How To Throw The Perfect Party

The following excerpt comes from Laurin Sydney's new book, Why Bother? Why Not : A Hollywood Insider Shows You How to Entertain Like a Star, in a Snap!

Buy your copy of Why Bother? Why Not!

Chapter One

Your Presents Are Required

In my "biz" I've often had to buy gifts for the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Steven Spielberg, and Michael Jordan, to name a few. What can you possibly buy the person who has everything and who can charge anything and everything for him- or herself?

Once you've conquered this assignment, choosing that gift for your ex-husband will be a piece of cake. And the good news is, you don't even need to mortgage your house!

When I had to buy Audrey Hepburn a thank-you gift for a favor she had done for me, I packed a Tiffany bag with one dozen of her favorite New York bagels (poppy seed, by the way). They were from H&H bagels (2239 Broadway, New York, NY; 212-595-8003), who will FedEx their bagels to wherever you live. It was Breakfast at Tiffany's for $4.95 and she loved every bite.

I interviewed super hoopster Michael Jordan about his men's perfume line and agreed that the scent was like sex in a bottle. I later emptied a bottle of the aphrodisiac and filled it with a subscription to a provocative magazine — a tailor-made present, all in good fun. It was a slam dunk.

And speaking of "Taylor-made" presents, when Elizabeth Taylor jetted to the south of France to host her annual AmFAR event, an Hermes leather bag filled with lilac roses awaited her in her villa (this was obviously not courtesy of 1-800-FLOWERS).

When you're having trouble finding just the right little somethin', don't, I repeat don't, go shopping. First sit down and think creatively. In the realm of gift giving, ingenuity is priceless.

And for Pete's sake, if you're not going to listen to me and you're on your way to the store to buy a tie for your boss, at least drop a tie around a wine bottle with a note that says, "Tie one on for your birthday." You may not get a raise, but you will get an honorable mention!

And if you'd rather Buy Than Try … don't worry — I have many fantastic foolproof gifts up my sleeve that are merely a credit card away.

In this chapter, you'll also find the formula for selecting just the right little somethin' for a birthday, wedding, anniversary, get-well wish, and any of the other marvelous miscellaneous occasions that come up in your life.

Birthdays, Weddings & Anniversaries

I am not suggesting that you get married on your birthday, but since the thought processes behind these three categories are so similar, I've combined them to save you reading time.

Baby Bother

Okay … where do you start? How do you begin to develop your gift-giving technique? Well, it's easy to begin with numbers when you're dealing with birthdays or anniversaries. Have the celebrated number correspond with the amount of items. For instance …

23 lottery tickets for a 23rd birthday

23 golf balls for a 23rd birthday (provided your friend plays golf)

23 issues of a favorite magazine

23 prepaid gallons of gas

23 movie tickets

23 cigars (when applicable)

23 Twinkies (can go a long way for the right person)

23 donations to his or her favorite charity

If you're having trouble coming up with items, think about your person's personal passion.

Big Bother

Now, if you have your thinking cap on, take it off, cuz it will really mess up your hair. But get ready to think of 23 different presents for a 23rd anniversary … . Yes, you do need to bother a bit, but boy is it worth it! These gifts should be very personal. It's hard for me to lead you down the "yellow brick road," not knowing your cast of characters, but these generic ideas might help.

Music Memories: It's very easy to go on the Net and find out the #1 song of a particular year. Armed with that knowledge, Bleeker Bob's Golden Oldies in New York's Greenwich Village (212-475-9677) can most likely locate any album, CD, or 45 ever recorded. Your local music store can also order hard-to-find CDs at no extra charge.

Better With Age: Your local liquor store may stock old bottles of wine, including one whose year corresponds with the date you're looking for, whether it's the year in which your couple was married or your "celebrant" was born. If you can't find your bottle locally, try Sherry-Lehman Wine Shop in New York City (212-838-7500).

Calendar Girl (or Boy): Kinko's puts together a great personal calendar using your photos for $36.95. Your pictures are laminated and positioned as monthly cover pages in an 8 x 10 spiral calendar. The pix can correlate to occasions in the month, and the year can begin whenever you choose. If the birthday is in October, the calendar can go from October to October.

Remember, not all of these assorted presents need to cost money.