Cost of Christmas risesUS index shows traditional gifts cost 9.2% more

30 November 2010

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An American bank has tracked the cost of Christmas, as measured by gifts listed in the song, 'The 12 Days of Christmas' for the past 27 years. The 2010 figure is $23,439, a rise of 9.2% on last year.  

Rising Christmas prices

The PNC Christmas Price Index is a bit of seasonal fun, which looks at the cost of partridges, pear trees, turtle doves, French hens, calling birds, gold rings, geese and swans - but it illustrates the underlying fact that Christmas gifts are more expensive this year than they were in 2009. 

In the UK, the main measure of rising prices is the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), which currently shows a 3.2% increase over the year. The long-established Retail Prices Index (RPI) is at 4.5%. These both measure the price changes in of a notional basket of goods over a 12 month period. They show the UK's current rate of inflation. The main price rises have come from petrol and diesel, games, toys and hobbies. Food prices have remained static or fallen over the same period. 

In the Christmas index, French hens and gold rings are significantly more expensive in 2010. The price of gold has risen relentlessly over the period, so this is hardly surprising.  

Frugal festivities   

Most Christmas presents are less lavish than the accumulated 78 gifts recorded in the traditional song, but seasonal spending is still a big cost for many families. 

At a time of financial anxiety, cutting the cost of Christmas is a sensible aim, particularly if you can do so without becoming Ebenezer Scrooge. Our Which? money experts have plenty of helpful tips to help you save this season, including 10 ways to save on Christmas. We also have a number of guides to Christmas gifts for 2010 and one on Christmas gifts to avoid.   

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