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Deconstructing December: The 12 days of Christmas or a song for the 1%

Time recently ran an article on the "Cost of Christmas" and how it is no longer affordable for the average American. And by “Cost of Christmas,” they of course mean the estimated cost of buying all the gifts in the classic song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” – all 364 of them. Apparently PNC wealth considers this such a priority that they have been estimating this cost every year since 1984.

In 2011, it would cost you $101,119.84 to buy your “true love” the gifts ($24,263.18 if you were just paying for day 12). Obviously, this is not your average Christmas gift. In fact, it’s about 155 times more than the average American intends to spend this holiday season ($646 according to the American Research Group, Inc.). Given all that has happened recently, do we really need another reminder of what the 1% can afford and the rest of us can't?

So what are the 99% to do? I propose that they stop defining their wealth by these rich standards and start trying to live within their means. Therefore, I propose to you an amended list for the 99%.

12 Krispy Kremes

American's waistlines are expanding, that is for sure. But it's the holidays. You can let loose a little.

11 Players Playing

Despite a lockout and a bunch of bitching, Americans continue to throw their money at the NFL. Let's face it, even though you are poor, there's a good chance you'll spend more money that you should watching the superbowl this year.

10 Hot Dogs

Get em' for the big game, preferably Ballpark, but if that's outside your budget, at least shoot for no more than 8% squirrel meat.

9% Unemployment

Okay, so technically that's incorrect, it's 8.6% rounded up. There's always a silver lining...

8 Hot Dog Buns

Sure, you'll have a surplus of 2 dogs, but who needs those extra carbs? Especially after downing 12 Krispy Kremes.

7 Lucky Lotto Tickets

If you can't be the 1% at least you can put those pennies in your "savings" account to good work.

6 Pack of Keystone Light

Let the affluent have their Dom Perignon. We'll stick with the always smooth favorite of the champion of the 99% -- Keith Stone.

5 Dollar Footlong

At this point, you probably can't read that without simultaneously hearing the jingle in your head. Hey at least it's not as bad for you as McDonalds. Would Jared steer you wrong?

4 Times of the Day (morning, afternoon, evening, night)

All of which you will have to work, which leads us to...

3 Part-Time jobs

Most likely in the service industry, sans benefits, and with a high probability of handling raw meat.

2 Fingerless Gloves

To help you better hold your styrofoam cup and cardboard sign.

1% Chance of Economic Recovery

Let's face it folks, things could be bad for a long time. It took more than 10 years to recover from the great depression, we need to dig in for the long haul.

This article appears as part of a series. Visit Deconstructing December to see more.

This post originally appeared on Stuff Smart People Like. Subscribe to the Podcast.


  1. Awesome list...but how much would it cost? :p

  2. Hah. Hard to determine. Here it is, with the caveat that prices vary from place to place.

    -12 = ~$8.99
    -11 = free (as long as you have a television, electricity, and rabbit ears)
    -10 = ~$3.50
    -9 = undetermined
    -8 = ~$2.99
    -7 = ~$7.00
    -6 = ~$8.00
    -5 = ~$5.00 (assuming no extras and without tax)
    -4 = Can you put a price on this?
    -3 = Years and years of back pain and spider veins
    -2 = ~$1.99
    -1 = Can't even begin to estimate the cost of this

    Total = $194.33 ($37.47 for day 12 alone)