Every year, PNC Bank calculates the cost of all the gifts given in the classic song "The 12 Days Of Christmas." They call this their "Christmas Price Index" and they say it can be viewed as an indicator of how the economy is doing. Or something. This year, the magic number for all those birds and lords and ladies is $101,119.84 (or $174,382.93 if you shop online — "In general, Internet prices are higher than their non-Internet counterparts because of premium shipping costs for birds and the convenience factor of shopping online," PNC says). That's a lot of money, no matter how you slice it. And who wants a houseful of birds?
Here at dealnews, we're all about bargains. So we went looking to see if there was a better "12 days" that would be more in-line with our cost-saving perspective. We found just such a list in Bob and Doug McKenzie's version of the classic.
Not familiar with the SCTV version of the song? Give it a listen:
Ok. Now that you're familiar, let's break it down. Each gift was priced based on the cheapest version of the items that we could find online — after all, isn't that what Bob and Doug would want? The list:
Day 1: A beer
Over the course of this musical journey, you're going to need several of these "day one" single beers. Since most states have severely uncool laws about the delivery of beer, the next-best option is to get a hold of a Mr. Beer Deluxe Edition Home Microbrewery System for $28.12 with free shipping from Amazon. It makes 20 bottles and that might seem to you like more beer than you'll need, right? After all, ONE beer, every day, for 12 days? Well, no spoilers, but, before this list is done, you're going to need a lot more beer, in fact. A lot. So we'll take care of those extra eight beers for you in future days, don't you worry. Read on!
Day 2: Two Turtlenecks
For the purposes of this song, you're going to need 16 of them! In our eyes, that's a lot of neck-strangling warmth, but what can you do? We're self-committed to this song and the purchasing of the items in it. Sears has Covington Men's Turtleneck Shirts in eight colors, for $9.99 each. That's $159.84 for all 16, but activate this "Extended Green Monday" coupon to drop them to $151.84. Shipping adds $13.80, or order online for in-store pickup.
Day 3: Three French Toasts
Try as we might, we could find no online vendor who was willing to put french toast in the mail. So, outside of actually making fresh french toast, each morning, how about lowering your expectations a bit? Why not consider Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal as an almost valid substitute? With us? OK, then Walgreens offers Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal Single Serving Bowls for $1.29 each, or 4-for-$5. If you want to give three each day to carry on the illusion that there are any rules to your giving — after blatantly stomping on the face of french toast for substitute cereal — you're going to need 21 of them. That'll set you back $26.25 with free shipping. Does that sound like a lot of money to pay for cereal? Personally, since we only buy bottom-shelf, bargain-bin, bag cereal our "cereal compass" is a bit off. Sadder: We never get a free compass in our bargain cereals.
Day 4: 4-lbs. of Back Bacon
Not being Canadian, we're not going to take the time to differentiate between "back bacon" (sometimes known as Canadian bacon) and standard, red, white, and blue "American bacon." Plus, since "real" bacon is pricey enough to have shipped in the quantities you'll need for this crazy song-based experiment, we can't image the premium that would be put on a weird, esoteric, bacon sub-set with origins in the great white north. Smithfield via Amazon offers this Smithfield Smoked Half Slab 4 to 5-lb. Bacon for $49. The song mandates that you buy six of them — and who are you to argue with a song?! — so that'll be $294. But at least there is free shipping.
Day 5: Five Golden Tuques
For years, we thought that a "tuque" was some kind of drug paraphernalia, which meant having to be ready to hastily switch the radio-dial during the Christmas months, lest the parents think we were listening to some druggie anthem. Now, in our "adulthood," we know that suggesting getting a whole bunch of them for someone in your life, as part of a lightly-humorous holiday feature piece on our site, won't set off a round of angry emails claiming we're trying to poison today's youth. Gravity Trading via Amazon offers the Blank Long Cuff Beanie in Yellow Gold for a street value of $4 each. Buy 25 of them to fulfill this song's growing demands and that'll be $100 with free shipping. There oughta be laws against abusing these tuques.
Day 6: Six Packs of Two-Four
As folks who were real downers in college, we had to look up what a "two-four" was. Turns out, it's more beer! (See, we told you you'd be needing those "spare" beers form the Day 1 purchase.) Specifically, it's a case of beer, which contains 24 beer ..., hence "two-four," "24". These days, we wonder if it would be less or more confusing to call it a "Jack Bauer" (then make digital count-down noises each time you opened a new beer from the case). Probably more. Nope. Definitely more.
So let's do some beer math! You need to give your true love (OBEY THE SONG!) six cases of 24 beers. That's 144 beers. Over three days, that's 432 more beers you're going to need to brew up. Considering that the Mr. Beer starter kit already comes with a packet to brew 20 of those beers ... and a train leaving New York reaches Pittsburgh in 15 hours ... and the fox can't get into the boat with the chicken ... Um, just buy 21 of these Mr. Beer Octoberfest's Vienna Lager Refill Brew Packs for $272.79 with free shipping and the math'll work out just fine. Trust us! (Trust us like you are trusting this song to do your Christmas shopping for you.)
Day 7: Seven Packs of Smokes
Smoking may have been acceptable in 1982, when this song was released, but in 2011 we know that smoking kills. We conscientiously abstain from including this in our gift guide. And with today's cigarette prices, you should thank us as you'll be saving a pretty penny on this day's gift!
Day 8: Eight Comic Books
Who reads anymore? Especially now that comics (at least the good ones) have all been made into movies? Just buy your true love some Blu-rays, instead. It's all the fun of a comic book, but without that pesky "having to use your eyes" ... wait ... maybe that should have been "without having to use your brain"? Who knows! This list is getting ridiculous.
Speaking of ridiculous, you can knock out all eight movies in two clicks by buying X-Men Trilogy on DVD for $15.49 plus free shipping via Amazon Prime and The Complete Superman Collection 1976 to 2006 on Blu-ray for $44.95 with free shipping from Compuplus via eBay.
Days 9 through 11: They Don't Exist
Your true love may spend these days as they see fit. (Possibly passed out, since they may have just consumed 440 beers in three days.)
Day 12: Jump Down to Day 5
As with most sane people, it's just too exhausting to actually go through with singing this entire song, end-to-end. Most people just want the chance to belt out a good "FIVE GOLDEN..." anyway, and this Day 12 gives them exactly that, by skipping the rest of the days and heading straight to the fifth day. Then it's over.
So, we're done here. Kinda anti-climactic, if you ask me, but then again, isn't that what Christmas always is? Weeks of anticipation, and no real pay-off? (Except if you are Bob and Doug, of course, then you have a Canada-load of bacon and beer. Lucky!) All that's left is to wait for the $933.44 credit card bill roll in. Though, as this is for your "true love," that's not that much to spend, is it? How does the rule of thumb go? "The 12 Days of Christmas should cost two months' salary"? Something like that.
Now, looking back at the work we've just done, we'd have to say that it comes off as ... well ... kinda half-assed. Definitely slightly rushed and certainly wildly inaccurate. But we think that's just how Bob and Doug would have wanted it! Merry Christmas, you hosers.