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The Cost of Love at Christmas

Our hearts must be rich enough to give and large enough to accept, at Christmas and always.

What gift could one possibly want for Christmas? True love is indeed costly. According to the PNC Bank, after the tradition began in 1984 of using the 12 Days of Christmas as a market basket (a list of fixed items used to measure inflation in a specific market) to track the cost of inflation of goods from year to year, the True Cost of Christmas for 2015 is a whopping $155,407.18, and more, critics debate.

The popular Christmas song, Twelve Days of Christmas, is a cumulative one which tells the story of the set of gifts received from one’s true love. It starts with the first day of Christmas, repeating the stanzas up to the twelfth. The last verse goes like this:

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping,
10 lords-a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing,
8 maids-a-milking,
7 swans-a-swimming,
6 geese-a-laying,
5 golden rings,
4 calling birds,
3 French hen,
2 turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

By the end of the twelfth day, the loved would literally receive 12 drumming drummers, 22 piping pipers, 30 leaping lords, 36 dancing ladies, 40 milking maids, 42 swimming swans, 42 laying geese, 40 golden rings, 36 calling birds, 30 French hens, 22 turtle doves and 12 partridges.

Interestingly, this shows the cost of both giving and receiving love with all its luxuries and complications. The giver, it is obvious is well-to-do. And the receiver is very accommodating with room enough to lodge the drummers, pipers, lords, ladies and maids, a lake big enough for the swans and geese, a large field for the birds and trees, and let’s not forget the golden rings!

The total items received are 364. This is close to the number of days in a year. Perhaps, if the lovers agree, the items can be split and simplified at one gift per day, for the whole year. After all, this would mean that the love at Christmas should be an everyday matter, as Charles Dickens puts it “I would celebrate Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year.”

Christmas itself is a message of love, of God giving Christ to the world. This is worth more than a hundred and fifty-five dollars, and as incomparably lavish as both are, no one can truly accept either without understanding its value.

One thing about love and Christmas is certain. Our hearts must be rich enough to give and large enough to accept, at Christmas and always.

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Nnenna is an editor and writer at Connect Nigeria. She loves fine art, books and places.

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