gifts they might actually want

The Best Subscription Services for Every Type of Person (That Also Make Great Gifts)

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photo: Retailer

When you don’t know someone that well (or are just fresh out of ideas), it can be hard to find a gift that’s thoughtful but doesn’t require too much effort. And although gift certificates are great, they can feel a little impersonal. Subscription boxes, however, land right in that good-gift sweet spot, epitomizing the phrase “the gift that keeps on giving.” With so many themed boxes out there, choosing the right one shows that you at least made an effort — but because someone else is curating the contents of the box, putting it together, and doing the packaging and delivery, it’s oftentimes just as simple as buying an e-gift card. And your gift will continue to surprise and delight for several weeks or months — I’ve received several subscription boxes myself, and coming home to an unexpected shipment that I’d forgotten was en route never failed to put a smile on my face.

To make choosing the right subscription box as easy as possible, we’ve put together a list of some of the best giftable options out there — many of which we’ve tried ourselves, so they’re actually good, not just boxes of junk. Below, our picks for the best gift subscription boxes for every kind of giftee. Prices are listed as the lowest, one-month plan, unless otherwise noted.

Have a more specific gifting question? Try our new gift search tool here!

Food and drink

For the coffee lover ready to level up from Starbucks

For those still in the process of figuring out their coffee preferences, Driftaway’s first subscription box will be a tasting kit of four two-ounce bags of coffee, and after they review those, they’ll be able to tailor future shipments.

For the coffee lover with a highly picky palate

But if they already know what they like, Trade Coffee might be a better bet. The company uses a quiz to match recipients with one of more than 400 coffees in its collection, curated from 54 local roasters spread across 38 states, so even the most serious coffee snobs should find something to suit their taste.

For the person with a pantry full of Pocky

Help them expand beyond the offerings at their local Mitsuwa with a Bokksu subscription. Each month, they’ll receive a variety of snacks and teas sourced directly from small family businesses in Japan, like black-sesame cookies and chile-oil chips.

For the person who religiously watches Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

Photo: Retailer

If they’re fascinated by Wisconsin cheese curds or Alaskan kelp pickles, small-batch snack purveyor Mouth has an Indie box for that. Each box contains snacks, drinks, condiments, and more originating from a different region in the U.S.

For the person with a very entry-level spice cabinet

Once a month, they’ll receive a freshly ground small-batch spice blend along with recipes to use it with, with previous blends including garam masala, za’atar, and shawarma seasoning.

For the dinner-party host

Platterful’s charcuterie kits make it easy to create a stunning spread for their next soirée. Each box contains a selection of meats, cheeses, and accompaniments, supplemented with how-to videos and instructions for arranging the most aesthetic display.

For the person who always saves room for dessert

Shark Tank success story Doughp has launched a subscription service for its low-sugar, egg-free cookie dough. Each month, subscribers will get two pints of a surprise-flavor dough that’s both bakeable and edible all on its own.

For the person downing mugs of Earl Grey

With Atlas Tea Club’s tea-of-the-month-club membership, they’ll get to enjoy single-origin teas from around the world. It comes loose-leaf, which tea snobs will love, but newbies won’t be left behind, since each variety comes with steeping recommendations, tasting notes, and a postcard about the history of the region the tea came from.

For the person making matcha lattes at home

This isn’t the same matcha you’d find at Starbucks — Sorate sources its ceremonial-grade matcha from small, family-owned farms in Uji, Kyoto. Each monthly delivery consists of a sachet of matcha and a sachet of green tea with different varieties including sencha, genmaicha, gyokuro, or hojicha. If you’re a matcha newbie, there’s also a box for beginners that provide smaller sample sizes.

For the person who goes apple-picking every autumn

From $39

Yes! Apples will deliver a box of orchard-fresh apples grown in upstate New York right to their doorstep. Varieties are dependent on the season, but the sweet-tart Honeycrisp is available nearly year-round.

For the person who’s in need of frosting fix

If cupcakes are their sweet treat of choice, send them a fresh batch from Sprinkles. The Favorites box contains all the best-selling flavors from the iconic cupcake purveyor, from red velvet to dark chocolate.

For the person who makes popcorn on the stove

Cheerie Lane’s gluten-free, non-GMO heirloom kernels are perfect for the popcorn aficionado. This four-month subscription will allow them to try all of the brand’s fun flavors, including Rosemary Garlic and Tomato Basil.

For the person starting to get serious about wine

Photo: Retailer

Strategist writer Dominique Pariso named SommSelect the best wine subscription overall after speaking to a whole slew of wine professionals. The offerings are curated by master sommelier Ian Cauble (he of Netflix’s documentary Somm fame), and each delivery is themed.

For the person starting to get serious about wine (who you don’t want to spend of money a ton on)

Our runner-up best wine subscription which Pariso heard about from the former editor-in-chief of Wine Enthusiast.

For the casual wine drinker

From $90

Each bottle in Usual’s “by-the-glass” wine subscription holds 6.3 ounces of wine — a little more than a standard pour — and you can choose brut, rosé, red, or a mix of all three.

For the hipster wine drinker

If they’re constantly name-dropping under-the-radar wineries and small vineyards, they’ll likely be interested in Korean steakhouse Cote’s wine club. The wines are curated by the Michelin-starred restaurant’s beverage directors Mia Van de Water and Victoria James, and include a mix of limited releases and hard-to-get wines with a focus on producers who are committed to organic, biodynamic, sustainable, or la lutte raisonnée practices.

For the wine drinker who can blind-taste the difference between Cab Sauv and Merlot

Strategist’s Vox Media cousin, Eater, has a wine club that curates a monthly selection of either two or four bottles. Your recipient will also be issued an invite to virtual wine parties with the sommeliers behind the picks and receive a newsletter to learn more about each wine.

For the oyster aficionado

If they’re such a shellfish fanatic that they’re willing to put in the work to shuck at home, Real Oyster Cult, run by a family of oyster farmers, will handpick peak-season oysters from farms around the country to send them every month. Each shipment will be a surprise, but if they’d prefer a sampler, choose the 40- or 60-count option and they’ll get two or three varieties, respectively.

For the person who’ll eat anything from the sea

Sitka Seafood Market offers a rotating, seasonal selection of sustainably harvested Alaskan seafood, including sockeye salmon, lingcod, rockfish, and sablefish. Each box is guaranteed to contain two varieties and at least 4.5 pounds of premium-grade fish.

For the bartender-in-training

From $40

With Cocktail Courier, they’ll receive a monthly cocktail-making kit, with enough mixers and garnishes to create six to eight drinks — and for an extra $25, the alcohol is included too.

For the person who attends every day of the San Gennaro festival

Indulge their carb cravings with a subscription from artisanal pasta-maker Sfoglini. In each quarterly shipment, they’ll receive six boxes of the brand’s signature organic semolina pasta, three boxes of specialty pasta, and six recipes so they can make the most of these premium noods. A half-year subscription includes two shipments, for a total of 12 pastas.

For the person who dumps hot sauce on everything

Photo: retailer

They won’t be able to find the small-batch sauces included in this subscription at their neighborhood supermarket. Each shipment features two hot sauces from specialty producers across the country, many of which have been won accolades at regional and national culinary competitions.

For the person whose go-to snack is cheese and crackers

This entry-level subscription will let them try three cheeses a month, though at the highest level, you can get a full cheese board — perfect for people who entertain regularly.

For the person with a candy crush

From $50

Keep their sweet tooth satisfied with a monthly rotation of six six-ounce candy cups.

For the avowed carnivore

If they don’t live near a local butcher shop, Porter Road’s curated meat boxes are delivered once a month and contain everything from dry aged steaks to bacon to country sausage. The Best of Porter Road box is a sampler containing an assortment of meats, but there are specialized boxes as well, such as just dry-aged beef or breakfast meats.

For the bread buff

Eastern Standard Provisions’ artisanal soft pretzels and waffles are bound to delight the gluten lover in your life. This best-sellers box contains three different pretzel shapes, plus a jar of mustard and some classic coarse salt. They arrive frozen, but a quick jaunt in the oven and they’ll come out warm, soft, and delicious.

Home and hobbies

For the incorrigible Kickstarter supporter

Breo Box
From $169
From $169
Photo: retailer

Each season, your favorite gadget dad, gearhead, or all-around lover of innovative doodads will receive a box of five to eight items including tech devices, kitchen equipment, and fitness gear; recent boxes have included massager roller balls, self-warming mugs, and fabric shavers.

For the doting cat owner

KitNipBox
From $23
From $23

Of course, if your friend is an avowed cat person, they might prefer receiving a subscription to KitNipBox. Each box is filled with toys, treats, and other cat-related products that are sure to delight any kitty.

For the doting dog parent

BarkBox’s monthly subscription box, which comes filled with treats, chew toys, and more goodies for your furry friend, is one of our top gifts for dog lovers.

For the person trying to balance their chakras

Crystal collectors will love this monthly shipment containing four to six gemstones or mineral specimens accompanied by info on where each piece is sourced, how it’s formed, and what healing properties it contains.

For the person who loves to soak

Bath Bevy’s boxes contain all the products they’ll need to elevate bath time, from whipped soaps to bath bombs to salt scrubs sourced from indie brands. If they love a self-care moment but don’t have the luxury of a tub, Bath Bevy also offers a Tubless option containing lotions, shower steamers, and more.

For the person who doesn’t have health insurance

From $40

If they can’t afford real therapy, this care package designed and curated by therapists might help them through a tough time. Each one includes a happiness activity and six to eight wellness items to encourage relaxation and introspection, such as bath salts, candles, and face masks.

For the person who spends their weekends logging miles

From $40

Every other month, a box loaded with hydration tablets, energy bars, and other products and accessories geared toward runners — even sneaker detergent — will ship straight to their doorstep.

For the person who keeps their car spick-and-span

Help them upgrade from Black Ice with Drift, which sends a new car freshener made of either wood, stone, or metal every month or two months. They can choose from classic scents like coffee or grove, or go with the limited-edition “scent of the month.”

For the neat freak who’s anxious about their paper-towel usage

With MightyNest’s MightyFix subscription, each month they’ll receive a sustainable household product, like Swedish dishcloths or all-natural dish soap, so they can start to implement greener choices without feeling overwhelmed.

For the wannabe world traveler who’s out of PTO

Undiscovered Artisan Box will help them experience other cultures from the comfort of their own home. They’ll have their choice of five items from the region they’re exploring, plus extras like recipe cards and travel tips.

For the person who loves surprises

For $35 a month, your giftee will receive a made-to-order “sustainably and ethically made comfort item.” Past items include the now-famous Cloud Socks, Oaxacan ceramic mugs, and artisanal Ethiopian coffee.

For the sticker fiend

Pipsticks is a monthly sticker subscription that’s perfect for tweens, teens, or adults who enjoy crafting, scrapbooking, journaling, or just adorning every blank space they see. Each mailing includes a reusable storage pouch, 15 sheets of stickers, a postcard, and an activity book.

For the person who’s picked up puzzling

Gift the relaxing yet stimulating challenge of completing a puzzle with a subscription to Jiggy, which sends out a fresh 500-piece puzzle each month for them to pore over.

For the person who lights up on the regular

Lovepot, an L.A.–based floral service, delivers dried smokable hemp-flower bouquets with relaxing CBD which can be used as tea, as an herbal smoke blend, or for an aromatherapy bath. Gift it all to one friend who needs stress relief on the regular, or change the delivery address every month and send it to whomever needs it most.

For the person who’s watched all 26 seasons of Naruto

Loot Crate’s anime-themed box contains a mix of apparel, gear, and collectibles from beloved properties old and new. Past boxes have featured merchandise from franchises such as Aggretsuko, Berserk, and Jujutsu Kaisen.

For the person who loves all things kawaii

Pusheen Box
From $44
From $44

They’ll squeal with delight over this quarterly Pusheen subscription filled with apparel, home décor, and accessories emblazoned with the cute cartoon cat’s likeness. (For cat owners, there’s also a box filled with Pusheen-themed cat gear; Strategist sales editor Sam Daly received a neckerchief that amplified her tabby’s “cuteness levels exponentially.”)

For the music snob who prefers Bandcamp to Spotify

If they’re constantly on the hunt for up-and-coming bands, Vinyl Post is another way for the music lover in your life to learn about new artists. Each month, Vinyl Post will send a postcard (that’s actually a record you can play on a turntable) featuring one song from an indie artist, a handwritten note from the artist, and custom artwork.

For the person who always invites you to game night

Unbox Boardom will help them discover new games with a monthly delivery of a game of their choosing. The selection includes strategy games, party games, family board games, and more, and your giftee can pick titles based on ratings for complexity, kid-friendliness, and ease of play.

For the person who loves a candle

Subsidize their high burn rate with a steady delivery of new candles from Vellabox. Every month, they’ll receive an all-natural soy, coconut, or vegetable-based candle made by small-batch artisanal candlemakers from around the country.

For the boyfriend who’s exceptionally hard to shop for

Each Bespoke Post box is centered on a certain theme. The Copper box, for example, features cocktail equipment to help build out the perfect home bar, while the Guard contains fancy insect repellent and other anti-bug gear for outdoorsy folks.

For the new homeowner

From $20

Starting at just $20 a month (for an eight-by-ten print or smaller), they’ll work with an Art Crate curator to find a piece of art to fill their walls, and each month they can add more until they’re satisfied with their gallery. The brand also offers framing, which bumps the starting price for prints up to $59 a month.

For the person posting their plant babies more than their actual kids

Horti
From $28
From $28

With Horti’s plant-of-the-month subscription, you can specify whether your giftee will need plants that are newbie-friendly or pet-friendly, or go for a Horti’s Pick selection, so there is something for everyone.

For the person who’s merely plant-curious

This subscription service exclusively sends succulents, the perfect plant for beginners. For $11 a month, Succulent Studios will mail two eight-week-old succulents from their farm in California right to the recipient’s door along with care instructions so they really can’t mess up.

For the person who never leaves the farmers’ market without a fresh bouquet

Brighten their day with a rotating shipment of blooms from Fresh Sends. There’s no guesswork involved in deciding what arrangement to get — the company creates unique arrangements based on what flowers are in season.

For the person with a taste for classic roses

Known as the preeminent supplier of garden roses in the U.S., Grace Rose Farm now offers a bouquet subscription, curating a seasonal selection of beautiful garden-fresh roses on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis.

For the stressed friend in need of some “me” time

This quarterly self-care box is filled with sex toys, bath and body items, and books.

Books

For the aspiring Jeopardy! contestant

Trivia buffs will appreciate History by Mail, which sends detailed replicas of historical documents along with additional information on the context and cultural significance. Past examples include Albert Einstein’s correspondence with FDR and the police report from when Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat.

For the person whose dream date is dinner and a show

From $58

When we talked to theater-lovers about the best gifts for Broadway enthusiasts, playwright and theater critic Marcus Scott recommended this play subscription service, which he calls a “gold mine for theatergoers and scholars alike.” Your giftee will get a box of seven plays quarterly for $58 a box, and the shipments will include a mix of new plays as well as Broadway Book Club’s best from its back catalogue.

For the person whose FYP is all #BookTok

Help your bookish friend stay up to date on the latest releases with a Book of the Month subscription. The service releases a monthly curated list of new reads on offer, and for $15 a month, your friend or loved one can pick out the one they’re most interested in.

For the small-press fiction enthusiast

The staff at San Francisco’s Green Apple Books runs a subscription program in which they read upcoming releases and pick one new indie-fiction title to mail out every month. Each book comes with a review from the person who selected it.

For the kid who lives for story time

YiLing Chen-Josephson reads hundreds of picture books each month, so you can trust her recommendation. Once you fill out a form with a few details about your giftee and their interests, she’ll handpick one she thinks they’ll enjoy.

For the parent who wants to diversify their kid’s bookshelf

From $33

With a subscription to Just Like Me’s book box, they’ll receive a themed assortment of two to three African American children’s books and educational tools.

Fashion and beauty

For the person rocking cropped pants year-round

Photo: retailer

Clearly they want to show off their socks, so help them keep new ones in the rotation with a monthly delivery of nice-looking patterned options.

For the person whose beauty bible is the EWG

Co-founded by actresses Daniella Monet and Evanna Lynch, Kinder Beauty fills its boxes of skin care and makeup with products that are guaranteed to be cruelty free, vegan, and nontoxic.

For the person who can never decide which necklace to wear

Rocksbox is a jewelry-rental service that will allow them to expand their jewelry collection without making any long-term commitments. Members receive three pieces of jewelry in each shipment — if they fall in love with something, they have the option to purchase it, or they can return any or all of the pieces from each set to swap them out for something new.

For the person who likes their beauty samples Costco-size

From $28

While Ipsy offers cheaper subscriptions than this $28-per-month “BoxyCharm” option, with this one, you’re getting five full-size products.

For the person who carries clear nail polish with them all winter (IYKYK)

Les Belles
From $14
From $14
Photo: Retailer

Help them stop runs in their tights for good by making sure they always have a new pair on deck. All Les Belles styles are made from recycled materials, and the brand’s offerings include classic sheer and opaque tights in neutral shades, plus patterned socks and polka-dot stockings.

For the fraghead who’s saving up to buy Baccarat Rouge

Perfume is expensive — and exceptionally hard to gift — but with ScentBird, they can get a new trial-size fragrance, including cologne, every month for just $16 per month.