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Cost of "Twelve Days of Christmas" gifts leaps in 2013

Customers shop for Christmas ornaments at a Walmart store in the Porter Ranch section of Los Angeles November 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevork Djans
Customers shop for Christmas ornaments at a Walmart store in the Porter Ranch section of Los Angeles November 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevork Djans

(Reuters) - Buying a set of the gifts named in the classic holiday carol "The Twelve Days of Christmas" will cost a true love $27,393 this year, up 7.7 percent from the 2012 price tag, according to an annual tongue-in-cheek analysis released on Monday.

Prices for most of the items in the song, including the partridge, two turtle doves, three French hens and five gold rings, remained steady from last year.

But the cost for 10 lords-a-leaping jumped 10 percent to $5,243 and nine ladies dancing increased by 20 percent to $7,553, PNC Wealth Management's Christmas Price Index showed.

The company said its sources for calculating the cost of the items include retailers, the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, the Philadelphia Dance Company and the Pennsylvania Ballet.

"We were surprised to see such a large increase from a year ago, given the overall benign inflation rate in the United States," said Jim Dunigan, managing executive for investments of PNC Wealth Management. "But the dancers in the index took a huge leap this year to play catch up from paltry increases the previous few years."

The U.S. government's Consumer Price Index increased only 1 percent for the 12 months through September.

Year-over-year increases since the Christmas Price Index began in 1984 have averaged 2.9 percent, the same number as the U.S. inflation index.

The only bit of savings on the carol's gift list this year comes from a 3.2 percent drop in price for the partridge's pear tree, which costs $184, the company said.

The overall price increase is the largest since 2010, when the index rose 9.2 percent.

Cyber Monday savings may save Christmas days but not money, PNC Wealth Management said. Buying one set of the gifts online would cost almost $39,763, or $12,300 more than making the purchases in person.

True loves intent on a real splurge will pay $114,651 in stores for the 364-gift tally that amasses from the traditional singing repetition of all the carol's verses, the analysis showed.

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Scott Malone and Alden Bentley)

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