BY ALICIA KORTENDICK, THE OREGONIAN
Subscription boxes are the gift that keeps on giving. Once a month, bimonthly or quarterly, depending on the service, subscribers receive a box filled with curated surprises. We’re perhaps at the peak of the subscription box industry, with services for just about every interest popping up, including wine, skincare, ties, and crystals. There are even more general self-care boxes that you can send out for the holidays.
Subscription boxes make thoughtful and easy gifts. But you don’t have to commit to paying for the entire year of the subscription if you don’t want. Most services offer a one-off option specifically for this purpose, and many subscriptions allow you to cancel at any time. Just make sure to read the fine print before shipping.
Subscription boxes are great last-minute gift options for shoppers who miss shipping deadlines or who don’t want to scramble through brick-and-mortar stores. The box might arrive on your friend’s door after the holidays, but you can give them a hint of what to expect or even share what service you chose.
We dub these boxes the “best” based on ratings, experience with the subscriptions and recognition from other news outlets. We also picked these subscription services based on a wide variety of interests, so there’s something for just about everyone on this list.
1. Stitch Fix
Price: From $20/month, plus cost of clothing items
Stitch Fix offers a monthly subscription box full of clothes, shoes and accessories for men, women and children. To ensure that Stitch Fix is matching the recipient’s style, you (or the gift-ee) share the recipient’s style preferences and measurements with Stitch Fix. If you don’t want to fill this out for the person you’re gifting it to, Stitch Fix also has gift cards.
2. Book of the Month
Price: From $9.99/month
For the avid reader in your life who always seems to have a new book in his or her hands, Book of the Month is a great gift option. Book of the Month evaluates hundreds of new releases by prioritizing fresh voices, debut authors and anticipated fiction, and narrows its pool down to just five books. From there, the subscriber can choose which of the five books Book of the Month sends that month.
Wine enthusiasts or family members who have sommelier ambitions might enjoy a wine subscription service. After taking a short quiz, Firstleaf determines which six bottles to send in the first order. Then the recipient rates the wine, and Firstleaf’s algorithm starts to narrow down the recipient’s preferences, so the wines he or she are sent improve each month. If you’re looking for other wine subscription service options, we wrote about eight others here.
Every month, BirchBox subscribers get to choose from four different boxes—depending on their needs. For November’s beauty box, Little Luxuries, Beauty Imports, Skincare Essentials: Winter Hydration and Mighty Multitaskers were the box choices. When subscribers first sign up, they choose to receive a grooming or beauty box and can change their preferences later. BirchBoxers can even opt to receive a full-sized sample instead or use the box’s $15 value to buy a product or two from BirchBox’s store instead. This box is perfect for the person who always wants to try out new products.
5. Tie Bar
Price: From $99/month
This is the gift that keeps on giving for the tie fanatic in your life. Tie Bar sends three ties, either once a year or twice a year depending on your (or the receiver’s) preference. Subscribers can even personalize what kind of ties they’ll receive in their box—skinny ties, neckties, extra-long ties or even bowties. There’s also a sock subscription option, which sends three pairs of socks every three to six months.
6. Enchanted Crystal
Price: From $14.50
For family members or friends who like to collect crystals, this box is a great gift. There are two plan options: Crystal of the Month ($14.50), where the subscriber receives one single crystal, or Crystal Variety Box ($39), where the subscriber gets 4-6 crystals. Each subscription option comes with free bonus crystals and minerals and a hand-crafted cloth grid.
Price: From $29/box
Pet parents whose pups leave ripped up toys in their wake or can’t get enough treats will enjoy this subscription box. BarkBox comes with two toys, two bags of all-natural bags and a chew. Each box is built and curated around a theme. This month’s theme is called “The Muttcracker.” This gift won’t only please the human receiving it, but also the canine companion.
8. Blue Apron
Price: From $59.94/box
For the aspiring chef or person who hates grocery shopping, Blue Apron is a meal kit subscription service. For a little less than $60, the subscriber gets three meals a week that feed two people. The subscriber goes on Blue Apron’s website to choose from a selection of meals to determine what they will be receiving that week. Blue Apron sends a box full of everything the recipient needs to make the meal, including carefully portioned ingredients.
9. Craft Beer Club
Price: From $42/month
If you have a friend or family member who seeks out microbreweries or always finds the craft beer on tap, the Craft Beer Club has you covered. For $42 a month, Craft Beer Club sends out 12 beers from two different breweries from different parts of the country. Within the 12-beer shipment, subscribers get to sample four different craft beer styles.
10. Escape the Crate
Price: $26.50/every two months
Switch up family game night with the Escape the Crate box. Escape the Crate is very similar to the popular Escape Room, but you can play it in your own home. The current box is called “Escape from Alcatraz,” which is set in the prison, involves two 45-minute missions and is played with 2-4 people. Order this box before the 13th though, if you’d like to receive it in December.