Hollywood insiders know that if you’re buying a holiday gift for the likes of Cameron Diaz or Kelsey Grammer, a loaf of fruitcake or a wreath of flowers just isn’t going to cut it. Enter celebrity gifters Kristy Barrett and Amy Frankel Nau, bicoastal buyers (of Donum Gifts) who spend from $75 to $50,000 on each present for a star or starlet. ”Our Christmas season starts in the middle of the summer,” laughs Barrett. ”We go to different shows around the world, take notes, read scripts, and sometimes get companies to create stuff for us.” Okay, so not everyone can commission a custom-made gift, but Barrett and Nau have a few last-minute shopping tips for the rest of us.
Stay away from anything edible. ”We find that stuff like gift baskets gets passed on,” says Nau. ”There’s always too much and it gets tossed.” Adds Barrett: ”Forget doing one of those popcorn tins. For the same price, you can get something that won’t go right to the trash.”
Think patriotically. Barrett and Nau have already gotten plenty of requests for Americana. They’ve purchased Michael Starr’s American flag blanket and a vintage Old Glory. ”Holiday donations to any of the September 11 funds will also be big,” says Barrett. ”In terms of patriotism, you can’t do much better.”
Luxury is good. ”This year it’s more about personal comfort and less about showy logo items,” says Nau. Cashmere is bigger than ever, and leather passport covers are new must-haves. Other favorites: Isabella Fiore collectible handbags (about $350), Tumi’s travel golf bag ($495), Elizabeth W’s Ultrasuede Loungewear in Tuscan red or Morning Sky ($500), and Bellor’s Italian cotton weave waffle robe with matching slippers ($110 for robe, $115 for slippers). And what’s the point of lounging around without candles? Barrett and Nau swear by Et Al’s braided beeswax candles (prices vary) that also burn at the celeb-friendly Baccara Spa.
Want to feel like an actor without worrying about all those stressful auditions? Buy Uggs shearling boots or slippers (prices vary) for your Canadian location shoot or Colorado vacation getaway. And for all those N.Y.-to-L.A. red-eye flights, try White and Warren’s cashmere travel wrap ($260). Finally, for those early call-times, Nau and Barrett suggest Henry Kloss’ retro-modern Model One radio ($100) or Links of London’s square alarm ($155-260). Sorry, even actors have to get out of bed sometime.