Subscription Boxes: Gifts That Keep Giving All Year Long

Monthly subscription boxes aren't limited to beauty box subscriptions or box-of-the-month clubs anymore. We tested an array of monthly box subscriptions, and we're sure you'll find one to suit anyone on your list.

Pile of wrapped presents
Men's fashion subscription box photo

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Best Fashion Supscription Box for Men: Bespoke Post

What's inside: Specially curated products for men ranging from toiletries to outdoor equipment, depending on which featured box you choose.

Price: $45 per month (with $70 retail value or higher) with free shipping.

Our experience: Bespoke Post offers 10 different themed boxes to fit any guy's personality, such as Aged or Alchemy for drink-lovers, Carry or Weekender for travelers, Hecho or Chop for cooks, and Huddlefor outdoorsmen. We tried the Lather package, which included a dopp kit filled with Base Light Shave Cream, Base Light Post-Shave Balm, a brush, dish, and brush holder. We were impressed by the high-quality bag and products, and we look forward to trying a different box next time, which is one of the bonuses of Bespoke Post. If you want to switch your preferences, just do it before the 5th of the month because the package ships out on the 15th.

Ideal gift for: Any type of guy in your life.

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Women's fashion subscription box photo

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Best Fashion Subscription Box for Women: Stitch Fix

Price: Items vary in price, but you set a range based on your spending comfort level. A $20 styling fee per box is credited toward anything you purchase in your shipment.

Our experience: Although Stitch Fix is an on-demand styling service that doesn't require a subscription, we're including it in our list because we love staying up on the latest trends but hate spending hours walking around a crowded mall to find them. Stitch Fix takes the guesswork out of finding an outfit by matching you with a personal stylist who does the work for you—and helps you break out of your boring clothing streak. First, you to take a style quiz where you describe your body type, share your likes and dislikes, and select your preferences for price range, colors, patterns, etc. Then, you schedule when you want to receive your box. Once you receive your box, you have three days to return the items you don't like (in a handy little return envelope they provide). We definitely plan to get a "fix" again.

Ideal gift for: Style mavens and online shoppers.

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Kids subscription box photo

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Best Subscription Box for Kids: Kiwi Crate

What's inside: Materials for kids ages 5-8 to create hands-on projects and an explore! Magazine.

Price: $16.95–$19.95 per month, depending on which plan you select.

Our experience: Each subscription box contains arts and crafts, science activities, engineering projects, and imaginative play items based on a theme, such as science of color or treasure hunt. When kids finish the main projects, they can continue the fun with explore! magazine, which includes stories and mini experiments. We love that kids not only use their creativity while assembling the projects, but also continue using their imagination when they play with the objects they create. The kits offer a nice balance of required parental help and kids being able to fly solo; make sure you follow the age guidelines because the tiny pieces included are a choking hazard for kids younger than 5.

Ideal gift for: Creative, inquisitive kids.

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A travel subscription box photo

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Best Travel Subscription Box: Explore Local Box

What's inside: Five or six locally made items from a city in the United States along with a note card filled with information about the city and what's in your box.

Price: $39.99 month to month, $118 for three months, $235 for six months, and $468 for 12 months. Shipping is always free!

Our experience: The Explore Local Box features everything we love about visiting a new city. Most importantly: the food. Each box features unique snacks that are locally made or something that particular area is known for. It also comes with one or two other knickknacks you would take home as a souvenir. We received two boxes (one from Burlington, Vermont, and another from Richmond, Virginia) that included pancake mix complete with maple syrup, a box of apple cider tea, farmhouse minestrone mix, bee's wrap, mini stationery, chocolates of Vermont, a full-size can of salted Virginia peanuts, granola, kettle popcorn, and a small wine holder. It's no secret that the snacks were our favorite part, but reading the greeting cards were also a real treat. They are filled with unique facts, history, and a map of where the city is located, so you can make plans to visit in person. With each box you get a taste of each city (no pun intended), making it the perfect gift for friends and family who are always on the go.

Ideal gift for: Anyone who loves to travel and try new things.

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Food subscription box photo

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Best Food Subscription Box: Blue Apron

What's inside: Fresh ingredients for each meal, step-by-step instructions, and meals for the two-person or family plans.

Price: The two-person plan is $59.94 for the 6-serving weekly delivery, and the family plan is $71.92 for 8 servings. No matter which you pick, the shipping is free.

Our experience: Blue Apron includes everything you need for a family dinner, making it almost as easy as ordering takeout—without the guilt. Each week, Blue Apron lets you choose different meals from their meat or vegetarian recipe options. If you're looking for convenience or to try something new, Blue Apron fills the bill, and signing up is easy. Simply go online, pick your meals, select your delivery date, and voilá! Everything arrives at your front door ready to be prepped, cooked, and eaten. The farm-fresh ingredients are delivered in a refrigerated box, which includes highly descriptive cooking instructions, perfectly ripe vegetables, and delectable cuts of quality meats. One of our favorite aspects of Blue Apron is that it allows you to get away from your regular meal rotation and try something new. If you enjoy cooking or love staying in, the price per meal outweighs the cost of going to a restaurant, since the two-person plan is $9.99 per serving and the family plan equals $8.74 per serving. Plus, you'll know exactly what you're putting into every meal.

Ideal gift for: Foodies, busy families, empty nesters, healthy eaters, or people trying to lose weight.

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Perfume subscription box photo

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Best Fragrance Subscription Box: Scent Bird

What's inside: 30-day supply of any designer fragrance of your choice.

Price: $14.95 per month with free shipping.

Our experience: Let's face it, perfumes can be pricey, and you never seem to know until you wear them whether they're right for you. That's what makes Scent Bird a genius concept: You can date a perfume before you marry it. You start by creating your own queue from more than 450 designer fragrances, so you can receive a new brand-name scent each month. You'll receive your first generous supply (equal to four sprays per day for a month) in a reusable white case that lifts the sprayer up and down similar to a lipstick tube. When you receive the next perfume, you simply remove the last bottle from the case and insert the new one. If you find a scent that was made for you, you can cancel at any time and buy a full-size bottle in Scent Bird's shop. Women don't get all the fun. Men can try colognes that come in a black reusable case.

Ideal gift for: Adventurous women and men.

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Beauty subscription box photo

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Best Beauty Subscription: Birchbox

What's inside: Five samples tailored to your skin, hair, and style.

Price: $15 per month.

Our experience: Many beauty subscription boxes are out there, but what makes Birchbox stand out is its personalized touch. When you sign up for the monthly program, you complete a beauty profile so the products you receive can be tailored to your specific beauty needs. If you have straight or wavy hair or struggle with dark spots or fine lines, you can request products to fit you. We liked that all of the products were made by brands we'd never tried before, so when we opened the box, we started on a beauty adventure.

Ideal gift for: Trend-seeker or beauty buff.

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Cocktail subscription box photo

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Best Cocktail Subscription Box: Shaker & Spoon

What's inside: All the makings for some serious cocktails—syrups, bitters, garnishes, and recipes—minus the booze.

Price: $50 month to month, $135 for 3 months, $250 for 6 months, and $480 for 12 months.

Our experience: Each subscription box from Shaker & Spoon includes all the non-boozy ingredients you need to create 12 craft cocktails at home. You just add alcohol. Small-batch bitters, funky-flavor homemade simple syrups, and inventive garnishes make DIY mixology easy. Shaking up bar-worthy cocktails is a breeze with Shaker & Spoon's clever recipes, illustrated instruction cards, and a bonus glossary of necessary barware and glassware. We liked that the box can be used by people who love to drink and those who don't.

Ideal gift for: Cocktail lovers or mocktail makers.

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Baking subscription box photo

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Best Baking Subscription Box: Foodstirs

What's inside: Organic baking mixes and kits with a featured theme each month.

Price: Regular plans range from $25.99 for one kit up to $264.12 for 12 kits, and gift plans range from $76.02 for three kits up to $276.12 for 12 kits.

Our experience: Two things make Foodstirs stand out from other baking kit subscription boxes: 1) They use all clean, green, organic, and GMO-free ingredients; 2) They feature Pinterest-worthy treats that can be made with six ingredients or less. We received the Movie Night Kit that provided instructions and ingredients to make vanilla cupcakes that look like mini bags of popcorn. Besides including icons that represent each step and piece of equipment needed, making it even easier for kids to follow along, the instructions also include extra tips to tweak the cupcakes to your liking, such as melting caramel on top to make caramel corn or adding a little yellow food dye to the cake batter to give the cupcakes a true popcorn look.

Ideal gift for: Parents and creative bakers with limited time.

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Indie food subscription box photo

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Best Indie Food Subscription Box: Mouth

What's inside: Full-size products based on one of 6 themes.

Price: $37.50–$105 per month; shipping is included.

Our experience: Mouth says its goal is to help people discover delicious and interesting American-made indie food products and to help indie makers grow their business. It offers six monthly box themes: Cookies, Jerky, Pickles, Snacks, Indie States of America, and Best of Mouth. We enjoyed the unique flavors in our snack box of black truffle popcorn and maple bourbon bread and butter pickles, and we like that we can snag more of them in Mouth's shop online any time we have a craving.

Ideal gift for: Foodies, snackers, and experimental drinkers.

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Wine subscription box photo

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Best Wine Subscription Box: He Wines, She Dines

What's inside: Two or three wines and featured pairing item, depending on subscription.

Price: Starting at $49 for three bottles per month.

What to expect: He Wines, She Dines features several levels of subscription box experiences that cater to anyone—from vino newbies to self-proclaimed wine connoisseurs. Their most popular series is the Standard Monthly, which sends three bottles of wine per month from around the world. The boxes contain various selections, a handwritten card, and usually come with a special pairing item for the blend chosen. Feeling bubbly? Then the Club Cuvée subscription with sparkling wines from Champagne, France and Northern Spain is a must-have.

Ideal gift for: Wine enthusiasts

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Self-care subscription box photo

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Best Self-Care Subscription Box: Goddess Provisions

What's inside: Crystals, aromatherapy, superfoods, beauty, and spiritual tools.

Price: $33 per month; ships worldwide; free shipping in the United States.

Our experience: Goddess Provisions says its box is curated to nurture its users' inner goddesses and help grow their spiritual practice. Each monthly kit includes 5–7 full-size items, including crystals, aromatherapy, apothecary beauty products, superfood snacks, teas, crystals, books, and other tools for spiritual growth. All items are 100 percent vegan and animal cruelty-free. We're not sure if we found our inner goddess, but the ebb & flow candle and aromatherapy spray definitely helped us find deep relaxation.

Ideal gift for: Eco-enthusiasts or friends who need to relax.

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Book subscription box photo

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Best Book Subscription Box: Owl Crate

What's inside: One young adult novel and goodies.

Price: Starting at $29.99 per month.

Our experience: OwlCrate is a monthly book subscription box that sends newly published Young Adult novels and book-themed goodies to subscribers. Each box contains a newly published hardcover book, 3–5 bookish goodies, such as jewelry, collectible toys, handmade items, and stationery, as well as exclusive items from publishers and authors. Every month features a fun theme; past themes have included Diversity and Wonderland. We received P.S. I Like You by Kasie West, buttons with book themes, a composition book, and an adult coloring book, which we're still enjoying.

Ideal gift for: Bibliophiles, teens, and kids at heart.

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Bath and body subscription box photo

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Best Bath & Body Subscription Box: Lathered Organics

What's inside: Two pounds of handcrafted soaps and bathing gifts.

Price: One box every three months for $49.99—and free shipping.

Our experience: Lathered Organics takes pride in what they use to make their handcrafted soaps: 100 percent premium USDA certified organic saponified oils and butters; sustainable eco-friendly ingredients, and essential oils and herbs that are all vegan and animal cruelty free, gluten free, and GMO free and that contain no parabens or SLS. But it's what their soaps did that impressed us. Our skin felt refreshed, hydrated, and healthy, and all the soaps produced pleasurable, mild scents that weren't overwhelming. They all paired and performed well with the handcrafted loofah included in the box.

Ideal gift for: Eco-enthusiasts and lovers of artisan soaps.

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Gardening subscription box photo

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Best Gardening Subscription Box: Bloomin' Bin

What's inside: Two to four seed packets, garden tools, plants, and extra projects, if indicated.

Price: $7–$28 per month, depending on the type of bin selected; only ships within the United States.

Our experience: Bloomin' Bin offers container or regular garden subscription boxes for gardeners of all skill levels. Each box includes seeds, gardening items, and gardening tips to get started, and premium boxes offer extra projects to take you further. Each box features seeds based on the month's theme, such as November bulbs and December herbs. We received September's Radish Bin, which contained Easter Egg radish seeds, watermelon radish seeds, French Breakfast radish seeds, Vigoro 12-10-5 and calcium plant food, grow bags, orange Tic Tacs, a mosquito-repellent band, and a crystallite make-your-own wind chime. In other words, it came with everything we needed except water and sun, which takes the work out of gardening prep and leaves time to enjoy the process of planting.

Ideal gift for: Seasoned gardeners and gardening newbies.

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