Gifts That Keep on Giving: 20 Subscription Boxes Perfect for Any Occasion
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Everyone loves getting presents, no matter the occasion.
But most gifts are only given once. Even if they’ll be useful throughout the year, the anticipation of unwrapping something new is a singular event.
Want a way to keep the thrill alive? Try giving the gift of a subscription box or specialty membership.
The subscriber — your giftee — will open a new package every month or two, keeping whatever special occasion you're celebrating alive for the forseeable future.
Plus, if funds are tight, you’ll benefit from spending a little bit over the course of multiple months. It’s probably easier than plunking down the whole amount on an expensive gift right now.
20 of the Best Subscription Boxes to Give as Gifts
Sounds like a cool idea, right? If you’re not sure where to start, read on.
We’ve compiled this list of 21 smart subscription boxes for any personality on your shopping list — even the hard-to-buy-for.
The “OMG, Shoes!” Friend
Tired of being yanked into the nearest shoe store every time you go shopping with that one girl on your list?
Surprise her with a VIP Membership to ShoeDazzle.
She’ll take a style quiz — then a stylist will put together a personalized showroom of shoes she can choose from to purchase each month.
The monthly fee is $39.95, which she can either use toward her next purchase or save if nothing catches her eye (unlikely).
Plus, there’s an option to skip any month as long as she logs in before the 6th.
Even if a monthly subscription isn’t your thing, ShoeDazzle is a great place to find a pair of shoes.
The Sommelier in Training
I love wine so much. Robust reds, crisp whites, perfect-by-the-poolside dry rosé…
What was I talking about?
Oh, right! You probably have a wine lover in your life, too! Want a gift that’ll make her happier than a bottle of the good stuff would?
Try three bottles delivered monthly and hand-picked to suit her evolving tastes.
Winc starts at $39 plus $9 shipping for a monthly box of three wines. Plus, members get access to other steeply-discounted bottles whenever they want — with free shipping on boxes of three or more.
If the savings mean bottles start stacking up, skipping a month is easy.
My favorite part? Every bottle comes with a short video, complete with tasting notes. Winc is a great way to become the resident wine snob of any office or circle of friends.
Psst — make sure she checks out this list of 10 surprisingly awesome wines under $15 that totally won’t blow her growing wine cred when she brings them to a ritzy holiday party.
The Girl Who Wears Yoga Pants to the Office — and Pulls It Off
No matter how much Pilates I do or how in shape I think I am, I’m never going to be one of those girls who can wear leggings and a slouchy tee and look ***flawless.
Do you know one of these women? Are you able to get over your (understandable) envy enough to buy her a holiday gift?
Consider the FabFitFun subscription box. It comes filled with health, beauty and fitness products for the Instagram queen on your list.
It’s pricier at $49.99 per delivery, but only ships once per season. Because each box contains $200 worth of products, at four deliveries per year, you’re basically buying one box and getting three free!
The Coffee Snob
Remember when your uncle scoffed at the bag of ground Dunkin’ Donuts coffee you picked up at the grocery store while he was in town for Thanksgiving?
Whatever, man — you just need a way to get through the morning.
But your uncle might really enjoy a subscription to BeanBox, a gourmet coffee subscription that delivers monthly, fresh-roasted, whole bean Seattle coffee.
And when I say “fresh,” I mean their beans are shipped within 48 hours of roasting. You can be sure there’ll be no scoffing at this holiday gift.
Plus, it’s only $20 a month — even less if you buy a six-month or one-year package!
The Proud Nespresso Owner
Got a friend who keeps inviting you over for shots — from their Nespresso machine?
Making espresso at home is a great way to save cash on a latte-a-day habit. Signing up for a Gourmesso subscription? That’s an even better way to save.
You can start out slow and get your caffeinated friend 50 capsules per month for $22.50 per month. If more is needed? There are a ton of subscription options for every budget and level of caffeine addiction, so check them out.
The Token Tea Drinker
The tea folk among us need their fix, too.
Tea Sparrow delivers a box of hand-picked, loose leaf teas from across the globe every month — enough for about 35 afternoon cups. The recipient reviews her favorites and can be connected directly with the blenders of the teas if she wants to buy in larger quantities.
It’s just $20 per month and easy to stop and start. Shipping’s also included for those in Canada or the continental U.S.
The Cubicle Dweller Who Never Takes Lunch
We all know people who live off snacks whether they’re too busy to leave their work desk or too footloose to get off the road for a real meal. (“But we’ll be there in five more hours… why stop?”)
Keep those people out of the Cheetos and M&Ms with Graze.
Each box is usually $11.99 and comes with eight healthy snacks the recipient chooses themselves — so you know they’ll enjoy them! You can even get them sent straight to their workplace — in case they’re sleeping there, too.
The Mom with Ambition — or the Kid Who Keeps Taking Stuff Apart
Know a mom who keeps talking about how her kid’s definitely going to be an astronaut — before they even hit kindergarten?
Check out subscription boxes from Kiwi Crate. There’s an option for every curious kid on your list ages 3-16 — or even older. They range in activities from art to engineering, and start as low as $16.95 per month.
Shopping for multiple moms? Check out our list of 20 educational holiday gifts under $35.
One of the best-loved parts of traveling is trying exotic foreign foods. If there’s someone on your list who’s equal part foodie and footloose, keep reading.
Try the World will deliver a box filled with goodies from different countries every month. Celebrity chefs curate the boxes to help recipients discover and appreciate exotic new cuisines.
Bonus: It features free shipping, and it’s easy to pause or cancel at any time.
Pay $39 for a month, or save by paying for six or 12 months at a time ($168.30 and $295.80, respectively).
Everyone likes snacks — especially all-natural, organic snacks without trans fats or high-fructose corn syrup.
But your friend who’s always too busy at the soup kitchen to hang out on weekends will really love this subscription box.
Every time a snack box is delivered, Love With Food donates to an American food bank.
Talk about a feel-good gift!
Boxes start as low as $7.99 per month. Once she discovers them, your recipient can buy any of her favorite snacks through Love With Food’s online portal.
The Busy Professional
Do you know someone who loves to make healthy, home-cooked meals — but spends too much time at the office (or freelancing or chauffeuring the kids from school to soccer to sleepovers) to hit the store, read the recipe and get dinner on the table before 8 p.m.?
All of these services operate on a similar model. They put together healthy, delicious recipes and deliver the ingredients in exactly the correct amounts, as well as the instructions to subscribers’ homes.
Basically, it’s a DIY restaurant meal delivery service.
Although it’s more expensive than buying groceries, it could offer some savings if you’re eating takeout most nights. And it will definitely save you time running to the store.
Plus, you get to learn a new recipe to add to your repertoire.
Pricing for these services start at about $9 per plate. The services offer diet-friendly menus and the ability to swap meals that aren’t to your taste. See their websites for full details.
We tried a bunch of them — they're pretty tasty.
The Outdoor Adventurer
Got a friend who always brings her hiking gear to work on Friday so she can get the earliest possible start on her weekend camping trip?
She might be an awesome candidate for a subscription to the Cairn box.
It’s $22 per month and includes a variety of gear like compasses, cookware, portable foods, apparel like beanies and gloves and skin care/first aid products.
You’ll also get the added satisfaction of knowing you’re helping her stay safe and comfortable out there in the wild.
For the family member who’d bring her book to the holiday dinner table if she were allowed, check out the Book Riot subscription box.
This one’s shipped every three months, so you have time to actually read what it sends you, and it’s $50 per shipment.
The box is filled with — you guessed it — books! But it also includes bookworm swag like notebooks, genre map posters and even a bookish flask.
As a former English major, I’ve gotta say, it looks pretty cool.
Bonus: If said bookworm is a young adult — or full-grown adult with a penchant for supernatural romances and dystopian narratives — there’s a YA option, too.
The Pet Parent Who Never Shuts Up About Spot or Fluffy
Guilty as charged: My dog, Odin, is in 90% of my photos. Including one of my headshots. That I use professionally.
The good thing is, animal freaks are easy to cross off your holiday shopping list.
The lucky recipient (and furry friend) will receive a monthly box of treats and toys. Both start under $21 a box.
The One Whose Manicure is Always On Point
Keep the beauty geek in your life well-bedecked and happy with a subscription to Julep’s Maven program. She’ll receive a monthly box of cosmetics and nail polishes — fully customizable to her sense of style.
Even better, she’ll get 20% off and free shipping on any Julep product she buys outside her shipments!
Memberships start at just $19.99 a month.
Your favorite nerd will love a subscription to Loot Crate — a monthly delivery of four to eight geeky goods and collectables worth more than $45 for less than $15 a month.
Choose from a variety of themed crates — like an anime-specific crate, apparel crates and even crates for pets.
Pretty much everyone shaves some of their hair.
Help anyone on your list save a ton of pennies with a subscription to Dollar Shave Club.
That’s right — this super-simple subscription service isn't just for guys.
Just because it isn’t pink doesn’t mean it can’t shave legs. I’ve been a subscriber for months, and I love how easy it is to upgrade or downgrade your package. You can even request shipments more slowly if you don’t use your blades in time.
Choose from three razor packages — the $1 dual-blade carries a $2 shipping fee, but the quad-blade middle option is just $6 a month and ships free. The six-blade “executive” razor is just $9 — and also ships for free.
The subscriber is getting a huge discount from hiked-up drugstore prices.
Need More Great Gift Ideas?
These subscription packages are pretty great. But keep your eye on our website for lots of other gift ideas — no matter who’s on your list!
We even found 100 free gift ideas your friends and family will actually want.
Disclosure: We appreciate you letting us include affiliate links in this post. It helps keep the beer fridge stocked in the Penny Hoarder break room.
Jamie Cattanach is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder and a native Floridian. She’s passionate about learning, literature, chocolate and finding ways to live the good life as cost-effectively as possible. You can wave hi to @jamiecattanach on Twitter.