NEW YORK (MainStreet) — PNC Wealth Management has released its annual calculation of the Christmas Price Index to indicate that the Yuletide trappings are only smidge more expensive this year compared to last.

The Christmas Price Index, which was introduced in 1984, calculates just how much it would cost to buy all the gifts identified in "The 12 Days of Christmas" song. It is similar to the federal Consumer Price Index, which measures changes in prices of goods and services like housing, food, clothing, transportation and others that reflect the spending habits of the average American.

This year the cost to purchase each of the gifts in the song "The 12 Days of Christmas" is $27,673.21, a mere $280.04, or 1%, increase over last year's total cost of $27,393.17.

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The 2014 Index is 118% higher than the initial 1984 index. Jim Dunigan, PNC Wealth management’s Chief Investment Officer, points out that “[w]hile there are exceptions in given years, what’s most interesting about the index’s history is that since the beginning, year-over-year increases have averaged 2.8%, which is exactly the same number as the U.S. inflation index.”

While the 2014 cost of most items remained the same as 2013, the price of many of the animals on the list increased substantially. Laying geese cost 71.4% more! The partridge is up 33.3% and the French hens are up 10%. Although the cost of a swan remained the same, it is still the most expensive item on the list at $1,000 each. The dancing lady comes in second, at $839.20 each.

The only other increase on the list involves the leaping lords, whose union was able to get their members a 2% increase.

There was no increase in the federal minimum wage this year, so the eight maids-a-milking, considered unskilled labor, did not get a pay raise.

As part of its annual tradition, PNC Wealth Management also tabulates the "True Cost of Christmas," which is the total cost of items gifted by a True Love who repeats all of the song's verses. This holiday season, very generous True Loves have to fork over $116,273.06 for all 364 gifts, a 1.4% increase over last year.

True Loves who prefer the convenience of shopping online will pay a total of $42,959.07 this year, a whopping $15,285.86 more than shopping “in person,” and an increase of $3,196.46, or 8%, over 2013. Delivering live animals is expensive.

The PNC CPI’s sources include retailers, the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, and the Philadelphia-based PHILADANCO and the Pennsylvania Ballet Company.

--Written by Robert Flach for MainStreet

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