Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmastide: Day 1 (Nativity)

“On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree.”

This gift saw a slight uptick in price with a well-rooted Pear Tree that remained flat ($199.95) and a Partridge that barely stretched its wings (+.9% from $20.00 to $20.18). 2018 PRICE: $220.13 (+0.1%)

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The period known as Christmastide begins with the Feast of the Nativity itself; specifically, with the evening of this first day, through the morning of the Feast of the Epiphany. And so the first day of Christmastide is December 25-26, ending with Twelfth Night on January 5-6.

By tomorrow, you will stop hearing Christmas music on some radio stations, but around Chez Alexandre, whether here or on the road, as well as here at man with black hat, the Christmas season is just beginning. Most of us are familiar with the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas," and the significance of the symbolism therein. But for those who are not...

Twelve Drummers Drumming refers to the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

Eleven Pipers Piping refers to the eleven faithful apostles

Ten Lords A-leaping refers to the ten commandments

Nine Ladies Dancing refers to the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit

Eight Maids A-milking refers to the eight beatitudes

Seven Swans A-swimming refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, and/or the seven sacraments

Six Geese A-laying refers to the six days of creation

Five Golden Rings refers to the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.

Four Calling Birds refers to the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists.

Three French Hens refers to Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues.

Two Turtle Doves refers to the Old and New Testaments.

One Partridge in a Pear Tree refers to Christ on Earth being crucified upon a tree.

True Love refers to God, who sent his only son to us.

[NOTA BENE: The use of this song as a "secret catechism" for children, employed by Catholics persecuted in post-Reformation England, is a matter of some dispute, as pointed out in this article from Snopes.com. Leave it to them to bring the party down.]

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Now then (and this should be a treat for those of you new to us), we present the continuation of a venerable man with black hat tradition.

For more than thirty years, PNC Bank, one of the largest financial institutions in the United States, has calculated the prices of the twelve gifts from the classic carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” The result is the PNC Christmas Price Index, originally the brainchild of Jim Dunigan, the former managing executive of investments with PNC Wealth Management. The result is a unique and whimsical holiday tradition that makes learning about the economy fun.

For many years, Mr Dunigan himself presented the complete rundown of the cost of the entire entourage. For now, you can get the short version from the CBS affiliate in Philadelphia. The cost of this year's CPI rose by 1.2 percent to $39,094.93. And so, in the years following his departure, Mr Dunigan's legacy presses on.

Each day of our series will include a detailed look at the price of what somebody's true love gave to them, also courtesy of PNC, with a comparison to the previous year, at the beginning of our day's entry. In addition, a much cheaper and more creative alternative to buying these gifts can also be found at each day's entry on the PNC website, where you can learn how to fashion homemade ornaments based on each of the twelve days.

All that being said (and that which is said to follow), from all of us at Chez Alexandre, we wish you a most blessed Christmastide, and a prosperous New Year.

Now, dear minions, go forth and spread joy!

(Illustrations for the Twelve Days of Christmas are from the PNC Christmas Price Index website, and are used here without permission or shame. It's the least they can do for charging me $25.00 a month for earning interest off my money.)

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