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The "Christmas Price Index," the collective cost of all the gifts one clearly-trying-too-hard man buys his sweetheart in the carol "The 12 Days of Christmas," hit a record high this year. The Atlantic's Derek Thompson reports that in order to buy the " swans-a-swimming, six geese-a-laying, five golden rings..." of the song, one would have to pay $101,119.84 for all 364 items mentioned, the highest total ever according to PNC Bank, which calculates the index every year. Silliness aside, there are actually some real economic trends to be gleaned from the Christmas index. Factors pushing the index high this year include the doubling of the price of gold since 2008 and a similar uptick in the cost of "nine ladies dancing." "In fact," Thompson writes, "this highlights perhaps the biggest real-world lesson of the survey, which is that over the last 28 years, the price of services has increased much faster than the price of goods." Though try as we might to not let the dismal science ruin our Christmas buzz, we'll never be able to listen to this song without thinking about inflation ever again.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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