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TCMPiHow Much Would It Cost to Give the “12 Days of Christmas” This Year?


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Think your corporate gift budget is too high? Try giving all the items in the “12 Days of Christmas” song (adjusted for inflation, naturally).

Whether you think of it in the aggregate (five gold rings multiplied by eight verses equals forty rings total) or verse by verse (just five rings), the cost of gifts in the famous song has gone up since the song first was heard back in the early eighteenth century.

Even given the modest rate of inflation over the past year, prices are a bit out of hand for corporate gift giving purposes. All in all, by the time you work your way through all twelve verses, you’re looking at a total of 364 gifts, many of which would be pretty darn hard to wrap. (How likely is it that twenty-two pipers piping would agree to live inside a gift box until Christmas Eve?)

Starting at the beginning (according to another famous song, “a very good place to start”) a partridge is still relatively inexpensive at around $16. However if you add a decent sized pear tree you’re talking upwards of $160 each. As for turtle doves, well, let’s just say they’re probably a good bet if you’re on a budget this year.

Last year, two other birds didn’t appreciate much in value so French hens and colly (not “calling”; “colly” means “black”) birds will in all likelihood remain fairly competitive in price. Five gold rings, on the other hand, could set you back considerably, especially if you procrastinate and don’t get around to buying until late this year when prices could hit a high of $1900 an ounce. Ouch!

Geese (other than those that lay golden eggs of course) are fairly common fare these days. However, the trend is to free-range and other organically raised birds which can be expected to hike the price a bit.

As for swans, prices range widely depending on which of the eight species you choose. Figure anywhere from $150 each to over $800 each. They all swim.

Maids a milking, ladies dancing and lords a leaping are all fairly low paying endeavors and you should be able to get all the necessary workers for just above minimum wage with no tipping needed. Of course the maids will require cows to milk and we would recommend an Irish Dexter. You can find them online, including eBay.

Piping and drumming are learned skills and talented pipers and drummers can charge top price. Since these are the gifts that appear in the greatest numbers in the song, you’re going to have to fork over a lot of loot. If the quality of the music isn’t all that important, consider hiring some music students from your local middle or high school.

Corporate gift giving has become a big business and if you’ve got lots of clients, business partners and employees on your list this year, you may want to check out some of the services that represent brand name business gifts. They can probably find you perfectly suitable gifts at reasonable prices, but maybe not everything on the “12 Days of Christmas” list.

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