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Q&A: Good Wrap


Home Style: So you're actually from Virginia?

Fary: I'm from West Point, but all of my shopping growing up was in Richmond. Willow Lawn and Regency Square were the only two malls at the time. ... My mother was ahead of her years in terms of pampering her exuberant shopping child, and we'd take a day off of school and go shopping once a year. …We'd go to see the Santa Claus at Miller & Rhoads on Broad Street … he was the real Santa Claus. You got to talk into the microphone and say what you wanted. I always asked for something highly embarrassing to my father, like Barbie clothes.

Tell me about your book.

My book is designed to be the ultimate gift guide. … The basic concept is how to use what I learned over the past seven years and boil that down to simple techniques for people for how to give gifts on their own.

First off, it's so painfully obvious — thoughtfulness is something people throw around — but if you sit down and think about it, if you kind of brainstorm a little bit before you go shopping, the perfect gift will jump out at you, instead of going to the mall and feeling overwhelmed and picking something that doesn't even make sense for the person.

When you're working on a budget, it's really important to rely on nostalgia, creativity and presentation. An inexpensive gift that's presented in an extraordinary way will be automatically perceived as more valuable.

One of my favorite packaging things is to incorporate fresh flowers into the gift. We have a lot of amazing beautiful sunflowers here in L.A., and so I just work them into the ribbon and the bow. Also finding a really neat paper store and stocking up on papers, ribbons and bows is good. It's like being on a diet. If you stock your refrigerator with healthy good foods, that's what you'll eat. Create a closet or a shelf where you have packaging things — ribbons and papers and faux ivy — you need to be prepared.

Do you have any celebrity war stories?

I've been very fortunate in my experiences. They are gracious and kind. … Heather Locklear always sends [a thank-you note] within a week.

What's one of your favorite gift bags that you've put together?

The Grammy bag is the biggest one we do in terms of the publicity. It's the most fun — it's not so stuffy like the Tonys. We always balance it by making sure we have the full spectrum, from personal hygiene, like toothpaste and perfume and skin-care products, to really expensive trips and gift certificates and trips to the Bahamas, things for their dogs, dolls for their kids.

I'm a big proponent of regifting. I think that regifting's gotten a bad rap. It's fine if you do it with the same rules of giving a gift of any type. It has to be thoughtful and it has to be appropriate to the person. Otherwise it wouldn't have been a good idea in the first place. For example, we give things to talent knowing that this is a man, but we're going to put a woman's purse in because we know they have a special woman in their life.

But bags are a lot of work. If people are having a dinner party and want to give a gift bag, I'm like, well don't! You're already cooking dinner. But bottles of gourmet olive oil, or vinegar, or even little good-night packages with a face mask and skin cream are good.

We spend six months to a year putting together the Grammy gift bag every year. They're for the presenters and performers because they don't get paid. People often ask why we give all this free stuff to rich people. And I say that just because you're rich and famous, does that mean you cease to be eligible for gratitude?

What do you recommend to get for people who have it all?

Even people who have everything tend to like specific things. Celine Dion, for example, loves shoes. So you could get her an amazing pair of shoes and she'd be happy as a clam. Catherine Zeta-Jones loves candles. And as someone who loves candles myself, I can tell you that you will never have enough candles. Fresh flowers will always be a hit.

What do you want for Christmas?

I always want anything from Williams-Sonoma, shoes from Louis Vuitton, holiday ornaments. There's a new illustrated hardcover edition of "The Da Vinci Code." "Nip/Tuck," "Will & Grace" and "24" on DVD, and Votivo candles. My favorite — and the best-selling one at Tinker's — is red currant.

Tinker's 14th Annual Holiday Open House will benefit the Children's Network International. The event will be held Nov. 4 from 6 to 10 p.m. and Nov. 5 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 2409 Westwood Ave. 359-3301.


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