So Much for Charlie Brown: How Financiers Trim Trees

  • Wilbur Ross, Tom Hill show holiday spirit at Met Museum
  • Taubman at New York Cares; Lutnick at Dubin Breast Center

It’s not hard to outdo the beloved, dinky Christmas tree in the animated holiday classic “A Charlie Brown Christmas."

“I go tall," said Janine Hill with her husband Tom Hill, a vice chairman of Blackstone Group, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Acquisitions Benefit Thursday night. And yet the tree-trimming in their Colorado home is low-key: Swedish wooden stars, with a little red on them, “very simple, for the mountains," she said.

Hilary and Wilbur Ross

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Wilbur Ross joked his wife sees to decorating the tree -- and him, pointing to his toad-shaped tuxedo studs. But President-elect Donald Trump gave Ross his most noticed decoration: a nomination to be commerce secretary, which brought waves of guests up to offer emphatic “Congratulations," among them Wendi Deng Murdoch and Leonard Stern.

Ross said he’s also been receiving “advice, solutions and resumes, lots of resumes." He’s looking for “serious people" to staff a department of 47,000 employees, though he doesn’t have to hire all 47,000, he said.

He and his wife Hilary will spend the holiday in Palm Beach with family heirlooms on the tree, and some decorations provided by florist Tom Mathieu. They’re looking to buy a house in Washington, so come next year, who knows.

Richard Chilton

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Richard Chilton’s Christmas in Connecticut will be around a tree about 8 feet tall, or a foot-and-a-half taller than him, which makes for good family photos, said his wife, Maureen Chilton. As chairman of the New York Botanical Garden, she’s refined how to pick a prime specimen. This year it’s a “nice, full blue spruce" with mercury glass balls that fascinate their new puppy. “She doesn’t understand why there are balls on the tree," she said. “She’ll hit them with her nose."

Christopher and Janice Savin Williams will be heading to Turks and Caicos, so she only decorated a tree on the trading floor of the Williams Capital Group. On the gift list: various doormen and bonuses at the office, he said.

Holiday-neutral at the Met

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Colby Mugrabi, wife of art dealer Alberto Mugrabi, said they decorate their tree with shark ornaments (not by Damien Hirst), and a slice-of-pizza bauble by Nate Lowman, made to benefit RxArt.

As for the benefit they were attending, the decorations were holiday-neutral. In the Temple of Dendur, Leon Black, Howard Marks, Oscar Schafer and about 350 others dined at tables covered in rose velvet on mirrored chargers. The flowers were amnesia roses, blush anemones from the south of France, fiddlehead ferns from California and silver brunia from Zimbabwe, said Remco van Vliet, who sees to such details at the Met.

Kenny Dichter rocks out in a pink tie

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

At the Dubin Breast Center’s benefit on Monday, the flowers were hot pink orchids, a nod to the color associated with efforts to cure and treat breast cancer. The honorees were Shoshana and Kenny Dichter, founder and chief executive of aviation company Wheels Up, which has a pink Beechcraft King Air 350i that benefits the Dubin Breast Center where Shoshana was treated. Also looking in the pink were Glenn and Eva Dubin, Howard Lutnick, Michael Karsch, Jon Blum and certainly Dichter, as he belted along with the cast of “Rock of Ages."

Richard Bilotti and Paul Taubman

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

New York Cares took a pass on holiday decor -- or any decor at all -- at its benefit on Wednesday, with no flowers on the tables in the ballroom of the Plaza.

Instead many guests shared how the nonprofit helps them get in the holiday spirit through their actions. Paul Taubman of PJT Partners, chairman of New York Cares, said his firm participates in a coat drive, and employees also answer Winter Wishes, letters from needy children telling of their holiday gift desires.

Seth Meyers, Alexi Ashe and Emmy Rossum

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

There was one benefit though that felt extremely Christmas-y. It was at Lincoln Center on Tuesday and honored designer Carolina Herrera with giant bouquets of red roses and lush greens on the tables. Anecdotes of holiday spirit followed. Seth Meyers loves the tree at Rockefeller Center, but not the crowds it brings. Katherine Farley and Jerry Speyer told of their collection of 10 nutcrackers. Glenda Bailey of Hearst’s Harper’s Bazaar is looking forward to Christmas pudding. Katherine And Adrienne Arsht said she always puts out a small wire tree she bought in Cuba in 1957. “It is my Charlie Brown tree!" she said.

(Corrects Alberto Mugrabi’s first name in eighth paragraph.)
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