12 Days of Christmas Gifts, Day One: Barneys Holiday 2013 Beauty Box

I'm shaking things up a bit this year with my gift guide. Having left New York three months ago, I haven't been attending press previews and market appointments and thus am not totally spilling forth with gift ideas for everyone on your list. Instead, this year I'm going to pick twelve great gifts and expound upon what makes them so wonderful. They might not come every day, but I promise I'll be done by Christmas (which, side note, is just three weeks away). Let's start shopping!

Today is Cyber Monday, which, if you have an email address, you are likely aware; I think I had 152 messages in my "shopping" filter by the time I got to work at 9 a.m. Cyber Monday got its yucky name from the common wisdom that people start their holiday shopping online once they're back at work the Monday after Thanksgiving (this term was apparently coined in the dark days when people didn't have computers at home and used words like "cyber"). It has evolved into a barrage of one screaming deal after another, and if you're a bargain hunter, it's certainly a good time to shop. For the record, I only bought one thing today, mostly because I was overwhelmed and turned off; I felt like the drunk girl in the bar at 1:45 a.m.

So as an anthesis to all that, today's gift is something that was not discounted and likely will never be: Meet the Barneys New York 2013 Holiday Beauty Box. Filled with a generous sampling of some of the best names from Barneys' beauty department, the box features mainstays like Creme de Mer and Kiehl's avocado eye cream, cult favorites like Koh Gen Doh cleansing water and Lipstick Queen lipstick, limited-edition products from Bobbi Brown and Jay-Z, plus particularly intriguing fragrance sample sets from Le Labo and Eccentric Molecule. If this was the only gift I got for Christmas, I'd probably be ok with that; considering it's $850, I think it literally would be, if everyone with whom I exchange gifts pooled their money and maybe robbed a bank too. The irony is that the beauty box technically is a bargain--according to the description, it's an $1800 value. But, like beauty (oh, see what I did just there?), maybe bargains are in the eye of the beholder.

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