10 surprising subscription box ideas

Want to send someone the gift that keeps on giving? Try a subscription box

Real Simple

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.

Modena Balsamic Quarterly Subscription

Best for: The discerning home chef

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.

Frequency and fees: $194 for quarterly subscription; $8 one-time shipping fee

Pros: The vinegar is certified I.G.P., meaning it has been verified as having been produced where it says it has (Modena).

Cons: The flavor doesn’t change each quarter so if your recipient doesn’t quickly use the vinegar it might pile up.

Fab Fit Fun Box

Best for: Anyone who could use some pampering

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.

Frequency and fees: $50 for one box; $180 for an annual subscription of 4 boxes; $8/box shipping for Canada, Alaska, and Hawaii.

Pros: The products you get are full-sized, as compared to the travel-size options other subscription boxes usually include.

Cons: The service is quarterly, rather than monthly.

Gwynnie Bee Clothing Box

Best for: Curvy fashionistas

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.

Frequency and fees: $49 a month for one item out at a time, $69 for two items out at a time, $95 for three items out at a time, and $199 for 10 items out at a time; shipping included.

Pros: Unlimited exchanges are offered within the month and pre-paid return envelopes are included with each shipment.

Cons: Items aren’t brand new, so there may be some wear.

Try the World Box

Best for: The adventurous taster

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.

Frequency and fees: $39 per box for one month, $35 with a 3-month subscription, $33 per box with a 6-month subscription, $29 per box for a 12-month subscription.

Pros: if you like something from the box you can order more of it at trytheworld.com.

Cons: Not good for picky palates.

Best of Mouth Subscription Box

Best for: Hip gourmands

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.

Frequency and fees: $60 per box for three months, $55 per box with a 6-month subscription, $50 per box with a year subscription.

Pros: The digital certificate you receive when ordering doubles as a card that you can print or forward to the recipient.

Cons: Price is a bit steep.

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