DEAR ANNIE: I read with great interest your column about the PNC Christmas Price Index for "The Twelve Days of Christmas." However, no matter how I did the math, I couldn't come close to your grand total figure of $116,273.06. This takes into account that I didn't know what the exact shipping total was. How did you do the math? — DSH
Dear DSH: We received several letters from folks who were confused by the math, so we will explain it, even at this late date. First of all, the total should be $116.273.08. That last number was a typo on our end. But simply put, the gifts are cumulative. On the first day, she received one partridge in a pear tree. And the second day, she received two turtledoves and another partridge in a pear tree. The third day, she received three French hens, another two turtledoves and a third partridge, and so on. Done cumulatively, there are 364 gifts, and the total cost is $116,273.08. At that point, we'd say the shipping is irrelevant. Here's the last word on the subject:
Dear Annie: I just want to say thanks for your Christmas column. I did not know that it is possible to purchase lords a-leaping. I really wouldn't know what to do with them, and at that price, I couldn't afford them anyway. But I truly did LOL when I read it, and for that, I thank you. (P.S. I always buy my swans locally. The prices are much better.) — S.
DEAR S.: Thanks for letting us know you enjoyed the column. We appreciate your lighthearted response.