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I'm (not) Dreaming of Designer Handbag Christmas

What do you get when you combine the following?

8 Americans
4 Brits
2 Canadians
1 Aussie
5 bottles of wine
3 bottles of champagne
3 batches of chocolate chip cookies
1 box of macaron cookies from Ladurée
2 hours of free time
1 book
LOTS of gossip

Le Bookclub.

Last night was bookclub night. We spent only 30 minutes discussing the book we were supposed to read and the rest of the time laughing, eating, drinking, and having fun. Then I became the scrooge.

Pourquoi?

We got on the subject of what Christmas gifts we were giving our children's teachers at Small Fry's bilingual pre-school. I planned on giving the traditional Diptyque candle or a box of chocolate from La Maison du Chocolat. One of my mommy friends who's kid is in the same class with Small Fry and who is pété de tune (loaded) had decided on a group gift last week and had already started a collection for it (I was not in the know as I had been sick and didn't see her on the school run).

What kind of Christmas gift do you give a pre-school teacher that shouts "I am so kissing up to you because you are responsible for writing recommendation letters for 2 year olds to the very exclusive international school of which all of our kids will hopefully be attending next September?!"

What do you give her during a global financial crisis?

A designer Chloé handbag to the tune of 1500 euros bien sur!

Money Bags Mommy figures that each mom in class needs to chip in 100 euros and the deal is sealed. What she forgot is that not everyone's pockets are loaded down with euros like hers and even if they were, well, there's a global economic emergency happening and it's not in the best taste to shout out how much money you have. Especially in France, where the old saying goes, "Pour vivre heureux, vivons caché"(To live happily, you must live discreetly). As Money Bags Mom went around the circle asking who would be chipping in (everyone) and making fun of the moms at school who only chipped in 35 euros, she then came to moi.

I told her exactly what I stated above and added that if I start giving Chloé handbags as presents from my pre-schooler now, what will be expected once Small Fry is in high school? A Cartier diamond necklace?

So I effectively ended the alcohol and sugar-induced evening of fun.

I want your opinion - did I do the right thing or should I have caved in to the mommy peer pressure?

What would you have done?

(PS- the bag is ugly!)

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Comment by Deb on December 6, 2008 at 1:50am
Ultimately, people should respect your honesty--even though it doesn't always feel like it works that way.

Other moms probably felt the same way and were afraid to say anything due to the peer pressure. Good for you to be strong enough--or intoxicated enough :) to speak up.

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