M: What are some memorable gifts you’ve given over the years?
Love: I got David LaChapelle a 16th-century gate in London that I transported to Hana, Maui. It was extremely extravagant. Cost a fortune. I gave my daughter [Frances Bean Cobain] a Black Card at 14. Her first expenditure was $15,000 at the Ritz Paris with Marianne Faithfull on a bottle of Pétrus. I was furious at them! But if you’re gonna drink for the first time, you might as well drink with a professional.
Executive chef at Lido, New York
M: What’s the best present you’ve ever received?
Bass: Since I don’t believe in guesswork, last year, to be helpful and at his request, I sent my oldest son a list of presents—any one of which would have been fine. My most-wished-for was Abyss bath sheets and Corail. All the colors are stunning, and they soak up bathwater like nobody’s business. As Christmas approached, boxes started arriving. He’d bought me everything on the list. What a guy.
M: So what do you want this year?
Bass: Well, that’s easy: I want a Vitamix, so I can puree at will. And a bottle or two of Comme des Garçons Avignon perfume, please.
M: What are your thoughts on the Christmas season?
Coulter: Hmmm, Christmas… Christmas… Is that the old pagan holiday that always seems to fall right in the middle of Kwanzaa? All I want for Christmas is an Obamacare waiver.
author of I was Told There’d be Cake and How Did You Get This Number
M: Hi, Sloane. What’s the best thing you’ve ever received?
Crosley: I once wrote an essay about volunteering at the Museum of Natural History’s butterfly exhibit and how frightened I was of this one mammoth moth called the Atlas moth. It’s the width of a hardcover book, and I never once saw it move. My boyfriend at the time went to Evolution and bought me a dead version. Merry Christmas, baby, here’s your worst fear in a box! It was so comically and unwittingly wrong, I loved it.
Model, Chanel ambassador
M: What’s a notable gift you’ve received from someone close?
Delevingne: [My sister, the model] Cara once gave me Molton Brown hand soap for Christmas. I didn’t speak to her for a month.
M: You got any shopping tips that you abide by each holiday season?
Delevingne: Always buy something for someone that you can enjoy as well. Like Twister. Or a bottle of tequila.
Client liaison at Sotheby’s
M: What would you like this year?
Dubin: My Christmas wish list includes: My daughter’s acceptance to the college of her choice, a piece of Ettore Sottsass jewelry from the 1960s, and a job promotion!
RELATED STORY: M: The Must List Gift Guide >>
Style arbiter, Vanity Fair contributing editor, wit
M: What would you like for Christmas, George?
Wayne: Besides the prerequisite health, wealth, and happiness? There will certainly be no need for the tacky schmatta now that the parvenu Shawn Carter is colluding with Barneys. If, however, Sergey Brin is tuned in, nothing would be more superlative, more memorable, more unforgettable this season than settling into Seat 1A, on Boxing Day, of the Singapore Airlines A380—the world’s best—and being cosseted, fawned over, and plied with the finest caviar and cuvée, all the way to the most intriguing 21st-century cosmopolis on our planet today—Singapore! Now, that would be beyond fabulous—it would be fagulous!
Designer, exhausted mom
M: Tell us some of your favorite holiday gifts, if you would.
Hicks: I once received a porcelain-china gravy dish from my godfather, Prince Charles. I was about 8 years old at the time, so it was a little confusing. Of course, later it became apparent this was part of a set of china. Each birthday and Christmas, another piece of the collection arrived, and now, in my mid-forties, I have a complete dining set, which is so grand that I nervously keep it wrapped up in the Thomas Goode boxes the pieces originally arrived in!
Writer (Mark Hampton: The Art of Friendship), mom, grandmother, theatergoer, New Yorker
M: What’s the best present you have received?
Hampton: In the late 1980s, Carol and Punch Sulzberger steered me down the weight-gain path (my husband, Mark, simply metabolized the calories right away) by sending our family a five-pound box of Enstrom’s “World Famous” Almond Toffee from Grand Junction, Colorado. I have been sending and giving boxes of it to friends ever since…and those friends are known to get anxious if their candy doesn’t arrive just when they want it.
M: Best presents given?
Hampton: The collapsible back-scratcher I gave to a bunch of people in 2002 was a great hit. It looked like a little pen—even had a pocket clamp on it. To this day, I will run into someone from that party who tells me that was the greatest present ever!
Fashion and jewelry designer, celebrity stylist
M: It’s gift-giving time, isn’t it?
Flynn: I start breaking into hives at the thought of gifts. I mean, to figure out what to buy, for whom, and what—who knows what everyone wants or what they may already have? So last year I began to custom-gift for friends and family, and this turned into a small collection, Hawk N Sparrow. The inspiration came to me when I wanted to wear something Jack Sparrow’s sister would wear. So I began making these custom items and giving them as Christmas gifts. I would make a cool leather jacket, a hand-painted flannel-and-tee combo, studded fingerless gloves, and it’s cool.
Founder, The Cinema Society
M: What’s your approach to buying Christmas gifts?
Saffir: I like giving people things that they can use but wouldn’t necessarily splurge on for themselves. A really luxurious, zillion-ply cashmere sweater or cashmere socks, for example.
M: Have you ever received a particularly memorable present?
Saffir: [My boyfriend] Daniel [Benedict] bought me a set of antique formal studs and cuff links—from England, from the 1920s—that I love and wear every time I have to slip into black tie. I also like just about anything monogrammed. A monogrammed gift shows you didn’t wait until December 24 to buy it—as I often do.
Out.com columnist, man-about-town
M: Hi, Michael. What would you like this year for Chr—
Musto: I have a bad-movie club consisting of myself and four other friends who get together on a regular basis to watch terrible films in my apartment. And we’ve devised a great strategy for Christmas gifting. Every year, about a month before the holiday, we send each other lists of exactly what we want. This way, we get to attempt to erase the horrors of our childhoods while nabbing the precise gifts of our dreams. We also allow for the opportunity to throw in an extra surprise thing or two for each person, to keep things spontaneous and interesting.
M: Anything specific in mind?
Musto: This year, I’m requesting The Disaster Artist (the book about the best bad movie of all time, The Room), as well as a DVD of The Sweet Ride (an obscure 1968 flick with Michael Sarrazin, Jacqueline Bisset, and Bob Denver, set in Malibu), Yves Rocher shower gels, and large socks. And I will get them!
JOAN JULIET BUCK
Writer, actor, editor
M: What would you like this year, Ms. Buck?
Buck: I want a Volvo station wagon, and I need it before Christmas.
Designer, actor, founder of House of Waris
M: What’s a good gift this year?
Ahluwalia: I’ve been spending quite a bit of time on the island of Murano this year, making glasses. Well, to be forthright, I’m not doing the blowing, just the sketching. What’s better than handblown, personalized glasses?
Author of An Extraordinary Theory of Objects: A Memoir of an Outsider in Paris
M: Do you have a strategy when it comes to buying for others?
LaCava: The hardest person to buy for is my husband. I got him this antique set of hard-to-find books one year. I think he opened it and said something like, “Tiny books, just what I always wanted!” He’s very much a gentleman and always appreciative, though.
Investment banker, husband of Lucy Sykes Rellie
M: Evening, Mr. Rellie. Christmas. Go.
Rellie: Christmas is the most lonely time of the year for many people, and the most stressful. Suicide becomes super fashionable. We should really be generous with our time and with our attention, and patient and thoughtful. That’s probably the kindest gift we can give.
M: What else?
Rellie: Lucy is buying all of her presents from eBay this year. Probably just a coincidence that eBay just hired her as a consultant and curator. We’re friends with Devin Wenig, who runs eBay. He is a cool guy, but Lucy has become a bore, just talking about eBay all day long.
M: Any other tips?
Rellie: The simple key to buying presents is that you have to buy something the person wouldn’t buy for himself. Otherwise, there’s not much point. You might as well just lend him some money. And please don’t give me novelty gifts. Save your money. I’m middle-aged now. I want socks and woolly jumpers and handkerchiefs and all those things I hated getting when I was a kid.
Rellie: Plum Sykes wrote a good piece in The Spectator saying how fed up she was of giving gifts to all her nephews and nieces and getting nothing in return. This year we’re going to Plum Sykes’ newly built stately home in Gloucestershire, and my mother-in-law is making me dress as Father Christmas and come down the chimney. Christmas is lovely for the kids. It’s all bloody work for the dads. In England, we’re more obsessed with the thank-you letters than with the original present. I spend about 65 percent of my time now trying to persuade my feral sons to write thank-you letters. It’s basically hopeless. My sons have decided they want to be Jewish. They prefer Hanukkah to Christmas. Heathcliff, 10, says he loves the dreidel. He is also the only child in the world who claims not to like ice cream.
TV host, author, journalist, and performer of musical roasts and toasts
M: What about Christmas? Do you like it?
Mason: I usually spend Christmas in Sag Harbor, with my friend Ivana Lowell and her daughter Daisy (now 14). As a Christmas treat, I always make Daisy a big, bubbling batch of ginger-butterscotch sauce, one of her favorites, and give her some electronic accoutrement du jour.
M: Anything else?
Mason: Every year I give my parents the same gift, which they seem to adore: a dual membership to the Royal Oak Foundation, so they can explore National Trust castles and gardens all over England. It’s a miraculously simple gift that keeps on giving.
M: Tell us about a nice gift you once gave.
Driver: My mother, Gaynor, cycles everywhere in London. And she’s always cold, and it’s always raining, and she’s very chic. So I knew that I had to buy her a very beautiful coat that she could wear on her bike. It had to be shortish but cover her knees. So I went to Prada, and I found the most beautiful fur-lined rain jacket, and at the same time I found the most wonderful bag that was the perfect size that she could swing across her like a messenger bag—she could still cycle and look chic and be protected from the rain.
M: What would you like to receive?
Driver: I reeeeally want a Porsche. But no one’s going to buy me that. What I would really like is, I want a bread-maker. And I want a sewing machine. But I’d like an old sewing machine. I’d quite like an old Singer one. I don’t sew that much, but I would love to have a lovely old sewing machine.
Interior designer, writer
M: Any memorable presents you can think of offhand?
Netto: One Christmas, my father and I went to Verdura and picked out a pin together, which we gave my mother, and it was terrific. It was one of the largest aquamarines in the world. My mother was rather overwhelmed. And that same Christmas I got from him, very unexpectedly, one of the rarest architecture books that you
can own, which is Colen Campbell’s Vitruvius Britannicus. It’s an extremely rare book from the 18th century.
M: What’s Christmas like for you now?
Netto: The great thing is when you have children. I love Christmas because of my kids, and in the tradition of Netto family first editions, I gave Kate, my daughter, a first edition of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, beautifully bound, that I found in London. It’s got a great leather binding, and the book is by Ian Fleming, which she won’t care about until much later. But we certainly love the movie, so it was something special between her and me.
Chef, cookbook author, founder of gourmet food line The Beverly Hills Kitchen
M: What do you want this year?
Hitz: When it’s Christmas, all I ever want is Green Vitabath. I use it every day, and it’s getting harder and harder to find.
M: What do you like to give?
Hitz: I always send food—blue cheese, caramel cakes, foie gras. People thank me at the gym for months afterward. Some years, I just send a donation to a food bank or children’s home instead of buying presents. That’s my favorite, but people have said to me, “We are touched, Alex, but next year just send the present!”