A Pricey Partridge in a Pear Tree

Two years ago, the 12 Days of Christmas cost $78,100. Today's price: $87,403. Forget about the lords; I think the only things a-leapin' right now are the butterflies in my stomach.

Every year, PNC Wealth Management comes up with its whimsical "Christmas Price Index," which figures out what the items in "The 12 Days of Christmas" would cost today. Interestingly, the total tally only increased a small amount from last year, but it's a pretty significant increase from two years ago. Factors such as the labor market and energy prices figure into the calculations, making the index an interesting study of economic trends -- even if we investors aren't clamoring for gaggles of geese a-laying.

There's at least one bright side to the numbers: Retailers are well aware that shoppers are bargain-hunting, and I doubt any would try to push the $5,000 swans a-swimming as the must-have gift of the year. Consumers with means are surely more likely to provide their true loves with, say, an Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iMac rather than nine ladies dancing ($5,473); a Sirius XM (Nasdaq: SIRI  ) radio instead of 12 drummers drumming ($2,475); or an Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) Kindle as opposed to 10 lords a-leaping ($4,414). Given gold's spike in price, though, the hottest gift this year may be those five gold rings -- or even shares of something like SPDR Gold Shares (NYSE: GLD  ) or Goldcorp (NYSE: GG  ) . Sorry, partridge (and pear tree).  

Are some products and retailers more apt to lure holiday shoppers this year? Do they point to investment ideas that deserve extra thought? Let us know in the comment boxes below.

Apple and Amazon.com are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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