Subscription gifts, one of the hottest retail trends, literally keep on giving. And they're a better last-minute Christmas gift choice than gift cards.

Share story

Suffering from a pre-holiday “what to give” headache? The prescription may be a subscription.

Subscription gifts, one of the hottest retail trends, literally keep on giving: New installments arrive over the course of weeks or months.

While the idea isn’t new (remember those record-of-the-month clubs?), the breadth and variety of what you can subscribe to is. Everything from Anna Sui makeup to zebra masks for kids. Freshly-pressed records, juices and high-fashion togs. Mystery boxes for people and for pets.

“They’re a great improvement on the gift card,” says Neale Martin, a consumer expert and CEO at Sublime Behavior Marketing. Like gift cards, subscription gifts are easy to buy, especially last-minute, and come at a variety of prices.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

Here are some online offerings for the impending holidays.


Set your style parameters at Linen Crate and get a monthly box of tablecloths, placemats, towels or rugs, as well as coordinating items.

The edible subscription universe is vast and varied. Chocolate, bacon, craft beer, even Japanese candy are all available. Sesame has a From Portland to Table box with products from Jacobsen Salt Co, Bee Local and other Portland artisans. Sesame’s gift boxes can be pre-ordered for delivery up to three months in advance to keep the gifts coming.


Birchbox, a subscription pioneer, offers monthly boxes of beauty products.

With Stitch Fix, five new wardrobe items appear at the door. Your recipient keeps what she wants and returns the rest in a prepaid mailing bag.

At Quarterly, prominent people such as Nina Garcia, creative director of Elle Décor, and science icon Bill Nye create boxes and include a personal note outlining their choices.

Popsugar Must Have sends a variety of beauty, fashion, home, food and fitness items. October’s box included a satin pillowcase and a gift card for monogrammed jewelry.


Bespoke Post delivers high-quality items like ties, barware and grooming kits.

At Trunk Club, a stylist gathers a clothing selection which you preview and approve online. You can nix them if they don’t fit or don’t look right.

Soul Socks, which sends a house-designed pair of Peruvian cotton socks each month, helps support job-training programs for American high schoolers.

Spangler Science Club box, $25–$30
Spangler Science Club box, $25–$30


Arts and crafts are a fun subscription gift for children; each month brings a new box of creative possibilities. Check out Green Kid Crafts and Art in a Box.

Tinker Crate offers puzzles and engineering challenges for 9- to 12-year-olds.

Spangler Science Club, aimed at kindergartners through sixth graders, sends enough each month for a dozen science experiments.

My Geek Box centers around a theme — “sidekicks” and “justice” were recent ones — with collectibles and T-shirts.

GiftLit sends monthly book boxes, while the niche of Brickbox is — you guessed it — all things Lego.

Citrus Lane sends boxes skewed to babies, toddlers or preschoolers, full of quality toys, games and snacks.


Barkbox lets pets in on the subscription-gift game with dog toys and treats arriving monthly.