Annual Christmas Price Index Reflects Pandemic’s Economic Impacts

(StatePoint) In a year marked by unprecedented shocks to the economy, PNC’s 37th annual Christmas Price Index (CPI) accounts for the pandemic’s impact on the cost of purchasing presents from the classic holiday song, “The 12 Days of Christmas.”

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A lighthearted take on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Consumer Price Index, which measures the average change in prices for goods and services over time, the PNC version applies analysis to procuring “True Love’s” 12 gifts. This year’s index includes adjustments for the reality that many live performances have been cancelled.

PNC calculated the 2020 price tag for the PNC Christmas Price Index at just $16,168.10, a considerable decrease of $22,825.45 or -58.5% over last year’s cost, with a third of the items literally not available for purchase this year.

“In response to these unusual times, we took a non-traditional view in calculating the Christmas Price Index,” said Amanda Agati, chief investment strategist for The PNC Financial Services Group. “The biggest impact has been for live performances, which are mostly unavailable. While some performing arts groups are engaging through virtual presentations, it’s a silent night at most symphonies and the lights have dimmed on many dance companies, as reflected in this year’s significant drop in PNC’s CPI data.”

The annual tradition also includes calculating the “True Cost of Christmas,” which is the total cost of items when repeating all the song’s verses. Purchasing all 364 gifts will require $105,561.80, which means that spreading cheer throughout 2020 costs 38% less than in 2019, given the exclusion of live performances.

For the full report, along with lessons consumers can learn from the pandemic’s economic impact, visit,

2020 has been anything but conventional for consumers, the markets and the economy, and this year’s Christmas Price Index most notably highlights the change with a season of silence for many live performers.