Holiday Gift Guide

Mark Cuban says this is his go-to holiday gift to give

Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban smiles during the game between the New York Knicks and the Dallas Mavericks at Madison Square Garden on January 30, 2019 in New York City.
Elsa | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

When you're in business, you have to give a lot of gifts. As such, some power players have go-tos.

Kevin O'Leary likes to give cash as a holiday gift, for example. Oprah Winfrey often gives books. Bethenny Frankel has said she often gives Starbucks gift cards and her Skinnygirl products. And diplomats have been known to give a lot of Warren Buffett-owned See's Candies.

So what does the star of ABC's "Shark Tank" and billionaire Mark Cuban give?

"Alyssa's healthy cookies. People get so much junk food [at the holidays], they need something tasty, low-cal and healthy!" he tells CNBC Make It.

(Fun fact: In January 2017, Redef CEO Jason Hirschhorn told his newsletter readers that, indeed, Cuban sent him a "big box" of Alyssa's cookies.)

For Cuban, Alyssa's is a gift that gives back — to him. Cuban invested in the company, which makes cookies from unrefined grains, dried fruits and nuts, when its co-founder Doug Saraci sent him a box of cookies with a note asking for $50,000 in exchange for 25% of the business in February 2012, according to Saraci. (His own little "Shark Tank"-inspired pitch.)

"My wife [Svitlana] thought that was funny. She said a billionaire would not eat cookies from a box that some guy from Florida would send to him," Saraci told CNBC Make It.

Saraci and his wife were out of work in 2010 when they borrowed money from a family member and started a small cafe in Lake Park, Florida. But despite lots of menu options, return customers seemed to only want the cafe's homemade healthy oatmeal cookies, which they called Alyssa's cookies, after their daughter. So the couple shifted their focus to only cookies.

At the time, Saraci watched every episode of "Shark Tank," and always liked Cuban. Instead of trying to apply to the show, he sent Cuban the cookies and the letter.

A week later, says Saraci, Cuban sent him an email, saying "I love them, I'm in."

Cuban has said he eats the Healthy Oatmeal Bites, $5.95 for eight cookies.

VIDEO2:2702:27
How to give gifts within your budget

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

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