Christmas Costs $107,300 in 2012!

WOW!  Christmas costs $107,300 this year!  That’s a 6.1% increase over last year!

One way of tracking inflation is to price the 364 items named in the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas”.  We’ve all been singing this since we were kids although I doubt most of us would want most of these items!

A recent article in USA Today mentioned the following costs:

  • Partridge, $15; same as last year
  • Pear tree, $189.99; last year: $169.99
  • Two turtle doves, $125; same as last year
  • Three French hens, $165; last year: $150
  • Four calling birds (canaries), $519.96; same as last year
  • Five gold rings, $750; last year $645
  • Six geese a-laying, $210; last year: $162
  • Seven swans a-swimming, $7,000; last year $6,300
  • Eight maids a-milking, $58; same as last year
  • Nine ladies dancing (per performance), $6,294; same as last year
  • 10 lords a-leaping (per performance), $4,767; same as last year
  • 11 pipers piping (per performance), $2,562; last year $2,428
  • 12 drummers drumming (per performance), $2,776; last year: $2,630

Reviewing the costs I’d say the milking maids, dancing ladies, leaping lords and pipers piping must have had trouble finding work as their fee hasn’t increased since last year.  Perhaps these folks are unemployed from Christmas to Christmas?  Obviously there is more of a market for drummers!

These aren’t arbitrary costs.  A well-known company conducts extensive research each year.  They even report that shopping for the “Twelve Days” online will cost more, a lot more.  Online cost is $40,440 whereas traditional stores costs are $24,431.  Does this give new meaning to shopping local?

While my comments are a bit tongue-in-cheek, it does make me think about what consumers do spend on gifts each year.  I ventured out the Friday after Thanksgiving but only at 10:30 AM.  No staying up all night to get in line at Wal Mart, Best Buy or anywhere else for me.  One woman who waited on me in Bed Bath and Beyond showed me her arm – many scratches and a big bruise still developing.  She said she was “first in line at Wal Mart” to purchase her husband a sound bar.  She told of the man behind her pushing her completely into the display when the “Go!” order was given.  He offered no regrets or assistance to her.  Asking if she was able to purchase one, she said “Yes, but the box was crushed”. 

The idea and visual of this makes me sad.  Why do shoppers agonize what to buy one another and their children when most of us have absolutely everything we need and more that we don’t need?  Wouldn’t it make more sense to spend more quality time with family or give part of the money you usually spend to the local soup kitchen or other charity in your community?

How YOU CAN HELP!

To that end, Preferred Financial Strategies, is a collection point for pet supplies for Kobe Cares (www.kobecares.com) benefiting the North Mecklenburg Animal Rescue.  I have two rescue cockers who give me much unconditional TLC.  If you’d like to donate items, just drop them off at the office between now and Christmas.  We are also collecting items for the Mooresville Soup Kitchen – canned veggies; coffee creamer, canned spaghetti sauce are just some of the staples they need.  One year, we collected over 800 pounds of canned goods!

Remember others around you who have fallen on hard times.  We all know people impacted by downsizing, children who are suffering because of a parent losing employment, people impacted by non-covered health costs, seniors who don’t have family.  Share yourself, share what you have with them not as a handout but because they have a need, and we all have SO much.

About Sara Seasholtz

Sara Seasholtz, CFP®, was voted one of "50 Most Influential Women in Charlotte" by The Mecklenburg Times in 2011, and she's been a trusted financial advisor to her clients for over 30 years. Have a financial question?ASK SARA!

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