The air is heavy with the scent of Jo Malone candles, while underfoot you may trip over yet another empty bottle of vintage Dom Perignon.
Because under the low wooden beams of a village chalet in the Swiss mountains, Christmas has arrived early.
As an elderly shoemaker and his wife absent-mindedly toss another fistful of Euros onto their log fire, life couldn’t be sweeter.
And yet as recently as two months ago their drawn faces told a different story.
For forty years the couple enjoyed a modest but comfortable lifestyle, hand-crafting luxury footwear, using traditional methods.
Whilst never celebrating the profits of mass commercial success, they took pride in the care invested in each unique pair of shoes.
But as their small business felt the chill of the global economic slowdown, sales withered.
It seems Swiss villagers think Sarah Jessica Parker looks like an angry horse and failed to pick up on the shoe fetish sweeping across many European cities.
With remnants left to make only one more pair of shoes, the couple gloomily resigned themselves to a retirement on out-of-date Toblerones.
But just as the bailiffs were due to come knocking on their door, they found hope in the form of an exquisite set of ready-made, black, Cuban heels.
Studded with rhinestones and polished to a shine, they were fine enough to make Prince howl.
‘At first we thought it was a hidden-camera TV stunt.
Then we realised someone had deliberately left them and I sunk into professional jealousy, while the wife started on about breaking-and-entering.
Eventually, we cleared the air with a good row and knew we’d hit pay dirt,’ said the old gentleman.
Sure enough, the following day a local drug dealer snapped them up and the shoemakers had enough money to buy more of the materials they would need to hammer their way out of penury.
But that night the same thing happened again, without them lifting so much as a finger.
And the night after that and so on and so on.
Until one glorious day, the old couple were able to buy Lindt Excellence again.
They claim that each morning it was a wonderful surprise and deny leaving the un-made shoes and a couple of Pro plus under a night light, on purpose.
The old woman says it was on their way back from a Spa Day Break that they first realised someone must have been helping them make a fortune.
It took only a few weeks to come up with the idea of hiding behind a door to discover the identity of their night-time helpers.
Of course, the reality they were faced with was a far cry from the Christian Fellowship of Shoemaker Lovers they had suspected.
For the master craftsmen were none other than two diminutive elves, dressed in rags.
‘I’m a simple man,’ says the shoemaker. ‘Gnomes I’m familiar with- they do a great job with the street lighting.
But elves? Don’t talk soft.’
Nevertheless, the pair could no longer ignore the evidence and sat down to discuss how they might reward their miniature benefactors.
The last thing they wanted was to cause offence by offering them remuneration of any sort, said the old woman; telling them they looked like tramps was bound to be better received.
So they set to work immediately on a stunning new Elf wardrobe.
‘Plenty of green and pointy hats. That’s what suits them.’
The couple say the best reward was seeing their merry little faces as they skipped around the room, singing,
‘Oh what handsome boys we are!
We will work on shoes no more!’
Says the shoemaker, ‘The wife gave me a bit of a sideways look when she heard that. But I’ve no regrets.’
As for the elves, they are amused by their sartorial make-over but have no plans to pop up in any more stories, especially- they would like to emphasise- Snow White.
‘I just like helping people,’ said one.
‘I’ve got a thing for leather,’ said the other.