All that money could buy – a short story for the holiday season

by Sharon Santoni

As the countdown to the holiday season begins, I wanted to bring you a seasonal piece of fiction.  I actually wrote this story a few years ago now, some of you will remember it.  I hope you don’t mind me getting it out again, and dusting it off.  It is a tale of Paris, of the Holidays and romance.

This tale is in three parts.  Parts 2 and 3 will be published in the next two weeks.  Thank you for reading my short stories, I hope you enjoy this one.



eiffel tower in snow

« But Sophia, I’m willing to give you anything that money can buy !! »

Heads turned, George was talking quite loudly now and they were drawing the attention of the other tourists who had all come on this beautiful December morning to have their picture taken in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Sophia smiled a frozen smile, and through clenched teeth, said “please George, not so loudly, people are looking …. I’m cold, can we go and get a coffee somewhere”.     They had been talking about Christmas presents, and George was exasperated to hear that she didn’t really need anything in particular.

He sighed,  raised an arm in the air, and yelled “Taxi!”.    The cab on the other side of the road, swung round and pulled up in front of them.

George opened the door for Sophia and climbed into the cab behind her.   “George Fifth”, he grunted.

“Comment? où ça?”, the driver needed to know where to go, Sophia smiled “Excusez-nous monsieur, l’hotel George Cinq s’il vous plait”


She sat back and leaned against George, they won’t understand you if you just grunt you know, “… George grunted in reply and she smiled as she watched out of the window. They left the Champ de Mars and headed down the avenue Bosquet to the river. “Why are there always so many people outside that Ladurée store?” said George as they past the end of Rue de l’Université “I really can’t see the pleasure in coming to Paris just to queue up for a chocolate candy”

“Not candy George, macarons” …

“Yeah… whatever, hey Sophia, after you’ve had your coffee at the hotel, why don’t we shoot over to that Vendôme square and buy you a watch or some fancy earrings, you know I want to give you something special for Christmas”

She and George had been dating for two years now.   They had been introduced at a cocktail party on the Upper East Side. He was ambitious, generous and successful. She enjoyed his company and found him handsome if a little  heavy.   When they met she had just come back from a year in France, where there had been a young artist, Sébastien, gorgeous, moody, romantic  but the timing had been all wrong and she had a hard job getting over him.

George loved her laugh and her amusing tales of life abroad. They shared an appreciation of art.   After their first meeting he invited her out to dinner nearly every night for a month and had won her over with his whirlwind approach to courtship.   They still kept their own apartments, but more and more time was spent at his place, and she could tell from his heavy hints about biological clocks that he was thinking of settling down.

Of course it was great to go out in the company of a man who loved to buy artwork, who was bright and who had the means to give her anything she wanted … but that was the problem, she wasn’t sure if that was what she wanted.   It all seemed too easy.

She had grown up in the Midwest, and started travelling on a student bursary award. Her degree in fine art, her natural elegance and her willingness to work hard, had allowed her to climb the career ladder pretty fast and today she adored her job curating a private art collection for a high profile Senator.

When her boss had asked her to fly to  Paris  for the opening of a new gallery  at the end of December, George immediately offered to accompany her and for them to spend Christmas in the City of lights.

Her vision of  Christmas in Paris was snow on the streets, white lights down the Champs Elysées, afternoons spent sipping delicious hot chocolate in  sweet little cafés. Maybe an evening at the opera, or in a small theatre in the 18eme. Her French was good, and whenever she had been to France, she did all she could to slip into the local scene.

 chocolat chaud

But the trip with George was different.  The cute artists loft that she liked to rent was swapped for a gilt suite at the George V;  “Hey look hon, they named the hotel after me!”, the hot chocolates in little bistros became glasses of champagne in the city’s swankiest palaces , and the morning trip to the corner boulangerie to buy her croissant was replaced with a full continental breakfast served in their suite on a silver platter.

“So what do you say baby?”

  “Hmm? sorry George, say about what?”

  “I said, shall we go to Place Vendôme once you are warmed up?”

“But George, I don’t need expensive jewellery, this is already the best present, just being in Paris for Christmas, I told you I was dreaming of this.   Instead of Place Vendôme, let’s go to the Picasso Museum, you know it just re-opened.”

In the end they did both.  A quick tour of the Museum which was actually too busy to be much fun, and then a couple of hours chez Chaumet where   she picked out a pair of simple earrings, and where he waited until she had her back turned ….. then chose a beautiful diamond ring to be delivered to their hotel on Christmas Eve.ring by chaumet


As always, thank you for your patience.  This is not meant to be great literature, but people have asked for another story for the holidays, this is just for fun!

Part 2 will be published next week.


Freddie Ann November 26, 2018 - 8:06 pm

Oh dear, I wonder what Sophia will think about the diamond ring.

Bronwyn Lee-Coward November 26, 2018 - 8:18 pm

Oh lordy, lordy Sophia! I would jump into your shoes right now except I would swap handsome, chunky George for handsome, hunky George Clooney. Love the story can’t wait for part 2 and 3.
Thank you Sharon for indulging our daydreams with your wonderful stories.

Tracey Warwick November 26, 2018 - 8:33 pm

This will not end well – where is Sebastian?
I’m with Sophia with regards to croissants & hot chocolate, George will have to become quality George and not quantity George

Rebecca November 26, 2018 - 8:47 pm

I love these stories and the anticipation is even exciting, waiting for chapter two. Thanks for a little fun on this bleak, cold afternoon!

Donna November 26, 2018 - 8:55 pm

So far, so good….can’t wait to see her response when he pops the question! Any love story that takes place in Paris at Christmas already has most of the elements I look for in a short story…merci!!!

Myrna November 26, 2018 - 9:02 pm

Hello Sharon!
Oh my, what’s a girl to do!? Loving this…what’s next? I’ll be certain to have my hot chocolate in hand!

PAMELA BEDELL November 26, 2018 - 9:48 pm

Thank You for your sunshine. Love your blog, books and stories. MERRY CHRISTMAS! Love Paris much…

Brigitte November 26, 2018 - 11:27 pm

Very intriguing. Looking forward to Part 2.

Audrey November 26, 2018 - 11:51 pm

Doesn’t sound likeSofia is anxious to settle down but we’ll see Love your stories. Can’t wait for part 2

Betty Baker November 26, 2018 - 11:56 pm

Your stories are an endless fascination and always waiting for the next chapter. Thank you Sharon. I love them, here in Ontario, Canada..

Catherine November 27, 2018 - 12:07 am

Loved it the first time … but am still looking forward to parts 2 & 3. Happy Holidays!

Debbie Courtney November 27, 2018 - 12:07 am

I LOVE the George V and I Love your story!!!!

Heather McPherson November 27, 2018 - 2:32 am

So good, I’ve been looking out for another of your short stories, I love them

Vicky November 27, 2018 - 3:05 am

Sweet story, looking forward to Chapter 2.

Trish November 27, 2018 - 4:17 am

Happy Christmas, Sharon! I love your simple sweet stories. Looking forward to Part 2.

Dottie Monta November 27, 2018 - 5:20 am

Who said, that when writing a novel, “You don’t place that revolver on the side table and then fail to fire it” ? Well, Sebastion’d been mentioned, and I fully expect him to re-enter the picture! (Sophia is not in love with George). Was in Paris only once at Christmas time and can only hope Sophia falls under the spell and finds her true love in the most beautiful city in the world! Can’t wait, Sharon!

jackie November 27, 2018 - 7:07 am

Loved it the first time and still as good. The sign of a great author. When are you going to compile your short stories for sale in book form ? Please!!!

Sheila in SF November 27, 2018 - 7:15 am

I don’t recall this story but I am looking forward to the next two parts. Thanks for the treat. I enjoy your blog so much…

Debbie November 27, 2018 - 7:43 am

Shaton I love your stories. I do remember this one and the one about the young girl in Paris. You write so well.

Jeanie November 27, 2018 - 8:58 am

A lovely diversion, Sharon! Thank you!

Anneli November 27, 2018 - 4:46 pm

Oh Sebastian , where are you ❤️❤️
So lovely to have another story from you Sharon , thank you .

Gretchen Bertman November 27, 2018 - 4:48 pm


Leslie in Little Rock November 28, 2018 - 4:07 am

Your stories always remind me of Rosamund Pilcher, one of my favorite writers. She wrote short stories for Redbook magazine back in the day and then wrote novels such as The Shell Seekers and Winter Solstice. I really enjoy your tales…EVEN if I have read before!

Lana November 28, 2018 - 8:30 am

For a South African, this is truly a beautiful Winter, white Christmas romantic tale! I so love Paris and now a romantic story in the heart of Paris too! Looking forward to part 2 of “All that money could buy”. Thank you Sharon.

Victoria Savu November 28, 2018 - 12:03 pm

Thank you Sharon for sharing this story again. I remember it from years ago but for some reason I never read part 3 so I don’t know the conclusion. Of course I am hoping for Sébastian. Love Victoria

Patricia November 28, 2018 - 9:53 pm

Thank you again. Love your stories!

Nicole November 29, 2018 - 3:19 am


Can’t wait for the next instalment of the story. I always look forward to them and wish you had more time to write.

david terry November 29, 2018 - 7:13 pm

Oh, Sharon, thanks for posting this (which I recall fondly from your first posting of it, a couple of year ago).

Reading over it just now, though, my amused considerations was “Well, you can take the girl out of England, but you can’t take England out of the girl……even when her heroine is an American from the Midwest, spending a week in Paris”.

I used to do a lot of editorial work on manuscripts that were written in not particularly inept (just odd) English/American by French or German writers (both groups, and particularly the French, tend to employ anachronistic British or American phrases/words that they seemed to have picked up from American 1920’s gangster movies or BBC period-dramas. The French are the worst at this…..they just love outdated American slang for some reason, but they never understand that a “we ate at some joint downtown” is not the same as “We ate at some place downtown”.

In this particular case, Sharon?…..I would light red-pencil “Student bursary award” and “she had a hard job getting over him”. The folks in Missouri are not going to understand it, unless you write “Scholarship” and “She had a difficult time getting over him”.

I recall having to explain, once, to Herve what a female friend actually meant when she had said “Oh…her problem was that she never really was able to get over him.” Herve took that quite literally (which I realized after she’d left and he began asking why Americans were so adverse to the simple matter of consulting a sex-therapist).

I also recall being utterly confused when my first Oxford tutor told me, after I’d picked up a few things at the grocer’s and brought them to his house, “Oh, I knew you would make a good job of it”. At the time, I wondered “Does this guy think I’m going to start buying his groceries every week for a salary? That’s NOT why I came to England…”.

No need to respond….and I’ll look forward to re-reading the next two segments,

David Terry
Quail Roost Farm
Rougemont, NC

Melanie December 1, 2018 - 8:09 pm

I loved reading this delightful little story. Don’t be harsh on yourself Sharon – it is beautifully written and absolutely perfect as a wee romantic escape during the crazy Christmas build up. Can’t wait to read the next instalment. X

all that money could buy - part two of a christmas story - MY FRENCH COUNTRY HOME December 3, 2018 - 11:48 pm

[…] Second part of my Christmas Tale.  If you missed the first part you are welcome to catch up HERE. […]

all that money could buy - third and final part of our christmas tale - MY FRENCH COUNTRY HOME December 11, 2018 - 7:51 am

[…] third and final part in this year’s Christmas tale.  In the first instalment we saw George and Sophia arrive in Paris, and last week we left our couple at the top of […]

Louise Peace December 12, 2019 - 8:06 pm

This is story is amazing! I want to spend Christmas in Paris. It makes me wonder if my husband would enjoy Paris with me!!!! Would he love it as much as I do? I can’t wait to read parts 2 and 3! It would make a great novel!!

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