Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal
“The Twelve Days of Christmas” is a classic holiday carol that tells the story of an individual receiving increasingly extravagant gifts from a true love. But what would it cost to procure those items from New Mexico businesses? About $4,000 on the low side, according to a Journal analysis.
Specifically, a “partridge in a pear tree” will cost around $50. Jericho Nursery near Osuna Road NE in Albuquerque sells a five gallon Bartlett pear tree for $49.99. But you’ll have to hurry, because, as of Dec. 18, only one pear tree was in stock, and the store doesn’t expect to have more for sale until spring.
Though Chukar partridges have been sighted in New Mexico in the past, the state’s Game and Fish Department says you’ll have better luck with the closely related quail. New Mexico is home to four species of quail, and you can observe them for free.
Forget “two turtle doves,” because the ABQ BioPark Zoo has something even better: Socorro doves from Socorro Island in Mexico, which are extinct in the wild. The doves will be on exhibit in 2019, according to the zoo’s curator of birds, Karen Waterfall. Zoo admission is $29 for two adults.
It’s hardly the season for live poultry purchasing, but if your true love is insisting on “three French hens,” Bernalillo Feed can help. They have four hens for sale, and one “questionable” bird that could be either a hen or a rooster. The hens are $12 each for a total of $36.
If you want to take a chance on the questionable bird, Bernalillo Feed agreed to knock the price down to $10. None of the birds is French, but one of the birds is a breed that originated in Australia.
For “four calling birds,” head over to Clark’s Pet Emporium in Albuquerque. The store has a glut of cockatiels, birds that often learn to talk or whistle. They’re also $225 a pop, or $900 for four. Plus, you’ll have to make a 25-year commitment to each bird because of the animal’s longevity, according to one store employee.
Lots of stores sell “five golden rings,” but the price will vary significantly based on their size, weight and gold content. At Karkazian Jewelers in Clovis, gold rings range from $175 to $5,000, meaning five of them will set you back between $875 and $25,000.
For “six geese a-laying,” the issue is not the geese – you can find thousands of them wintering at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge – but rather the laying part. Goose eggs can occasionally be found at grower’s markets, but it’s easier to find duck eggs at New Mexico’s specialty stores. Six of them run about $5 total at La Montañita Co-op.
You’re likely to see “seven swans a-swimming” for free in the lower Rio Grande and Pecos valleys, according to the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.
The “eight maids a-milking” is problematic, according to Erica DeSmet of DeSmet Dairy in Bosque Farms, because, in order to sell milk to the public, state regulations require that Grade A dairies use milking machines.
Luckily, DeSmet just happens to have a milking barn that accommodates eight cows at a time. Those eight grass-fed cows produce about 40 pounds of milk per day collectively, the equivalent of 10 half-gallons. A half-gallon of milk costs $5 at DeSmet’s on-site store, so eight cows would produce about $50 worth.
Santa Fe-based circus organization Wise Fool has “a ton” of women performers, so artistic director Amy Christian says gathering together “nine ladies dancing” should be no problem at all. A 20-minute dance-focused circus show complete with stilt walkers and aerial artists will cost around $1,000.
If belly dancing is more your thing, Albuquerque-based Desert Darlings can do a 15-minute set with nine dancers for $900, says director Sadie Adair.
When it comes to “10 lords a-leaping,” your best bet may be New Mexico Parkour in Las Cruces.
Parkour is a discipline that combines gymnastics with the spirituality associated with martial arts. Adrian Ruiz, New Mexico Parkour’s director and a senior parkour coach, said the organization’s corporate partners in Boston can provide exact quotes. In general, it costs $25 an hour to hire a head parkour coach and $17 an hour to hire an assistant coach. That’s in addition to charges around transportation and any other necessarylogistics.
What if, to keep costs reasonable, one head coach were hired to conduct a workshop for ten male volunteers dressed in Elizabethan costume?
“You can wear anything, but you don’t want it to hinder your quality of movement,” said Ruiz. “And try not to wear gloves. They get torn up.”
Albuquerque-based Suzanne Kemp can be of assistance with the “11 pipers piping.” The mother, University of New Mexico psychology student and bagpipe player says she would reach out to the pipe bands in the area to get the necessary number of musicians. The going rate is generally $500 an hour, but you probably won’t want the pipers to play for an hour straight, Kemp warns.
“In my experience, people can’t handle more than 20 minutes of bagpiping at a time,” said Kemp. “The best way is to get the pipe band to play for 15 to 20 minutes and then come back after a break.”
Finally, for 12 drummers drumming, turn to Albuquerque-based martial arts studio Bushido Kenkyukai, which offers instruction in the Japanese drumming style known as Taiko. Anita Gallegos, the organization’s owner, says hiring 12 Taiko drummers for an hour will cost around $500.
Like many things in New Mexico, sourcing “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is cheaper here than it is many other places in the country. According to the Christmas Price Index reported annually by PNC Financial Services Group, the gifts and services in the song cost a total of $39,094.93 this year, a 1.2 percent increase from 2017.