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‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through Paris, men made their lists and checked them twice.

Cartier pour Carole…

Boucheron for Brigitte…

And last but not least, a little Van Cleef and Arpels for Valérie.

Yes, Christmas is usually when the Other Women make out like bandits.

But not this year.

According to an article in Point de Vue, the recession will penalize multi-millionaires – and in particular their mistresses.

A study recently done by a consulting firm in France (they don't say which one) states that 12% of those surveyed will end their affairs for financial reasons. And a whopping 82% of men envisage a reduction in their mistresses' expenses.

So maybe it wasn’t so much of a shocker to the salesperson at the ultra-chic Maison du Chocolat that I was planning on giving upscale candy bars to the mistresses for Christmas.

Wait, let me back up a minute. Last Saturday Big Cheese and I were running errands with the French Fries getting some gift shopping done. Since I didn’t pitch in for the Chloé bag for Big Fry’s teacher (see I’m (not) Dreaming of a Handbag Christmas) I needed a little something to show my appreciation. Hence, the stop by Maison du Chocolat.

As I was perusing the pricey assorted boxes and Big Cheese was wrangling the Fries, I asked the assistant if he could recommend a gift for a “maîtresse”. Well, that’s what Big Fry calls his teacher.

All I got was one raised eyebrow.

“Les maîtresses de l’école,” Big Cheese added drily as I turned beet red. “I thought Madame was very, uh, open,” said Monsieur Maison du Chocolat.

Open, schmopen – in our house, there better not be anyone on the receiving end of luxury gifts but moi!

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