It’s that time of year again — the time when you want to show people you thought of them for the holidays, but have no idea what to get them. Instead of buying a generic gift card, what can you give instead? If you know enough about the person’s general interests, give them the gift that keeps on giving by signing them up for a subscription gift box.
Subscription boxes have grown by leaps and bounds in the past few years, on the heels of beauty boxes like Birchbox, which is credited with accelerating the subscription craze. From food and wine to toys and children’s crafts, you can get a box to suit almost every interest out there, mailed to you once a month for a nominal fee — often between $10 and $40.
“The unit economics are so sexy — you’re selling people things that you got for free,” Katia Beauchamp, one of Birchbox’s founders, told The New York Times. However, it takes work for subscription companies to make customers feel like they’re getting their money’s worth. “If you’re not creating value for the consumer and the brand, it’s a short life cycle,” she said.
However, many companies are finding success in providing necessities for a lower price than you can find in the store, or providing niche products that would take too much time to curate yourself. We’ve taken a look at some of the best subscription services before, and added to the list to give you 20 subscription services that would be perfect for your dad, your brother, your significant other, or even your own wish list. (And if you’re looking for a special woman in your life, most of the gender-specific boxes have women’s alternatives.) Take a look, and happy shopping!
1. For the consummate stylist
Do you have that friend or family member who’s always dressed to the nines and doesn’t break a sweat picking out the perfect sweater or pocket square for every occasion? Clearly, their wardrobe matters. There are plenty of subscription services where they’ll get to try new brands and have items shipped to them each month that are perfectly tailored to their size and style. And even if they like putting together the ideal ensemble, chances are they’ll thank you for saving them a trip to the mall.
Trunk Club is on the higher end of the clothing spectrum, with many of its goods costing in the $75 to $200 range, depending on the item in question. As of last year, it’s also got the backing of new owner Nordstrom behind it, however, which speaks to the quality of brands and items it includes. Plus, you’re able to send back any items that don’t fit your preferences, so you don’t have to worry about sticking your loved one with a bunch of clothes they’ll shove in the back of their closet.
Bombfell also works on the stylist model, which means the more boxes that are sent, the more personalized the selections become. Unlike the others, Five Four Club sends its own brand of clothing, but for $60 you receive clothes of at least a $120 value.
2. For the constant groomer
If you’ve got that family member who’s continually taking care of a beard, trying a new fragrance, or experimenting with the latest hygiene products, perhaps a grooming box is exactly what they never realized they wanted. Birchbox Man, the male alternative to lip glosses in the class Birchbox subscription, sends out lotions, shave gels, and more from top brands each month. Plus, like many other services, you can give a gift subscription for just a few months or for an entire year.
If lotions aren’t really his thing, try Dollar Shave Club or Scent Trunk. Dollar Shave Club will solve the practical problem of having a sharp, clean razor for a fraction of the in-store prices, plus play to his quirky humor.
Scent Trunk sends three fragrance samples each month, often from niche perfumers from all over the world. A box sent to The Cheat Sheet contained samples from the United States, Malaysia, and France, with the full bottles worth between $78 and $225. The subscription is perfect for the guy who’s trying to find a signature scent, since the information cards included describe the fragrances at length, tell you when it’s appropriate to wear them, and offer ways to purchase the full bottles online. The company also donates 1.5% of its sales to fight depression, making the purchase one that keeps on giving.
3. For the Iron Chef wannabe
Like the term or not, we all know a person or two who loves food and trying new flavors above all else. It’s their lifeblood, hobby, and passion all wrapped into one. For the busy guy who still likes a balance meal, sign him up for Blue Apron (or Plated if the apron connotation takes you back too much to your mom’s kitchen.) Both supply fresh, measured ingredients perfect for a complete dinner without the hassle of finding unique ingredients in the hidden aisles of the grocery store.
If you don’t want to make him commit to becoming Julia Child, try NatureBox instead. Its full-sized snacks come without trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners or colors. It’s guilt-free snacking at its finest, with lots of options to accommodate almost every dietary restriction in the book.
If you’d rather go for flair, send a Try the World box, which highlights foods from a different country every two months. Or stick with one country, and sign up for Japan Crate, a quirky box that includes various kinds of Japanese candy every month. With Japan Crate and others, you have the ability to choose a certain size and price to customize your order even more.
4. For the man who’s never fully dressed without a smile…or a pocket square
Know a guy who’s never without a unique watch, tie clip, or eclectic pair of socks? Maybe giving him the chance to amp up his game is just what Santa had in mind. Bespoke Post gives the option of choosing the theme you want to receive, with gadgets and accessories for travel, bartending, and surviving a cold snap.
Dapper Box sends four to five items a month including watches, ties, socks, and more, an estimated $96 value for a box price of $29 per month, or less if ordering multiple months at a time. Gentleman’s Box does the same, with a complimentary copy of that month’s GQ and an estimated value of triple the box cost (which is $25).
5. For the guy whose “cold one” is shaken, not stirred
Even if you have to fake it, having “your drink” will help any guy navigate bars, restaurants, and social situations with ease. But for those who are still exploring their personal preferences — or the ones who are always up for something new — help them discover their next beverage of choice.
Taster’s Club offers a liquor of the month club, with the ability to choose whether you’d like to receive various types of whiskey, rum, or tequila. Each bottle of spirits comes with in-depth information about how selection was made, and where the alcohol is distilled. If your buddy has aspirations of becoming your group’s resident bartender, sign him up for Crafted Taste, which sends a kit to create unique and expertly crafted cocktails from across the world.
If the recipient prefers brews made from coffee beans instead of grains, try sending him a subscription to MistoBox. They’ll receive boxes of freshly roasted coffee from roasters all over the country that vary in blend and flavor profile.
6. For the fantasy team champion, the gamer, or the dog lover
The clothes, accessories and after-work drinks might get someone through the week, but subscription boxes for the hobbies and outside interests might make for the best gifts of all. Not only will they show you genuinely know their interests, but in most cases will also provide entertainment. Turntable Kitchen combines food with a love for vinyl, with each delivery giving you the dry ingredients for dinner and a vinyl soundtrack to go with it. Loot Crate supplies gaming-related gear from popular releases like Fallout 4 and Mass Effect that you won’t be able to find anywhere else — perfect for the closet (or not so secret) geek in your life.
For the canine aficionados, sign them up for a monthly delivery of pet toys and treats with BarkBox. And for the sports fanatic, try Sports Crate, which can be customized to one or several sports teams they follow for every game.
If we haven’t hit the interests of the man on your list who’s stumping you, do a quick Google search to see if a subscription box fits their interest. There’s bound to be something that matches, and you’ll be giving a gift that keeps on giving when it arrives in their mailbox each month.