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Holiday Gift Etiquette: Giving the perfect gift in Hollywood has always been so critical that during the 1980s, Mike Ovitz employed a full-time assistant whose sole responsibility was to research, buy and distribute appropriate presents for the industry’s elite. A generation later and despite a lackluster economy, the gift-giving game remains the same.
Assistants usually get cash. “You want to put it in something like a small Gucci bag so it looks like you took time to get them a gift,” says LaLaLuxe personal shopper Nicole Pollard, who is on the Four Seasons Doheny’s speed dial. But the reality often is: no box, no bow — no time for thoughtfulness.
For producers, personalization often isn’t possible. “It’s hard on a large scale,” one studio PR exec says. “It’s more important that everyone who’s been helpful on a film gets recognized.”
For agents and managers, gifts to top-tier clients can run $1,000-$10,000. One rep recently gave a female client a Kelly bag monogrammed “HRH” for Her Royal Highness. This year, Pollard is seeing a trend toward experiences over objects, such as gift certificates for green home makeovers, in-home spa sessions and the services of fragrance maven Dayna Decker, who will redo a house for the holidays with everything from candles to music.
Certain thespians have been known to get their representatives everything from Hermes bikes to Rolex watches; it tends to be that clients give more to agents than vice versa. But one philanthropically minded star this year is giving only charitable contributions; his assistant calls to inquire what cause the recipient prefers. Says ICM agent John Burnham with a laugh: “The best gift my clients can give me is not to fire me. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.”
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