The perfect present for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays, weddings, more
Gift-of-the-month clubs are the gifts that keep on giving. While most presents are unwrapped once and soon forgotten, these subscriptions supply a new package each month, typically for an entire year.
In the past, these kinds of subscriptions featured mostly uninspired gift baskets at inflated prices. But a new generation of gift-of-the-month clubs now offers below-market prices on everything from fine foods to fashion to flowers. The companies launching these clubs negotiate volume deals from suppliers and then pass the savings on to subscribers.
Gift-of-the-month subscriptions make great gifts for birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, anniversaries and more. And they’re great last-minute gifts. These clubs generally ship packages on a preset monthly schedule, so the fact that no package has arrived by the holiday or birthday won’t be seen as a sign that the gift was purchased late—even if it was. (Gift givers usually can print out or e-mail a certificate providing details about the subscription so that gift recipients know the gift is on its way.)
Here are my picks of today’s best gift-of-the-month clubs in a range of categories…
Stylish personal grooming. Birchbox offers four or five samples of high-end makeup and skin-care products each month, while men get four or five samples of personal-grooming products. Extras such as socks and personalized stationery sometimes are included as well. The gift recipient can fill out an online questionnaire to receive products particularly well-suited to his/her skin type and style preferences. Birchbox.com
Price: $10/month or $110/year for women…$20/month or $195/year for men.*
Beautiful blooms. With the Bouqs’ Regular Blooms service, a bouquet of flowers is sent every month—or on any other schedule. Gift givers can select from among a number of bouquet collections and choose specific delivery dates. Rather than sign up for monthly deliveries, for example, you might arrange for your spouse to receive flowers on his/her birthday, your anniversary, Valentine’s Day and other key dates throughout the year. It’s like a gift-giving emergency backup plan—your loved one will receive flowers from you even if the occasion completely slips your mind. TheBouqs.com
Prices: Standard prices are $40 to $70 per bouquet, shipping included, but discounts of 10% to 25% apply when you sign up for the subscription service. The size of the discount is tied to the number of deliveries per year.
Carnivore club. Sample four to six gourmet meats from around the world each month, including distinctive jerky, sausage and salami. The meats are made by small, high-quality artisan producers—they are not items you are likely to find in local stores. One recent box included a slightly sweet goat salami, a peperone made from air-cured boar, a semidried beef and pork landjaeger sausage and spreadable salami known as nduja. Each sample usually is three to six ounces. CarnivoreClub.us
Fun for 20-somethings. Fancy.com is a social network that lets users share links to products they like. The Web site also offers a subscription service that delivers a monthly Fancy Box full of items popular among Fancy users. Recent boxes have included everything from vegetable choppers to sunglasses to cameras. Subscribers can personalize these boxes by selecting categories of interest. There also are monthly Fancy Box subscription programs curated by celebrities such as actresses Jennifer Love Hewitt and Kelly Rowland. Fancy Box tends to be most appropriate for recipients in their college years or early 20s. Fancy.com/fancybox (select “Fancy Box” at the bottom of the page).
Price: $39/month or $425/year.
Celebrity style. PopSugar is a celebrity news and style Web site comparable to InStyle or People magazines. It also has a gift-box service that provides monthly supplies of five to six beauty, fashion, food, home or fitness items selected by the site’s editors. One recent PopSugar Must Have Box included gourmet popcorn, a designer nail file set, an attractive desk calendar, the book The Juice Generation, a high-end skin-cleansing facial mask and “Tech Gloves” designed to keep hands warm while still allowing use of a smartphone. MustHave.PopSugar.com
Price: $39.95/month or $429.40/year.
Try the World. Every two months, members receive a box of gourmet goodies spotlighting a different city around the world. The focus is food, but boxes also contain additional items related to the city’s culture. For example, the Paris box includes Parisian jams, teas, hot chocolate mix, caramels and gourmet salt—plus a poem by Charles Baudelaire, lists of French films to watch and songs to listen to, and tips about exploring the city’s food and culture. TryTheWorld.com
Price: $45/box with a new box every two months.
Cool crafts. Whimseybox provides monthly craft kits, complete with materials and instructions. Crafts include paper crafts, cloth crafts, jewelry making and more. It’s a fun gift idea for a recipient who likes to try a variety of craft projects. WhimseyBox.com
Price: $15/month or $165/year.
Just for Men
Men can be hard to buy for! Here, great gift-of-the-month ideas for the men in your life…
- The stylish man. Bespoke Post’s Box of Awesome is a monthly box full of products for a fashionable man—or a man you would like to encourage to be a bit more fashionable. These boxes often contain men’s fashion accessories or grooming products—one recent box included a bow tie, cuff links and a pocket square—but others feature items such as bar tools and gourmet foods. Bespoke Post members receive e-mail previews of what’s in the next box and can skip those that don’t appeal to them in favor of future shipments. BespokePost.com
- Spiffy socks. With the Black Socks’ Sockscription, you give the gift of recurring deliveries of high-end men’s dress socks. That might not sound like the flashiest of presents, but quality socks actually are a savvy gift choice for hard-to-shop-for men. Almost everyone could use more socks, and it doesn’t cost a fortune to provide socks of very high quality. Each package contains three pairs of what in all likelihood will be the nicest socks in the recipient’s sock drawer. Gift givers can choose from among numerous styles and colors and decide how often the sock shipments will arrive—monthly deliveries are not the only option. BlackSocks.com
Price: $55/month or $540/year. (A yearlong subscription actually might last longer than a calendar year if some boxes are skipped.)
Price: Varies greatly depending on socks selected and frequency of shipment. Three deliveries of three pairs of the company’s Italian-made cotton calf socks (nine pairs total) cost $89, for example, while a similar supply of cashmere calf socks costs $229.
*Some gift-of-the-month clubs offer additional pricing options beyond monthly and annual rates. See their Web sites for details.