gifts they might actually want

The Best Subscription Services for Every Kind of Person (That Also Make Great Gifts)

Photo-Illustration: retailers

Even the most gifted of gift-givers can sometimes end up puzzling over what to get someone. Maybe you don’t know them that well, maybe you’re out of ideas, or maybe they’re just notoriously particular. Either way, subscription boxes are the answer. Essentially the upgraded version of a voucher, they’re as easy and quick to sort as an e-gift card, but far more thoughtful. Once you’ve handed over your money, someone else takes on all the effort of expertly curating, packaging, and shipping your gift and you get to sit back and take all the credit. The only hurdle is knowing what kind of subscription you need, given there are literally hundreds out there.

To help, we’ve researched the best giftable subscriptions for every kind of person, whether they’re an avid pasta lover, busy parent, or someone who just wants a really good pair of socks. We’ve also categorized these subscriptions into five sections — Food and Drink, Beauty and Grooming, Books, Kids, Home and Other — to make it easier for you.

Food and drink

For the person who likes a whisper of vermouth in their dry martini

Members of this high ABV club receive a full-size bottle of spirits of their choice and a smaller tasting selection each quarter, as well as access to live tasting events, cocktail recipes, and drink recommendations. Tasting boxes all have a quirky angle to draw drinkers in, from the hidden gems of Scotch to a “Mexican standoff” between tequila and mezcal.

For the person who isn’t sure of the difference between French and Italian vermouth

You can choose whether to send this cocktail box monthly or quarterly, which is helpful because there’s a lot included. Each box includes a 500ml bottled cocktail from the Cocktail Society, three cocktails from friends of the society, three DIY cocktails of the month, and three snacks to enjoy with them. There’s also a monthly cocktail magazine and cocktail samples, too.

For the person who did Italy by train

There are surely very few people on your list who wouldn’t be delighted by the prospect of a big box of pasta being delivered. You just pick how many servings you’d like to give and how many months to continue it for (it starts from just a one-month subscription), and the plan is delivered in the form of credit, giving your recipient full control over their pasta.

For the person who has a preferred fruit stall at the farmers’ market

If you know someone whose idea of bliss is just really good heritage tomatoes, they’ll really appreciate this weekly fruit-and-veg-box delivery. You can choose between a range of sizes, but everything included is seasonal, super-fresh, and grown by organic farmers.

For the person who turns their nose up at fruit for dessert

From £24

Hotel Chocolat has something for every kind of chocolate lover, from the Willy Wonka wannabes (the Inventing Room lets members be the first to try the brand’s new creations, before they’ve even been named) to the refined (the Rabot Coterie delivers a selection of “limited-edition cuvées” each month).

For the aspiring Bake Off contestant

There are those who like to pretend they’re on Bake Off every so often while making a tray of fairy cakes. Then there are those who are serious contenders for actually appearing in the tent. Both types of baker will love Baked In’s monthly baking kits, which arrive with a recipe and all your dry ingredients. Recipes are easy to follow even for beginners, and range from chocolate-orange jaffa cake to caramelised-onion fougasse. There’s also a kids’ baking club for anyone with budding junior bakers in their family.

For the person who curates their cheeseboard

From £35

“For too long has cheese been an afterthought” is the mantra of this cheese company, which is aiming to rescue its members from “bland, mass-produced” dairy. Instead, they curate boxes of cheese made by independent farms using traditional techniques that can be sent every one, two, or three months. You can also opt to remove polarising blue cheese or goat cheese, and pair it with condiments and crackers. Freshness is also prioritised, with climate-controlled packaging and a promise to replace any box delivered even a day late.

For the person who believes soup is just dipping sauce for bread

The main role of soup is really to facilitate eating more bread, and this subscription will make sure you’re never short of the carb-y good stuff in the face of any prime dipping opportunities. There are weekly, monthly, and bundle subscription options, with deliveries happening on Tuesdays, Fridays, or Saturdays. The loaf of the week is a prime option (though you can also get a sourdough plan), and can be delivered sliced or unsliced.

For the person who nibbles

This monthly subscription delivers a box of snacks from a different country each month for a cultural snacking experience. The cheapest box is only £6.99, but it’s worth bumping up to the £12.49 “original” box, which includes ten full-size snacks and a drink (the cheaper option only has five snacks and no drink).

For the person who’s made dry January a permanent fixture

You can choose between two main subscription options for this nonalcoholic beer subscription: For newbies, go for the Sobersauce discovery box, which has a mixture of styles to sample, or if your friend already knows their way around a bottle of alcohol-free beer, they can build their own box or choose a curated case.

Beauty and Grooming

For the friend who has a ring light

Birchbox
From £10
From £10

This carefully curated subscription will make sure they always have something new to beguile their followers with: The five handpicked deluxe sample and travel-size products in each box always come from brands you’ll actually want to try, like Sunday Riley or Amika. The boxes can also be personalised to fit your pal’s skin and hair needs, too, so no one with ultradry skin ends up with a hard-core foaming cleanser designed to slough off excess oil.

For the person who has just begun to double cleanse

Expand their beauty repertoire with LookFantastic’s comprehensive subscription. As well as delivering six products, it also guarantees big savings every month — you get way more value than the £15 cost per box (which goes down to £13 if you do a full year subscription). For October, the contents total close to £70, and include everything from scrunchies to oxygen glow cream to a turmeric face mask.

For the person who thinks there’s no problem a hot bath can’t solve

£10

Help them make the most of bathtime with this monthly delivery of freshly made bath treats. Each box has five items, including bath salts, fizzers, artisan salts, teas, and bombs. This month includes a mango-scented “cat face” bath foam and a kitty bath bomb that will turn the water pink.

Books

For the person who likes pale ales and paperbacks

There are a number of ways to do this book subscription with a difference. You can choose which books and craft beers you’d like to send yourself — there are also things like relaxing sleep spray, tea, and crisps in the mix you can add in — pay for it, and send it off as a one-time gift. Or, you can pick between two genres of subscription box — crime or nonfiction — where the books are preselected and paired with two interesting cans or bottles from up-and-coming breweries.

For the person who likes to read in the bath

Reposed picks one newly published fiction book each month and pairs it with three to five ultrarelaxing items from luxury or independent brands to elevate the reading experience, from chocolate to teas to bath salts. The box can be sent as a one-, three-, six-, or 12-month subscription, but you can also get a “seasonal” delivery that sends a new book to read as the weather changes.

For the person with a new godchild

Hachette’s Disney book subscription has a great welcome offer of £2.99 for a Frozen, Beauty and the Beast, or Lion King set, which is well worth taking advantage of. After this, each set costs £12.99 for a beautifully illustrated hardback version of a Disney story with a matching figurine.

Kids

For the kid who’s a future architect

From £22

As good for adults as it is for kids, Brick Box sends a delivery of Lego centered around a different theme each month to your parent friend. Whether they choose to pass it onto their child or not is up to them.

For parents who are into sustainability

From £10

Help them do their bit for the environment with this clever toy-swap subscription that makes getting new toys a lot more affordable and kinder to the environment. A subscription to a plan gives tokens that can be spent on toys from a library of over 1,000 toys. They can be played with for an unlimited time before being sent back, or if your child falls in love with the toy, it can be purchased at a reduced price.

For the family who wants more quality time together

Each month, four boxes, each with a unique activity that can be done as a family, are delivered to your doorstep with easy instruction cards and recyclable packaging. The “Play” box features an original game, the “Make” box has craft materials, the “Bake” box comes with ingredients for a recipe, and the “Do” box has an activity — for instance, growing tulips.

Home

For the friend whose home should be in Architectural Digest

Help them get ready for their someday on-camera walk-through of their flawless home with this box that picks out four full-size home accessories and delivers them each month. Items are designed to not war with your friend’s own taste or colour schemes: This month’s box has a fluted glass vase, an artisan poplar-wood picture frame, dried poppy seeds, and three fragranced candles. An individual box is £45, but getting a subscription will push the per box price down to £40.

For the person who always has a florist on speed dial

From £65

We don’t know anyone who isn’t instantly cheered up by fresh flowers, so this subscription from Bloom and Wild is essentially a good mood in a box. It’s super-flexible, with options for a pay-as-you go monthly or weekly delivery, or prepaid fixed-term subscription. You can also personalise the card cover and message that comes with each bouquet, and choose between classic evergreen or seasonal blooms.

For the person who wants an urban jungle but doesn’t know where to start

From £39

This lesser-known plant subscription is fantastic for newbies. Instead of blowing a lot of money on a huge number of plants (and risking immediately killing them all), this drip feeds a steady supply of greenery so your giftee is never overwhelmed. Each month, a new plant with a perfectly fitting pot is delivered, allowing them to get to know each individual shrub or flower and its needs. A surprise gift is also added every other month.

For the plant lover who kills all their plants

From £15

Succulents have literally adapted to thrive in harsh, desert-like environments, so if your friend is a serial plant killer try them on this subscription that sends a mini cactus or succulent each month, along with a pretty pot and collector’s card.

For the person who has a dedicated candle cupboard

Don’t question the size or fullness of the candle cupboard, just keep adding to it with a monthly tribute from Iggy Box, which sends a candle, a surprise gift, and a box of matches to be added to its depths. There are two size candles available, with the bigger one costing £19.95.

Other

For the person that just got promoted

From £34

Nothing screams CEO-in-the-making like a sharp new watch. Clockwork Club, thankfully, doesn’t cost CEO money, with a starting price of £34 a month for a year’s subscription — though you can go up to £200 a month. Each watch is guaranteed to be worth more than your subscription fee, with three levels available. The cheapest guarantees a watch valued between £40 and £408, while the most expensive “Connoisseur Collection” could see you sent a watch worth over two grand.

For the friend who actually wants socks for Christmas

No one, and we mean no one, will be disappointed by a fresh pair of socks each month, especially when they’re this nice. Created by an independent British design studio and produced to ethical standards, each pair is knitted with 200 needles so they look extra fine and last an incredibly long time without getting holes or turning threadbare at the heel. Each box of socks contains three patterned pairs, with options for a 12-month, six-month, or quarterly subscription.

For the person who gets hot and bothered by stationery

From £15

Papergang collaborates with a different artist each month to create a letterbox-size package of at least four items of exclusive stationery, from notepads to cards to cute little sticky notes. Subscribers also get a 10 percent discount to use on the Oh Deer website — the parent company of Papergang — and for every four boxes delivered, one tree is planted in collaboration with Tree Aid.

For the friend who hates reading

If they prefer podcasts to paper, get them a MasterClass subscription, which instantly gives access to over a hundred instructors and new online classes each month, from filmmaking with James Cameron to hip-hop storytelling with Nas.

The Strategist UK is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Read about who we are and what we do here. Our editors update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

The Best Subscription Services for Every Kind of Person