Down the Ballot

Friday, December 20, 2013

Sherman Christmas Price Index 2013

PNC Wealth Management released their annual 'True Cost of Christmas' this month and the cost of Christmas went up again! The economy must be doing much better. In 2012 the actual cost had only grown around 6% and this year it is nearly 8%! This is a fun little commodity price index, and I wouldn't read too much into the numbers.

The price comes from getting your 'true love' to purchase everything mentioned in the verse of the 12 Days of Christmas. If you bought items 1-12, all the Lords a Leaping; Pipers Piping, and Maids Milking it would come to $27,393.18. While the 'True Cost', is the cost of buying all the gifts for every verse each day. They add up, buying 5 Golden Rings every day for the last half of the week. The TCOC comes to $114,651.18.

I've always preferred a much simpler Christmas Price Index. One that would be more reasonable for working middle class people to obtain. Who can afford 12 Lords a Leaping that isn't a millionaire? I like the Sherman Christmas Price Index or SCPI. This price index comes from the classic holiday parody done by Allan Sherman.


A note on my very unscientific methodology: I tried the best I could to find items as close to the ones mentioned in the song, and to keep them cheap versions of these products. Even the PNC folks have their own difficulties with the classic version of the song. For instance, different localities have things priced differently. If you were stuck in Arizona, getting the cows for the milking maids will be more expensive than getting them in Wisconsin. 

1st Day: Japanese Transistor Radio:
Now this seemed really easy at first, until you start finding out that in 2013 some of these radios have become collectible. So I went with a search of ebay and found one for
2013: 19.99 ( 2011: $20.00) Wow a whole cent in savings!

2nd Day: Green Poka-Dot Pajamas:
There were many...many different kinds of sleepware that came in Green Poka-dots. Mostly for women.
 2013: $20.00 (2011: $24.99)

3rd Day Calendar from my Insurance Agent:
The 2011 consensus remains:  This one I'll say free. I know, I know what about the cost of the insurance plan? Well what? Agents give these things away to anyone. I'll stand by FREE. It also saves me time from having to pick an insurance plan.

2013: Free (2011: Free)

4th Day Simulated Alligator Wallet:
This one didn't change. I guess these wallets are as popular as ever. Found one on Amazon for $9.99.

2013 $9.99 (2011: $9.99)

5th Day Statue of a lady, with a clock where her stomach ought to be: Couldn't find the one from 2011 here, so I decided that a clock in any persons stomach regardless of gender, would meet the requirement from the song. The clock has to be in the stomach of a person, not a bear, cat, dog or dragon. Found a 'Fat Chef' with clock in the stomach on amazon.

2013: $59.79 (on sale from $129.99) (2011: $54.00)

6th Day aluminum nutcracker:
Nutcrackers have gotten really cheap.
The same squirrel nutcracker is now only $13.22 in 2013
in 2011 a squirrel aluminum nutcracker was $29.99.

7th Day pink satin pillow with fringe all around it:
Looking around, I was able to find one for 2013 $25.00, which is about the same price from 2011.

8th Day Plastic Birdbath:
For that garden lover in your family. 2013 the price seems to have gone up for one of these, I guess I must have used a really cheap one in 2011.

2013: $76.95  (2011: $19.99)

9th Day Pair of Teakwood Shower Clogs:
Found a used pair on ebay for 2013 $8.99, which is about the same from 2011.

10th Day Chromium manicure scissors and lighter:
As with the 2011 observation, scissors run about $10.00 or even cheaper, a good lighter can go for about $20.00. Again there is a collector market involved so I am sure there are even more expensive ones out there.

11th Day Automatic Vegetable Slicer:
In the song this item works on tv, but not when you get it home. I found one of the "As Seen on TV' brand ones for $42.00. These folks sure know how to move product. Found the same one in 2013.

12th Day

2013 SCPI= $295.94 (that fancy bird bath really put us over the 2011 total of $236.96) Of course if you take the song very seriously you'd be at 0 every year since you return everything on the 12th day.

The true cost of a Sherman Christmas is around $1469.26 (though I'm being pretty lazy and not double checking the math. After Christmas is over I'll go through with an inflation app and make a graph of the prices since 1984. 

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