects slow economic growth."

That said, a bump in wage inflation will make it more costly to hire entertainers – that would be your pipers piping and drummers drumming – whose wages rose 2.8 percent in the past year. Hiring such musical acts would set you back $2,708 and $2,934, respectively.

Good news though, the cost of hiring nine ladies dancing (the second most expensive at $7,552) and 10 lords-a-leaping ($5,508) held steady.

The most expensive thing to hire, unsurprisingly, is the seven swans-a-swimming, which would set you back a hefty $13,125.

Reasonable price for gold rings, partridges

If you're looking for a bargain and almost certainly a wholly inappropriate gift, the price of partridges have fallen $5 over the past year – you can pick one up for $20. A pear tree would set you back $210.

Probably the only realistic gift option for many of us, the five gold rings, cost around $750, which is about the same as last year despite the rise in gold prices since then.

If you're planning on buying any of these, PNC recommends doing it in-store, as the entire index costs around $10,000 less compared to buying online.

Below is a list of known goose, swan, and milk-maid stores in the Twin Cities area:

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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