There are, according to USA Today, 364 items that need to be purchased to create the ultimate gift basket from the epic holiday song "The 12 Days of Christmas". Based on PNC Wealth's Christmas Price index, the cost of this basket is $107,300 in 2012 (up 6.1% year-over-year). Since 2001, when the Fed embarked upon its uber-expansionary monetary policy experiments, the cost of Christmas has risen over 40% faster than the Government's prescribed CPI (and if we use a different cost-base, since 2006, the cost of Christmas has risen 46% per year on average). And on an even more Bah! Humbug note, there is the important economic question of the Deadweight Loss of Christmas - i.e. gift-giving means consumption choices are made by someone other than the final consumer, with potentially sub-optimal micro-economic effects such as a mismatch with the recipient's preferences. This wonderfully positive report finds that between 10% and 33% of the value of gifts 'given' is destroyed through this inefficiency (with cash - or gold - the least impacted?). Happy Holidays, everyone!
The Deadweight Loss Of Christmas - PDF here
Cost of 12 Days of Christmas in 2005/2006 - PDF here