Looking for a last-minute gift? Give a subscription box instead

Subscriptions are the gift that keeps on giving—literally. Like, every month.

Looking for a last-minute gift? Give a subscription box instead

It’s the 11th hour. You still haven’t found the perfect gift for someone on your list. Shipping deadlines are long since past.


If you’re still looking for a last-minute present, look no further than this list. From socks to CBD, subscription boxes now come in every possible category you can imagine, which means you can pick a box that is perfectly aligned with your recipient’s interests (and your budget). Giving your friend or family member a subscription means they’ll continue to receive your gift over the months to come; subscription companies specialize in surprising and delighting consumers by scouring the market for the best possible products to deliver in each box—giving your recipient something exciting to look forward to in the mail all year.

Over the past few years, I’ve reported about the many subscription startups that have entered the market. Here’s a list of the best boxes I’ve discovered.

Trade Coffee

[Photo: Trade Coffee]

$12.50-$22 a month from Trade


If you have a coffee lover in your life, they’ll love Trade. There are now hundreds of specialty coffees on the market, with roasters around the country making distinctive single-origin coffee and blends. It can be hard to navigate all the options out there. Enter Trade, which is like the Spotify of craft coffee. If you buy a coffee subscription as a gift, your recipient will be able to take a quiz online that will help Trade figure out their taste, then it will proceed to send bags of coffee (either whole beans or ground) from different brands, customized to their palate. They can also choose the frequency at which they get their coffee shipped.


[Photo: FabFitFun]
$49.99 a quarter from FabFitFun

FabFitFun is a lifestyle box that offers women a range of products related to beauty, fitness, fashion, and home decor. It also provides very good value for money: Each quarterly box costs $49.99, but the products inside are worth between $200 and $300. The brand also offers some level of customization, allowing subscribers to pick between several options so they don’t get anything they don’t want or need. The company curates products from well-known brands—the Winter box, for instance, featured a candle from Jonathan Adler and hair products from Drybar. This subscription is sure to delight any woman on your list.


Farmgirl Flowers

[Photo: Farmgirl Flowers]

Starting at $50 from Farmgirl Flowers

If your friend or loved one enjoys having fresh flowers by their desk or at home, the only thing better than sending a bouquet is sending a bouquet subscription. With Farmgirl Flowers, you can pick the type of bouquet you’d like to send—and the price point that works for your budget—and have them sent on a regular basis, from weekly to monthly. Since the company uses flowers that are in season, the arrangements will look different every time they arrive. Each package also comes with a fun little enamel pin featuring many different motifs, like a unicorn or a vintage cassette tape, allowing your recipient to have an enduring memory of the posies you’ve sent him or her.

Feals CBD Subscription

[Photo: Feals]

$20-$171.47 from Feals


Many people find CBD useful as they go through their day, whether to aid concentration, deal with pain, or sleep better. The problem is that it’s hard to figure out exactly what dosage works best for each individual, since every person’s tolerance to CBD differs—40 mg may be enough to send one person into a deep sleep, but someone else might need four times that amount. Feals is a great solution: You can give a gift of $20 “flights” that offer different dosages of CBD. When the recipient has found the dosage that works best for them, you can proceed to get them a monthly subscription of a vial of CBD that comes in the strength that suits them.


[Photo: Ipsy]

Starting at $12 a month for the simplest Glam Bag, all the way to $50 a month for the premium Gam Bag Ultimate from Ipsy

There are many beauty subscription boxes on the market, each with their unique selling points. Ipsy stands out as far as value and personalization go: Your recipient will take a quiz to help Ipsy identify their skin tone, hair texture, and other details. Then, for $10 a month, they will receive a bag with five beauty products customized to their needs. Some of these items will be premium samples, but some will be full-size. It’s the perfect gift for someone who loves experimenting with beauty products.


Book of the Month Club

[Photo: Book of the Month Club]

$12.50 to $16.66 from Book of the Month

Do you have a bookworm on your list? A subscription to the Book of the Month Club could be an ideal gift. The company curates a list of books every month, many of which are recently released titles. Most are fiction, spanning a range of genres, from science fiction to romance (there are occasional nonfiction books in the mix, too). You recipient will be able to pick the book that seems most interesting to them—or if they’re still working on last month’s book, they can choose to skip the month.


[Photo: Barkbox]

$22-$29 from Barkbox


For the dog lover in your life, Barkbox is a great holiday present. Every month, they’ll receive a box of toys and treats for their pup. Your recipient can include details about their dog’s size and preferences to get a box customized to their needs. Some of the products in the boxes are unique to Barkbox, and there are sometimes even fun theme boxes, like Knights of the Hound Table (which includes medieval-themed toys, like a dragon toy) and Throwbark Thursday (retro-looking toys, like a roller skate chew toy).


[Photo: Globe In]

$43-$48 from GlobeIn

If you have someone on your list who loves to travel, GlobeIn is a great subscription box option. The company works with artisans from around the world on products based on traditional designs. The items span home goods, jewelry, and fashion accessories like scarves. Think: Colorful handblown wine glasses from Mexico, wood carved earrings from India, and plates with Turkish patterns on them. The boxes come with cards with details about the country where the products originated and the people who made them. And the best thing about the boxes is that they support the communities who made them. By placing large orders of their products, GlobeIn is able to support artisans in remote areas that would never have such a large, global audience.


Little Passports

[Photo: Little Passports]

$12.95-$19.95 from Little Passports

Last but not least: For the kids in your life who are excited about exploring the world, there’s Little Passports. You can pick the subscription based on the child’s age, starting at 3. First they’ll receive a cute mini suitcase—then, in the months that follow, they’ll get little packages in the mail based on a particular theme related to global exploration. It might feature a specific country or a broader concept, like oceans. Kids will get educational toys, along with postcards, trading cards, and a booklet with fun activities.

About the author

Elizabeth Segran, Ph.D., is a senior staff writer at Fast Company. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts