30 Surprising Subscription Box Ideas
Want to send someone the gift that keeps on giving? Try a subscription box. When your friend or family member receives the gift every month or season, they will be reminded of your thoughtfulness. At the same time, they will have a new box of goodies to try out and enjoy. During the past couple of years, these boxes have become extremely popular, and now there’s an option for everyone’s personality. It’s easy to choose a subscription box that suits their interests. Plus, these are timesavers, and they are still packed with quality products inside. You won’t have to spend hours going to different stores at the mall to find the right gifts to pair together—these curated boxes do the work for you. Do you have a friend who is particular about his coffee? There’s a box that will send monthly coffee samples from micro-roasters and boutique companies to satisfy his discerning palate. Or, maybe your sister’s quite the fashionista—there’s a box for that too, full of charming trinkets and accessories. Although some of these boxes aren’t as budget-friendly as other gifts, we think they’re worth the extra money since they’re multiple presents over a period of time. You also don’t have to send them a subscription for the whole year as some of these services offer three-month or seasonal subscriptions. A lot of these companies also only pack limited-edition products or expertly sourced goods from independent makers in their boxes, which is a great way for your friend or family member to discover new brands.
Pickles Every Month
Indulge the pickle-lover with a box of three to four pickled products (like green tomatoes or beets) sent straight to his door.
To buy: $60 per month, mouth.com.
Mantry Subscription Box
Every two months, a new selection of six full-size ingredients is assembled, complete with recipes that demonstrate how to cook with each. Made for men, but women will enjoy it just as much.
To buy: $59 per box; mantry.com.
Wanderlust Gift Box
Have a friend or family member who’s always on the go? Gift them with the ultimate travel subscription box from Wanderlust. As the name suggests, this subscription box offers a variety of in-flight essentials, like a carry-on-approved cocktail mixing kit, RXBAR protein bar, Sugarfina Pale Ale Pints candy box, satin eye mask, luggage tag and passport holder, and a tote bag.
To buy: $145; welcomeandwishes.com.
Italian for “dapper or stylish, without seemingly trying,” this subscription box offers on-trend accessories for men. Subscriptions range in price and include items like ties, socks, suspenders, and more. Each box has a retail value of about $100, but you can purchase one for $25 per month for 12 months, $26 per month for six months or $28 per month for one month.
To buy: From $25; sprezzabox.com.
Explore Local Box
You don’t need a plane ticket to explore a faraway city. With Explore Local Box, you can gift a travel experience without the hassle of leaving your home. This subscription box sends locally made products and food items from a featured city. From Portland to Brooklyn, this gift is perfect for your most adventurous (and busy) friend or relative.
To buy: From $40; explorelocalbox.com.
Need the perfect gift for a pint-sized Proust in the making? Give your favorite bookworm a subscription to Quarterlane Kids. Each season, the company offers a box of fiction books for ages 6 to 12. Boxes ship the second week of March, June, September, and December. Not the titles you’re looking for? Email them to customize your own subscription box.
To buy: $49 per quarter; quarterlanekids.com.
Your coffee-obsessed pal will love receiving The Science of Cold Brew subscription box. Each one comes with a 64-ounce mason jar, Colombian coffee, an aluminum scoop, reusable cotton filter, and a spout for pouring your homemade cold brew. With this set, your friend or family member will stay highly caffeinated without having to change out of their PJs.
To buy: $60; thoughtfully.com.
Become the ultimate hostess, courtesy of Mostess. Ideal for a party-planning newbie, The Winter Cheers Box features items like a set of four plaid dessert plates, vermouth brined olives, and a set of four metal disco drink stirrers. Each box also includes seasonal cocktail recipes, snack and dessert ideas, and hosting and home styling tips.
To buy: $135 for individual box; mostessbox.com.
Vinebox’s Twelve Nights of Wine provides 12 curated glasses of wine from all over the world. Each day leading up to Christmas, your loved one will pour out a glass from one of the twelve tubes delivered right to their door.
To buy: $129; getvinebox.com.
Book of the Month
This subscription box is every book lover’s dream. Every month, they have the opportunity to select one of five curated options selected by Book of the Month’s esteemed judges. Your favorite bookworm will look forward to receiving their pick, along with a review from one of the judges, in the mail each month.
To buy: $45 for three months; bookofthemonth.com.
Modena Balsamic Quarterly Subscription
Made in Modena, Italy (so you know it’s the real-deal), this quarterly shipment will delight novice and expert cooks alike who are looking to take a Caprese salad to the next level or make a divine sauce for balsamic strawberries.
To buy: $194; food52.com.
Fab Fit Fun Box
Great for a busy mom or on-the-go friend, this box features products from well-known brands and newcomers. Beauty products like nail polish, lip-gloss and shampoo are commonly included, but there’s more to this box of goodies. Past boxes have contained lifestyle favorites like candles, workout DVDs, granola bars, scarves and even umbrellas.
To buy: $50; fabfitfun.com.
Gwynnie Bee Clothing Box
This clothing rental box allows the recipient to select from a variety of stylish clothing options (like Melissa McCarthy’s new line) from dresses to pants in sizes 10 to 32. Better yet, the site has a size adviser tool which makes trying new styles and brands a cinch.
To buy: $49; gwynniebee.com.
Try the World Box
Curated by notable chefs, this gourmet delicacy box will make the recipient feel like a world traveler right in the comfort of her own home. Included is a culture guide for each item, which features the story behind the product and recipes that showcase it best.
To order: $39; trytheworld.com.
Best of Mouth Subscription Box
Get this for the friend who’s a fan of unique and little-known food purveyors (Vermont goat milk caramel pumped up with cold-brew coffee, anyone?). Each box features four to five products (from pickles to peanut-butter-and-jelly chocolate bars) made by passionate, indie American companies.
To order: $60; mouth.com.
Stonewall Kitchen Specialty Food Club
This monthly box is loaded with American specialties with a farmer’s market feel. The samplers have a seasonal spin and feature the company’s wildly popular jams and jellies, cocktail helpers (like sea breeze and island punch mixers), deli condiments, pancake mix and other tasty snacks.
To buy: $80; stonewallkitchen.com.
Teavana Tea of the Month
This is for the friend who always sticks to her ritual of afternoon tea. There’s a new blend or flavor to discover each month. Each package comes with four ounces of the core tea and two-ounce samples of the other featured teas—all expertly curated by tea connoisseurs.
To buy: $40; teavana.com.
Blooms of the Month
One thing just about everyone can agree on? That fresh flowers on the table make any room a happier place. This year, give the gift that keeps on giving.
To buy: $32; thebouqs.com.
Sock It to Me
He probably already has a ton of ties that match his go-to suit. Or, maybe the dress code at his office is on the more casual side. Either way, we’re pretty sure one thing he really does need is some quality, comfortable socks. Over the period of four months he’ll get three pairs of dapper dress socks chosen by the stylists at The Tie Bar.
To buy: $89 for 12 pairs; thetiebar.com.
Kiwi Crate 3-Month Subscription
Shopping for kids can be tough—especially if you don’t have your own children at home. Plus, one thing just about everyone knows is how quickly the little ones tire of their toys. Rather than stand on line for this season’s biggest craze, let the experts at Kiwi Crate select the gifts for you.
To buy: $60; kiwicrate.com.
Box of Style From The Zoe Report
You could get her a trendy lariat necklace or a set of mismatched studs to up her style factor. You could even try your luck at picking out a pair of wide-legged pants or a bell-sleeved blouse to encourage her to try a new trend. Or, you could let the fashionable experts at The Zoe Report make the style decisions for you.
To buy: $100; thezoereport.com.
Lit lovers, rejoice! Now you can get your best pal from book club a gift that you know is sure to be an absolute home run. Get a box for yourself, so you can discuss the picks over coffee.
To buy: $350 for four seasonal fiction boxes a year; quarterlanebooks.com.
Love With Food
Love With Food is on a mission. Two, actually: To fill mailboxes with hard-to-find gourmet goodies packed in themed sets (healthy, New-Year’s-resolution-friendly treats in January or sweet Valentine’s Day surprises in February), and to fill food banks across the country with meals for those in need. (Every Love With Food box purchase buys one meal donation through the Feeding America Network and Share Our Strength—No Kid Hungry.)
To buy: $10; lovewithfood.com.
Each month, the recipient will get an assortment of seasonally appropriate, environmentally conscious products to complete the featured DIY project. There’s no excess here: Only items with practical, everyday uses are chosen for each box. A wide range of products means everyone from foodies (who will love the homebrewed hard cider) to beauty junkies (who will flip for the homemade soap) will eventually receive something they’ll love.
To buy: From $34; homegrowncollective.com.
It’s like having your own affordable-art curator on retainer: Papirmasse mails out archival-quality prints of emerging artists’ work—paintings, illustrations, collages and more—with a piece of original, contemporary creative writing stamped on the reverse. The format changes from month to month: Past projects have ranged from a 5-by-7-inch booklet to an 18-by-24-inch poster.
To buy: $6; papirmass.com.
There’s a better way to score freebies than stalking your department store cosmetics counter. Birchbox ships out four to five deluxe product samples (think travel-size, not single-use) each month from brands like Benefit, Kiehl’s, Ouai, Stila, and Oribe—some tailored to the recipient’s specific beauty needs.
To buy: $10; birchbox.com.
Perk someone up with a monthly coffee sampler culled from top micro-roasters and boutique bean companies (Portland’s Coava Coffee Roasters, Miami’s Panther Coffee, New York’s Gimme! Coffee). Each set includes three four-ounce pouches with detailed tasting notes and brewing tips.
To buy: $25; craftcoffee.com.
Gift subscriptions from BarkBox let you spoil one pooch while you help save another: The company donates 10% of each sale to local animal rescues. Boxes contain at least four pup-pampering items, from food samples and treats to shampoos and leashes—often from small businesses you might not see in the big-box pet stores. The goodies are even chosen to suit your dog’s size (under 20 lbs, 20 to 50 lbs, or over 50 lbs).
To buy: $29; barkbox.com.
For the friend or family member who is always on the go, enhance their travel experiences by helping them learn a new language. The online software, which is accessible via phone, tablet, or desktop computer, has a wide array of learning tools (including speech recognition!) to help them read, write, and speak a new language with confidence. Available in 24 different languages from around the world.
To order: $189; rosettastone.com.
Help your cat-crazed aunt or uncle spoil their beloved pet. Each month, they will receive a box filled with up to 10 goodies (each box typically contains at least seven items) to care for and pamper their feline friend, from fun play toys to necessary cleaning and grooming products.
To buy: From $17; purrpacks.com.