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This morning, as my husband and I watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (I couldn't believe he'd never seen it before!), I remembered that there truly are gifts that just keep on giving:
Unlike the Jelly of the Month Club, however; subscription gifts have come a long way and have gotten really cool this year, offering everything from DIY ideas for the crafter to unlimited box office tickets for the movie buff.
If you're looking for a last-second gift to give before Christmas supper in just a few hours, here are some of my absolute faves — sure to impress for less — which you can pick up for as little as $1 plus shipping and handling, all without even leaving your house or even getting out of your jammies!
1. Beauty Samples
I've personally tested out both GLOSSYBOX & Birchbox beauty sample subscriptions for the last 3+ months, and both services are a makeup junkie's dream. For twentysomethings and trend hunters, Birchbox (starting at $30 for 3 months for women, $60 for 3 months for men) offers at least a dozen of-the-moment samples in each box, like BB creams and argan oil hair treatments. For thirtysomethings and loyal beauty lovers looking to really switch up their routine, GLOSSYBOX (starting at $21 per month for the Man Repeller-curated box, or $60 for 3 month subscriptions) offers 3-6 full-size samples in each box so you can truly evaluate new products before making the switch.
2. Kids Activities
For busy parents, there's nothing cooler than these monthly subscription kits full of DIY activites and craft ideas. Kiwi Crate ($59 for 3 months) & BabbaBox (starting at $19.99 per month) both offer up some serious family fun, learning, adventures, and memory-making without the hassle of running around craft stores or scouring Pinterest and Waldorf sites.
3. All-Around Awesomeness
Oh, Amazon Prime, how do we count the ways that we love you? What started as a simple membership plan to offer free or discounted shipping for regular Amazon customers, Amazon Prime ($79/year) now includes access to free books on tablets (Kindle and iPads) and free movies through Amazon streaming (to your laptop or to your television, through a gaming console like the Nintendo Wii or PlayStation 3). It truly is the gift that keeps on giving for any bookworm, online shopaholic, or TV addict in your circle.
4. Movie Lovers
Offering unlimited movie tickets to all new releases in movie theaters nationwide, the Movie Pass (from $39.99 for 1 month) is a film buff's dream. I purchased a membership for my husband last Christmas and it was a smashing success (which also saved me from being the necessary companion to countless gore-fests and action flicks).
5. DIY & Craft Kits
As publishers of the DIY Boston blog for Boston.com, we're a little biased, but there's no recession trend hotter than the do-it-yourself movement. Gift your favorite doer with all the necessary resources to get started with either a Brit Kit ($29.99 and up), an Umba Box ($25/month or $75 for 3 months), and For the Makers ($29 per month, in 1 to 12 month options).
6. Wine Clubs
While there are plenty of cheesy wine-of-the-month clubs out there, small local wineries offer some fabulous options for loyal local supporters -- even allowing you to get around shipping restrictions for online wine purchases if you're gifting from an in-state winery. Two of our favorites are Westport Rivers in Massachusetts and Gruet in New Mexico.
7. Spotify Premium
For music lovers, nothing this year has been as disruptive or as Zeitgeist-inducing than Spotify. With Spotify Premium ($9.99/month with a 30-day free trial) your favorite amateur DJ now has access to millions of songs, online and off, on his or her phone, laptop, tablet, or home entertainment system. Road trips and parties will never be the same, in the best ever possible way.
Obviously, we're voracious consumers of print magazines, but we know we're not alone. Gift your favorite glossy addict with a year-long subscription to their favorite rag from Magazines.com (for print) or Amazon or Zinio (for digital versions on Kindles and iPads).
9. Food for Thought
For the gourmet foodie or home chef in your life, gift them with small batch discovery awesomesauce through a subscription to curated services like Love With Food ($10 per month + shipping, in 1 to 12 month options) or Eat Boutique (small batch by season, $100). For the farmer's market fanatic, give the gift of local CSA delivery through services like Boston Organics (from $24 per box for a small box), or look for flower shares, fruit shares, egg shares, meat shares — even medicinal herb shares (from $150) — from innovative growers like Red Fire Farm.
10. Dollar Shave Club
We're sure you've seen this year's most unbelievable ad-turned-viral video from Dollar Shave Club by now (and if you haven't, watch it here — now). Not only do they have a clever creative team, but they're product is pretty killer, too, offering serious discounts on men's razors by subscription (from $1 per month + shipping) and we hear directly from their social media team that a women's subscription is coming soon.
What are your favorite by-subscription gifts or last-second online gift ideas? Love to hear from you! Hope you're enjoying a very safe, happy, sustainable holiday season with your loved ones.