Pear trees push up 12 Days' price

MARY BAINES
Last updated 08:55 24/12/2012

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Finding your true love a Christmas present has become pretty pricey these days, what with the cost of dancing girls and swimming swans.

A check of jewellery stores, Trade Me, bird breeders and performance companies found it would cost about $53,000 to buy all 364 items mentioned in The 12 Days of Christmas.

As some of the carol's traditional items are not available in New Zealand, the closest equivalents have been chosen.

A complete set of all the birds - one red-leg partridge, two doves, three hens, four canaries, six geese and seven swans - would cost about $4575. Doves are as little as $30 a pair, but seven swans would set an ardent lover back about $4200.

Five gold rings would cost about $1500, according to national jewellery retailers.

A Wellington pipe band estimated that hourly performances of 12 drummers drumming and 11 pipers piping would cost about $600 and $550 respectively. But that's nothing compared to nine ladies dancing, who would cost $1620 per half hour from a Wellington strip club.

Finding 10 lords willing to leap in New Zealand at any one time could be a tough ask, but professional actors from a Wellington theatre company would be happy to do the job for $100 each per hour, a total of $1000. But one actor warned dry cleaning costs could push up the price if he was wearing his own clothes while working alongside the birds.

One set of eight maids-a-milking would cost $108. They were the only unskilled labourers on the list and, as such, could do an hour's work each at the minimum wage of $13.50.

According to American PNC Wealth management's Christmas Price Index, the current cost of leaping lords and egg-laying geese amounted to a 6.1 per cent increase over last year, making the 2012 prices the highest in recorded history.

PNC Wealth Management has been calculating the cost of Christmas in the United States since 1984. Managing executive of investments, Jim Dunigan, said that although the index was compiled humorously, it measured real economic trends.

While the partridge cost the same as last year, the pear tree was up 11.8 per cent.

For the best prices, a bargain hunter would have to search the streets, as online shopping would set them back even further. That is because of the shipping cost of live birds and the fact that internet costs rose 1.5 per cent, Dunigan said.

THE PRICE OF TRUE LOVE
One red-leg partridge in a pear tree $50,$53
Two ring-neck laughing doves $30
Three brown shaver hens $75
Four yellow canaries $100
Five gold rings $1500
Six pilgrim geese-a-laying $120
Seven swans-a-swimming $4200
Eight maids-a-milking $108
Nine ladies dancing (half-hour show) $1620
10 lords a-leaping (one-hour show) $1000
11 pipers piping (one-hour) $550
12 drummers drumming (one- hour) $600

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TOTAL: $52,976

- © Fairfax NZ News

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