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Rich People Problems

Advice columnist Victoria Klein Wainscott tackles your touchy gift-giving situations.

I have two assistants at the agency. What's a great gift for an assistant you adore -- and one who's on Match.com all day?

Maybe you should give the Match.com-obsessed one a consult with one of those millionaire matchmakers -- so she gets back to work. top gift consultant Nicole Pollard of lalaluxe works with many agents and managers, and her prognosis is: "what assistants really want is money. You can put it in a Gucci wallet to make it more personal. as for the amount of cash, if they've been with you a while: a thousand dollars. Less time: $500. With somebody new, a bit less. If they're paid for 40 hours and work 90, double the figure." Paying holiday gifts out of their own pocket is standard, says one agent, but he also likes iPads, designer handbags or shoes as well as gift certificates from neiman Marcus for favored assistants.

I love to gIve great champagne. But I suspect some of our friends may now be drying out, if you get my drift. Is it crass to ask people if they're sober? I don't want to be responsible for people going to rehab.

I've probably been responsible for a few rehab visits myself -- but that's another story. Unless it's rock stars in a rut, rehab's to be avoided. Our friend Portia Medina works as a "sober companion" for recovering addicts; here's her advice: "E-mail each person on your gift list and ask if they drink alcoholic beverages. This allows for maintaining anonymity in their response -- very important to those in 12-step programs. For the teetotalers, I suggest a couple of pounds of coffee from a microroaster such as Metropolis in Chicago, Intelligentsia in L.A. or klatch roasting in Upland, Calif. -- along with mugs of chocolate- covered espresso beans." you might want to send that to the drinkers, too. new year's eve is just around the corner.

What on Earth do you give a billionaire for Christmas? I mean, you can't bake brownies for Steve Bing.

I have this problem all the time. I mean, how many planes can people have? And more yachts for Paul Allen and David Geffen just aren't practical. But if there's one thing billionaires don't have, it's time. Pollard recommends her own lalaluxe day -- for five grand, her team will redo their three-story closet or shop for an entire wardrobe, for instance. Or surprise them. "everyone's giving them expensive crap," says Pollard. "Christmas is about gluttony. To be different, give your gift at new year's and make it a soulcycle bike (a few thousand) or set them up with a juice cleanse." And -- if you want to go here -- Pollard says limited editions always do the trick: The first of 10 Chanel watches made or a one-of-a-kind timepiece from Breguet. We did ask a close friend who works with a billionaire what his friends give that person. "Absolutely nothing," was her answer. "They know he has everything already."

To contact THR's Victoria Klein Wainscott with a concern (anonymity assured), send an e-mail to richpeople problems@thr.com

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