Did you survive Black Friday shopping? More to the point, did your bank account survive?
The crowds this year apparently were smaller, but the freedom to shop in real life didn't offer as many savings.
Plus, there was inflation. As everyone knows by now, prices have been rising.
That definitely is true for the annual PNC Financial Services Group's Christmas Price Index, or CPI. This 38th calculation of how much it would cost to purchase the gifts in "The 12 Days of Christmas" carol resulted in a 5.7 percent hike compared to 2019.
That's the largest hike since 2013, and that's not even counting sales taxes! PNC did, however, take into account the additional travel and shipping costs that apply when the song's items are purchased online.
COVID's CPI effects: Wait. What? 2019? No, don't double check your calendar.
PNC analysts compared this year's purchases of festive fowl, assorted entertainers, and much more with 2019 because the COVID-19 pandemic really Scrooged up 2020 shopping.
"With most live, in-person performances cancelled in 2020, we removed them from the Index last year, which resulted in an unprecedented 59 percent drop in the PNC CPI from 2019," said Amanda Agati, chief investment officer for PNC Asset Management Group.
"Comparing 2019 data is a better gauge of the impacts of inflation, before the pandemic's effects took hold of the global economy," Agati added. "We are trying to normalize the comparison by excluding a-once-in-a-century pandemic that had an outsized impact on last year's data."
But what hasn't changed is the Pittsburgh-based bank and financial services company's light-hearted take on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Consumer Price Index, which measures the average change in prices consumers pay for goods and services over time. The PNC version applies its own analysis to procuring True Love's 12 perfect gifts at Christmas.
12 true love gifts overview: Overall, the PNC CPI increase of 5.7 percent translates to a true-love gift bill of $41,205.58. That includes —
Fowl friends flying high: The largest price increases this year come in the exotic pet categories, with large spikes seen in 6 Geese-a-Laying (57 percent), 2 Turtles Doves (50 percent), and 3 French Hens (40 percent). Inflation is fueling higher costs for raising the birds through higher food and labor prices.
Gold rings still glittering: Jewelry always is a popular holiday gift, and investors dashed for store-of-value assets like gold again this year. Gold rings are up 8.5 percent from 2019, reflecting the trend in gold commodity prices.
Performers returning to the stage: Live performances, albeit in a modified form in many instances, are back in 2021. But it costs more for them to take the stages. The hefty sum of $24,939.94, a 7.2 percent aggregate increase over 2019, applies to the Ladies Dancing, Lords-a-Leaping, Pipers Piping, and Drummers Drumming.
Playing and paying for the full song: But wait, there's more. A lot more. The true cost of Christmas in the classic holiday song is $179,454.19. That's a 5.4 percent hike from 2019's true cost count.
This six-figure and some cents tally represents the total cost of all the gifts bestowed by True Love when you count each repetition of the song, totaling 364 presents.
For more on all of the 12 true-love gifts, check out PNC's special interactive Christmas CPI 2021 website, which gets the ol' blog's Sunday Shout Out as we get ready to head into the heart of the 2021 holiday season.
More tax-specific inflation: With all this talk about inflation's effects on Christmas shopping, some of you probably are asking what about the ol' blog's annual tax inflation series. (Admit it, fellow tax geeks, you've been wondering! And thanks for that.)
I have haven't forgotten. But National Family Week posts, then Thanksgiving and [still] recovering from Turkey Day (or BBQ Day in our house) leftovers, then Christmas decorating, the best laid blogging schedule plans kind of got away from me.
But don't worry. We made it to #7 before this short break. The remaining tax inflation series will be posted soon! Thanks for your patience.
You also might find these items of interest:
- Boxing Day 2020 giving ideas and tax tips
- Yes, Virginia, you'll probably pay tax on your Christmas tree
- It costs less in 2020 to be a True Love 12 Days of Christmas gift giver