Every year since 1984, PNC Financial Services has compiled the “Christmas Price Index” (CPI). It measures the cost of each group* of items in the Christmas carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” (a total of 78 items). They have a nice interactive site that leads you through the prices and changes to the prices. They also compile what they call the “True Cost of Christmas” which follows the exact instructions in the song for a total of 364 items. The items are defined as:
- The pear tree comes from a local Philadelphia nursery
- The partridge, turtle dove, and French hen prices are determined by the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
- The price of a canary at Petco is used for the calling [sic] bird, though the price of a blackbird (colly bird) would be more in tune with the song
- Gordon Jewelers sets the cost of the gold rings, though the gold rings of the song actually refer to ring-necked pheasants
- The National Aviary in Pittsburgh sets prices for swans and geese
- The maids are assumed to be unskilled laborers earning the Federal Minimum Wage
- A Philadelphia dance company provides estimates for the salary of “ladies dancing”
- The Philadelphia Ballet estimates the salary for the “leaping lords”
- The going-rate for drummers and pipers is that of a Pennsylvania musicians’ union
This year (2010), the CPI rose 9.2% to $23,439.38 and the “Total Cost of Christmas” comes in at almost $100K ($96,824.29). If one follows the notion that this gives the giver the ability to give a gift for every day of the year minus Christmas, that comes to $266 per day. For a nominal eight-hour work day (or 40-hour work week) that is $33.34 per hour – as a cost. If we take the latest data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and apply this as a “Miscellaneous” cost (out of the categories such as Housing, Transportation, Tobacco, Food/Dining, etc.) at 1.6% of the average expenditure of Americans, this means the total household budget for this generous giver is $6,051,518. Given the average American spent 78.6% of their income (some on credit), the household income for this individual is around $7,699,132. They nominally contributed around $2,694,696 towards federal taxes.
GorT is an eight-foot-tall robot from the 51ˢᵗ Century who routinely time-travels to steal expensive technology from the future and return it to the past for retroinvention. The profits from this pay all the Gormogons’ bills, including subsidizing this website. Some of the products he has introduced from the future include oven mitts, the Guinness widget, Oxy-Clean, and Dr. Pepper. Due to his immense cybernetic brain, GorT is able to produce a post in 0.023 seconds and research it in even less time. Only ’Puter spends less time on research. GorT speaks entirely in zeros and ones, but occasionally throws in a ڭ to annoy the Volgi. He is a massive proponent of science, technology, and energy development, and enjoys nothing more than taking the Czar’s more interesting scientific theories, going into the past, publishing them as his own, and then returning to take credit for them. He is the only Gormogon who is capable of doing math. Possessed of incredible strength, he understands the awesome responsibility that follows and only uses it to hurt people.