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. 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 just as simple as buying an e-gift card. It’s often just as quick, too, since many subscriptions will notify your recipient via email that they have some goodies on the way (or you can print out the confirmation on your own and stick it in a card). Long after the special occasion is over, your gift will keep on giving for several weeks or months.
To make choosing the right subscription box as easy as possible, we’ve curated a list of some of the best giftable options out there — many of which our writers and editors have tried themselves, so they’re actually good, not just boxes of junk. Below, our picks for the best gift subscription boxes for every kind of giftee — from the wine drinker to the beauty blogger to the avid reader.
Food and drink
For the person who religiously watches Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
If they’re into discovering eats from all around the country, Mouth’s Indie box will satisfy. Each month, the box focuses on a different region and includes snacks, condiments, and more from each place. You can easily prepay for either a monthly, 3-, 6-, or 12-month subscription, and your recipient can expect things like Spielman’s Bagel chips in the Oregon box and Lillie’s Q barbecue sauce when they get into the southern regions.
For the coffee lover with a picky palate
Trade uses a quiz to match recipients with one of more than 400 coffees in their collection, curated from 54 local roasters spread across 38 states, so even the most picky coffee snobs should find something to suit their taste.
For the coffee lover who only sips rare roasts
Fellow’s Stagg EKG electric kettle has been a consistent Strategist favorite over the years, recommended over and over again as a great gift for coffee lovers. The brand recently launched its own coffee-subscription service, featuring a seasonal rotation of rare coffees sourced from roasters from around the world. The program offers guidance and brewing tips from Fellow’s in-house coffee experts.
For the coffee lover whose first step is to level up from Starbucks
If they’re graduating to a proper coffee-brewing setup for the first time, Driftaway might be a better option than Trade or Fellow. That’s because their 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 person with a deep love for Moon Cakes
If they appreciated our dive into moon cakes, they’re probably interested in more Asian snacks and treats. With a Bokksu subscription, every month they’ll get 20 to 24 snacks and teas sourced directly from small family businesses in Japan, along with a guide to each product’s origin and flavors, and a list of any allergens you need to know about. To give you a little taste of what they might get, previous boxes included a black sesame cookie, walnut mochi, and chili-oil chips.
For the person always dragging you to a raw bar for happy hour
If they’re willing to put in the work, the oyster lover in your life will greatly appreciate this monthly shipment of oysters. Real Oyster Cult, run by a family of oyster farmers, will handpick peak-season oysters from oyster farms around the country to send your giftee every month. Each shipment will be a surprise, but if you want variety, choose the 40- or 60-count option and you’ll get two or three flavors respectively. Packages start at a 20 count for less than $50.
For the person with a fully stocked bar cart
There are plenty of wine deliveries on this list, but this subscription is for those seeking a stiffer drink. With Cocktail Courier, they’ll receive a cocktail-making kit weekly, biweekly, or monthly, with enough supplies to make six to eight drinks. For $30 per kit, your recipient will get all the mixers and garnishes they need for the featured recipe, and for $50, the alcohol is included too. Select your spirits of choice, and the rest is up to them — but through a subscriber dashboard, you can swap, skip, or add kits whenever you like.
For the person who makes themed charcuterie boards
This entry-level subscription will let them try three to four cheeses a month, though at the highest level you can get a full cheese board — perfect for people who entertain regularly.
For the person who hosts monthly dinner parties
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 instruction manuals for arranging the most aesthetic display. And if your recipient has any dietary restrictions, fear not: Platterful offers vegan and gluten-free options.
For the person who always orders the salad
A shipment of fresh greens in the dead of winter will surely bring some zing to their produce drawer. For the holidays, Willo is offering a subscription that gives you a sneak peek at what a membership with it would be like. Willo is an AI-powered vertical farm and as a member, you own a share of it. Through an app, you can select and monitor your crops and get them sent directly to you. Its Holiday Reset boxes offer a chance to try the produce before committing to a membership. They are available for purchase until December 31, then delivery begins the first week in January. Boxes ship in two-week intervals. This $100 tier will get you two deliveries with items like Toscano kale, joi choi, onion microgreens, and Genovese basil.
For the person who always saves room for dessert
Shark Tank success story Doughp has launched a subscription service for its egg-free cookie dough. Each month, subscribers will get two pints of dough that can be eaten raw or baked into cookies. The “secret” portion of this particular subscription is that the flavors will be a surprise every month, but considering the brand’s classic offerings are flavors like Cookie Monsta, Fairy Dust, and Cinna Mood, whatever they get should be exciting and delicious.
For the postpartum mom too focused on the baby to worry about herself
Making time for your own health as a new mom can be challenging, but if you think your friend who just gave birth will eat a cookie before they swallow a handful of supplements, this is the perfect subscription box for them. Agni makes foods that are both healing and delicious. This gift box for new moms comes with double chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, sesame nori seasoning, and tulsi cinnamon tea, all made with ingredients that support digestion, breast milk production, restful sleep, immune health, and hormone balance. You can buy a single box for $65, but the brand recommends subscribing for three or six months to fully benefit, which brings down the price per month.
For the person who attended every day of the San Gennaro festival
If they can’t get enough Italian food, you can try to indulge their cravings with a three-month pasta-of-the-month-club membership from Sfoglini. Each month brings a box of the brand’s signature organic semolina pasta and a surprise seasonal option, along with recipe cards so they can make the most of these premium noods.
For the person who needs more spice in their life
Expand their palate with a Spice of the Month Club subscription. Once a month, they’ll receive a freshly ground small-batch spice blend along with recipes to make with it. Previous blends have included garam masala with recipes from North Indian cookbook Just a Dash by Neeti Singhal, so you know they’ll get to taste flavors from around the world. You can gift this subscription for 3, 6, 9, or 12 months or from month to month.
For the person who religiously watches Hot Ones
This company has a ton of very giftable food subscriptions, ideal for the gourmand in your life who’s always looking for new things to taste. We especially like the hot sauce option, which will deliver two small-batch hot sauces every month.
For the person with a candy crush
Keep their sweet tooth satisfied with a monthly rotation of six six-ounce candy cups.
For the person who always asks the waiter “What do you recommend?”
With Eater’s wine club, you’ll get a selection — two or four bottles — of vino chosen by Eater’s favorite wine experts. You’ll be invited to virtual wine parties with the experts and receive a newsletter to learn more about the pros and the wines they picked.
For the person who’s a sommelier-in-training (or wannabe)
Those who are looking to actually learn about wine, rather than just drink it, will appreciate that SommSelect’s monthly send is curated by master sommelier Ian Cauble, and that for $99 a month, they’ll get a selection of four wines curated around a theme, be it a specific region or grape variety. (But that means they don’t get much of a say in what they get, so it’s good if they’re a bit adventurous.)
For the person who insists that natural wine tastes good
Even though it’s often described as “funky,” natural wine has its fans — and for those people, Primal Wine Club is a nice option. The subscription starts at $85 for three bottles of wine, and they can be all-red, all-white, or a mix.
For the person who doesn’t drink very often
Usual is a by-the-glass wine subscription, perfect for the person who never ends up finishing a bottle before it spoils. Each Usual “glass” is an individual bottle that holds 6.3 ounces of wine, a little more than a standard pour. Monthly shipments will provide your giftee with 12 bottles, and you can choose brut, rosé, red, or a mix of all three.
For the Anglophile
If they’re obsessed with British culture, they likely prefer tea, and with a 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 tea comes with steeping recommendations, tasting notes, and a postcard about the history of the area the tea came from.
Beauty and grooming
For the person who likes their beauty samples Costco size
While Ipsy offers cheaper subscriptions than this $28-per-month “Plus” option, with this one you’re getting five full-size products.
For the person who read Let’s Face It
Get the skin-care obsessive in your life Dermstore’s Beautyfix box, which delivers at least six skin-care products valued at over $100 — including lots of Strategist favorites.
For the person who wants Baccarat Rouge but can’t afford it
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.
For the person with a curated fragrance wardrobe
This fragrance subscription works a little differently. Instead of monthly trial-size samples of name-brand perfumes, Ffern, a small-batch perfumery based in Somerset, England, sends members a full-size fragrance every quarter. Strategist writer Dominique Pariso, who recently bought this subscription for herself, says, “My fragrance wardrobe is quite large, but I tend to gravitate toward more cold-weather-appropriate scents, so having a new perfume specifically designed for each season takes the guesswork out of buying new bottles (and feels like a lovely little luxury).” She adds, “Plus, each shipment — which is tied to either the equinox or the solstice — comes with a free sample vial, so if you don’t like the company’s newest creation, you can always send the bottle back and wait until next quarter.” There is currently a wait list for a Ffern membership, but we’ve heard you won’t have to wait long — Pariso got in within a couple of days. Its next shipment will be the winter scent, which has notes of peppermint, sweet orange, and tarragon.
For the boyfriend (or dad or brother) who always says “I don’t want anything”
Bespoke Post is a one-stop shop for any guy on your list. Each box is themed and costs $70. The Alchemy box, for example, features cocktail equipment to help build out the perfect home bar. There are a number of travel options, like Weekender, which gets them new luggage, and Recover, which introduces them to topical CBD. You can get them a gift card for a specific number of a-la-carte boxes or spring for membership, which brings the price of each box down to $49, provides them with access to new boxes each month, and lets them skip or switch a box at anytime.
For the person who’s always complaining about a mysterious rash
If they have sensitive skin, they’ll be happy to know that the Detox Market only stocks green beauty products, meaning they are cruelty free and only made with pure ingredients, which will hopefully eliminate any negative reaction to trying out new products. Each box focuses on a different brand, and you get to sample at least $90 worth of products in a mix of minis and full-size bottles. Past boxes have featured Tata Harper, Briogeo, and Kora Organics.
For the person who refuses to go back to underwires
A bralette subscription will help them start a nice little collection. Each month, they’ll receive a new bralette. The styles change monthly and are released on social media before the shipment goes out. If they don’t like the design, they can skip that month and wait until the next release. Past styles include lacy, longline, and satin designs, so each month will be different. This gifting option will get them three months’ worth of bras, but you can also gift six- and 12-month subscriptions.
For the person who wants to spice up date night
Woman-founded and size-inclusive, Underclub curates a monthly selection of lingerie to add some luxury to your recipient’s underwear drawer. A $15 monthly subscription includes one pair of panties, while the $45-a-month tier includes one pair of panties and a matching bralette.
For the person who carries clear nail polish with them all winter (IYKYK)
Help them stop runs in their stockings for good by making sure they always have a new pair on deck. A Les Belles subscription lets them receive a pair of their choosing each month. All Les Belles tights 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. Fourteen dollars per month will cover one pair in each shipment, but you can gift up to four in each shipment for a higher monthly price.
For the person who likes to travel but has no PTO
There’s a big difference between traveling and vacationing, IMHO. Vacationing is sitting on the beach and never leaving the resort, while traveling is having a tight itinerary filled with sightseeing and adventuring to learn more about wherever you’ve landed. If they’re into the latter, an 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. The current box is all about Thailand and includes embroidered textiles and hand-carved puzzles.
For the person who’s determined to fake it till they make it
If they can’t afford the designer bag of their dreams, you can help them rent it with a Vivrelle membership. They’ll be able to borrow from a selection of high-end handbags and jewelry — think Chanel and Chopard — every month. The Premier membership, which starts at $39 a month, gets you one item under $1,000 with the option of swapping it out the following month or renewing it for as long as you like. Pricier memberships open up access to a more expensive selection of accessories.
For the person who loves surprises
We’re not sure if there is anyone out there who wouldn’t be delighted by a mid-month pick me up, which is exactly what Brother Vellies Something Special subscription offers. 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, and Brother Vellies has teased goods like handcrafted ceramic vases and hand-poured candles as items to come.
For the person with a full earscape
If they’re always popping up with new piercings, help them fill their holes with Rowan’s earring subscription box. Each month, they’ll get a new pair, either in gold vermeil or sterling silver, as well as a surprise accessory and a “mindfulness” card, if they’re into that kind of thing.
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 wears cropped pants year-round
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 who dreams of winning Jeopardy!
To win a quiz game show like Jeopardy!, you need to know a little bit about everything, but certainly history, and this subscription will help them brush up on their knowledge. It’s not technically a book, but it’s certainly educational. Each month, they’ll receive 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 $40, you’ll get a six-month subscription, but if you want to keep the history coming year-round, that will cost you $76.
For the person who’s always interested in dinner and a show
Earlier in the pandemic, when we talked to theater-lovers about the best gifts for people who miss Broadway, playwright and theater critic Marcus Scott recommended this play subscription service. 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 their back catalogue. Scott called this service a “gold mine for theatergoers and scholars alike.”
For kids who live for storytime
This picture-book subscription, curated by YiLing Chen-Josephson, is perfect for even the youngest of readers. She reads hundreds of picture books each month and handpicks the best one for each subscriber, a service writer Stephen Haskell told us makes a great baby gift. You can choose between 3-, 6-, and 12-month subscriptions and select shipments of all-hardcover books, all-paperback, or a mix of both.
For the person who swears they want to read more
Help your bookish friend stay up to date on the latest releases with a Book of the Month subscription. The service curates five new reads monthly, and for $15 a month, your friend or loved one will get one new book, on you.
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 picked it.
For the parent who wants to diversify their kid’s bookshelf
With a Just Like Me Box subscription, they’ll receive a themed box of African American children’s books and educational tools.
Kids and pets
For the mini-fashionista
Claire’s now offers subscription boxes for two age groups. The BitsyDrop, geared toward ages 3–8, features hair accessories, jewelry, makeup sets, and toys. The VibeyDrop is for ages 9 and up, and it’s a Y2K-themed box with lots of gloss, claw clips, and beaded necklaces.
For the kid who loves pieces of flair
There’s no such thing as too many stickers. Pipsticks is a monthly sticker subscription that’s perfect for kids who enjoy crafting, scrapbooking, journaling, or simply 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 kid who really wanted to be on Top Chef Jr.
This box from Kidstir gives budding cooks all the tools they need to succeed in the kitchen. Each box comes with three different recipes as well as a child-friendly cooking gadget to help develop motor skills. A new theme each month covers a variety of different dishes, including desserts, mains, appetizers, drinks, and more.
For the kid who really wanted to be on Junior Bake Off
Upgrade them from an Easy Bake Oven to a Baketivity subscription. Each month they’ll get pre-measured ingredients, a grocery list for anything extra they’ll need, and kid-friendly instructions to help learn more about baking. The recipes will always differ, but past boxes have covered caramel snickerdoodles, cake pops, and soft pretzels.
For the toddler who is easily bored
If you are looking for toys that kids will actually find fun, writer Lauren Ro and her son Augie found this to be the most fun-to-play-with toy-subscription box of the four Montessori toy boxes they tested. “As a parent, I appreciated Lovevery’s focus on play, and I think Augie did too,” Lauren said. “While everything was in service of encouraging skills like grasping at objects and eye-tracking, it was all in the name of fun.”
For the kid who’s over fidget toys
KiwiCo will occupy your kid with a hands-on project to complete — like a stained-glass kit that teaches you how rainbows are formed, or a felt succulent garden — that nurtures their creativity and curiosity. They sell crates, the term the company uses for boxes, for all ages. Crates for kids up to 2 years old ship every other month, and for all other age groups, you can receive them monthly.
For sleep-deprived new parents (who need an extra hour of sleep)
This is a little different than a traditional subscription, but still a gift that keeps on giving. New mom Gena Kaufman recommended this fancy bassinet, which retails for $1,400, as a great gift for new moms. It’s supposed to be a “miracle worker when it comes to baby sleep,” she says, and that’s proven true for her daughter. This rental comes with a sheet and swaddles and automatically charges you monthly until you cancel.
For the devoted dog parent
BarkBox’s monthly subscription box, which comes filled with treats, chew toys, and more goodies for your furry friend, is on our list of the best gifts for dog lovers. “I feel like dogs are always running out of treats,” says Shirley Braha, mom to a senior dog named Phyllis.
For the doting cat owner
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.
Home and hobbies
For the person who likes CBD and something pretty to look at
Lovepot, an L.A.–based floral service, delivers bouquets with smokable CBD stems. Their dried floral arrangements ship nationwide at a discounted rate of $65 a month, and you can pay up front for three-, six-, or 12-month subscriptions. Each month you’ll receive a dried smokable hemp flower bouquet with relaxing CBD which can be used as tea, herbal smoke blend, or for an aromatherapy herbal 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 doesn’t have health insurance
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 self-care. Past boxes have included bath salts, candles, and face masks.
For the person who recently picked up puzzling
What’s more satisfying and relaxing than completing a puzzle? You’ll be able to gift this feeling every month with a subscription to Jiggy. In addition to their more traditional puzzle offerings they now offer a subscription option that sends out a 500-piece puzzle every month. You can gift either a three-, six-, or 12-month subscription and pay monthly, or prepay and save a small percentage.
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 Fire Force, Berserk, and Jujutsu Kaisen.
For the person with an abundance of holiday cheer
If they’re the type who loves to celebrate holidays, from Easter to New Year’s Eve, they’ll appreciate ReadyFestive’s seasonal subscription box that delivers personalized home décor. There are three box sizes to choose from — mini ($69), standard ($99), or deluxe ($159) — and a minimum order of three boxes per year. Just select a holiday theme and the box will arrive a few weeks prior filled with decorations and entertaining items, making celebrations a fuss-free affair.
For the person who spends their spare time on SoundCloud
If they’re constantly discovering 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. If they’d like to frame the postcard instead of playing it, they’ll receive a digital download of the song.
For the person who loves true crime
Hunt a Killer is pretty much a cross between listening to your favorite true-crime podcast unfold episode after episode and going to an escape room every month. It’s a murder-mystery game that’s told over six boxes (which are called “episodes”). Each box is filled with different clues, like autopsy reports and witness statements, which can be used to solve the ongoing murder mystery. With a $165 six-month gift card, your giftee will get a full season’s worth of murder-mystery boxes and (hopefully) be able to solve it with their co-detectives of choice.
For the home chef learning to gut a fish
Whether they just started cooking or harbor Top Chef dreams, they’ll appreciate this knife subscription that gives them one Japanese chef’s knife and one paring knife — both of which will be replaced every eight weeks with a fresh sharp pair.
For the person who loves doodads
If a friend or loved one is always talking about the latest, greatest gadget, they’ll probably dig Breo Box. Each season, they’ll get a box of five to eight items, including tech devices, kitchen equipment, and fitness gear. Each box is valued at over $300, and past boxes have included things like food scales, waterproof cameras, and cold-brew coffee makers.
For the person who thinks a candle will fix all their problems
Don’t argue with their logic and just help keep up their ritual by providing a steady delivery of new candles. Every month, they’ll receive a full-size seasonal candle, a travel candle, and a matchbox.
For the person who ditched their apartment and bought a house
Help them decorate it. Starting at just $20 a month (for an eight-by-ten print or smaller), they’ll work with a curator to find one piece of art, and each month they can add more until they’re satisfied with their gallery wall. Art Crate offers framing, which bumps the starting price for prints up to $59 a month.
For the person who posts their plant babies more than their actual kids
In many ways, plants are already the gift that keeps on giving, and that’s even more true when you get one every month. With Horti, you can choose between new to planting, pet-friendly, and a Horti’s Pick subscription, so there is something for everyone.
For the plant lover with a black thumb
If your giftee is plant-curious but inexperienced, this subscription service exclusively sends succulents, the perfect plant for beginners. For $10 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 loves the farmers’ market
Brighten their day with a rotating shipment of blooms from Fresh Sends. It’s different than other flower-delivery services, because it takes the guesswork out of deciding what arrangement to get. The company focuses on whatever is in season and creates unique arrangements around that.
For the person still searching for “the one”
Help your single friend get by with this quarterly self-care box filled with sex toys, bath and body items, and books.
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