Power Players

This is Kevin O'Leary's go-to holiday gift (and what's on his own wish list) 

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Kevin O'Leary's go-to holiday gift

When you're as successful as entrepreneur and "Shark Tank" star Kevin O'Leary, there are a lot of gifts to give come holiday time: business colleagues, employees, family friends. And O'Leary has a go-to holiday gift he gives them all: money.

"My favorite gift in the holidays is an envelope full of cash," O'Leary tells CNBC Make It. "Everybody loves that. They really do."

And O'Leary isn't talking about gift cards. (It's been reported that between 2005 and 2011 $41 billion on gift cards went unspent.)

"Cash is the most liquid, you can spend it anywhere you want," he explains. "I've never given a wad of cash to an employee or a friend or a family member that wasn't met with a big smile. Cash with a rose on the envelope? Ooh La La!"

O'Leary says that he even gives his wife cash for the holidays, forgoing more romantic gifts like jewelry.

"I once gave my wife a beautiful Christmas present," he jokes. Because he wanted it to look like he'd actually bought something, "I put a bunch of cash around a sponge and I wrapped it up and she opened it up, and threw it in my face," he recalls, laughing.

But what O'Leary himself wants for the holidays, money can't buy.

"I [tell] my wife, don't give me anything, just your love. I don't need any more stuff. I got a lot of stuff," O'Leary says. "I say the same thing to my kids, just come home for Christmas. That's a great gift to me."

Indeed, O'Leary already has a favorite $2,800 denim jacket and splurges on $120 luxury underwear. What else could he want?

"There comes a point in your life when you have too much stuff," O'Leary says. "I'm at that point now.

"I read this great story once about Barbra Streisand," O'Leary continues, "...she sold all her stuff. She just didn't want any more stuff." (Barbara Streisand auctioned off more than 400 personal items in 2009 for charity, saying she was "through with extra stuff.")

"I thought she was crazy when I read that article," O'Leary says. "Now I understand exactly why she did it."

Don't miss: Kevin O'Leary: If you want to get rich, start working 25 hours a day, 7 days a week

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Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank."

VIDEO1:0501:05
David Bach and Kevin O'Leary: Don't spend a fortune on an engagement ring


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