By on 12.9.13 in Economic Data

Each year since 1984, PNC Wealth management has calculated the total cost of purchasing all of the items in the popular holiday song the “12 Days of Christmas.”

This year’s bill would set you back a hefty $27,393, more than 34 times the amount the average household plans on spending this year ($801) according to the American Research Group.

If you happen to have an eccentric (and lavish) holiday gift budget—or just like to pretend that you do—the map below highlights where you might be able to find or experience the items or some representation thereof in North Carolina.

Here’s how I went about classifying the list:

1 partridge in a pear tree:

  • Partridge: It’s difficult to determine what shops, if any, might sell a partridge. But, retailers that specialize in birds seem like a good place to start. Some of these sell live animals, while others (e.g., Wild Birds Unlimited) do not. At any rate, they can all probably sell you some partridge-appropriate bird food. There are 25 retailers in the state specializing in birds; these are symbolized by a blue bird on the map.
  • Pears: Similar to the partridge, identifying places that specifically carry pear trees is difficult. Rather than list nurseries, I used and found 14 North Carolina farms that listed pears as one of their crops. These are symbolized by the green tree.

2 turtle doves/4 calling birds/6 geese-a-laying/7 swans-a-swimming: These items can be found, along with the partridge, at the bird specialty retailers signified by the blue bird.

3 French hens: Giving or receiving French hens can pose problems for urban dwellers. Namely, does your municipality allow backyard chickens? The brown chicken symbols identify 27 North Carolina municipalities that allow chickens according to user submissions to the site BackYard Chickens.

5 golden rings:  With well over 1,000 jewelry stores statewide, these are the easiest item to acquire and are not identified on the map.

8 maids-a-milking: In the 2011 American Community Survey, 3,041 North Carolina women worked in farming or agriculture (if you are interested in an experienced milkmaid). The orange cows identify the 38 businesses in North Carolina that have a primary business classification as a dairy farm.

9 ladies dancing/10 lords-a-leaping: The purple dancers mark the locations of 46 North Carolina businesses with the primary business classification as a dance company. In 2011, only 113 men and 861 women were employed full-time as professional dancers or choreographers in North Carolina. (The dancing ladies and leaping lords account for nearly half of the list’s total cost).

11 pipers piping/12 drummers drumming: There are 23 businesses in North Carolina with orchestra and band as their primary business classification, and they are shown as a red bagpiper. Of these groups, Cross Creek Pipes & Drums in Fayetteville, NC, sounds particularly well-suited for this item.

If you live in the Triangle, the Triad, Hickory, and Asheville, you’ll have pretty good luck with the list, as chickens are allowed and each item is in close proximity. The Charlotte area has everything but pear trees, while Eastern North Carolina has few items on the list.

Sources: Data on occupations are from the 2011 American Community Survey and were retrieved from the University of Minnesota’s IPUMS-USA project. Information on business classifications was drawn from ReferenceUSA.


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