In the old-world order, when you gave someone the gift of a subscription, well, they got a magazine in the mail every month for a year. But now, driven by the boom in online shopping, businesses are radically transforming the world of monthly delivery services.
It’s easy to see the appeal this sort of gift holds. For one, all the curating is done for you by an insider who’s scoured the best the web has to offer in categories such as food, wine, clothing, beauty and wellness, even pet toys, packing them up to be delivered to a lucky someone in your life. And these packages are often easy to customize, giving them a personal touch.
They’re also easy to pay for, with a click on your phone or mouse, using credit card, Virtual Visa‡ Debit or Apple Pay‡. The latter is a great way to pay in-app: you input your credit or debit card in Apple Pay on your iPhone‡, iPad‡ or MacBook‡ for single-touch payment, making checkout a breeze.
One more perk: they’re a good “last minute” gift that looks anything but hasty. Of course, when you place your order, you’ll have to check the delivery window, to be sure the first box will arrive in time. Failing that, you could always hand-deliver a notecard that explains what will be trickling in month to month and directs your recipient to the subscription service’s site for more info. After all, waiting for a box on the doorstep is part of the fun.
Best of the Food Boxes
One of the best homegrown foodie subscriptions is the Chef’s Box from Foodie Pages. A different themed food adventure is delivered each month (with a quarterly option, as this one is pricey at $55 a shot).
If organic is your bag, you can always reach out to a local CSA – a community-sponsored agriculture initiative in which you buy a ‘share’ of a farmer’s output – anywhere across the country to deliver fresh food on your behalf. These co-operative ventures tend to operate only within the growing season, so this will be a gift to look forward to come spring. In the meantime, you can pull together and present a clutch of favourite produce-forward recipes that can be used once June’s bounty starts rolling in. Zephyr Organics, Organics Live and Front Door Organics are solid Toronto-area options if your recipient lives in this region.
Or if meat is their passion, you can’t beat Carnivore Club, which delivers artisanal cured meats sourced from around the world. If you’ve ever tried to bring a salami from Italy through customs, you know it’s a boon to have someone else managing the pesky regulations for you.
Or, for an adventurous cook, Raw Spice Bar will deliver an exotic aromatic on your behalf every month, an impressive but inexpensive little luxury.
Best of the Beauty Boxes
Topbox is a fun splurge for the beauty-lover in your life that delivers a grab bag of four cult favourite samples every month; look for names such as Benefit, Philosophy and Aveda in the mix. Luxe Box is a similar surprise package of seven beauty goodies (a mashup of full sizes and generous samples of products like celeb-fave Blinc eyeliner or Givenchy lipstick), sent out every three months. Ipsy allows the giver to create a portfolio of preferences to guide the monthly sample haul, while Julep has a heavy nail-polish component. Or, if vegan beauty is important to your giftee, check out Petit Vour.
Best of the Specialty Fashion Boxes
Box of Style by Rachel Zoe at thezoereport.com, which finally delivers to Canada, is timed to each fashion season and delivers more than $400 (U.S.) worth of full-sized goodies (and a hero piece of clothing or jewellery) for a quarter of the retail price. And it turns out socks – that classic clothing gift – are also a popular subscription item. Try Sock Panda to have a fun pair delivered on the regular. Or, for something a little more intimate, give a year of sexy underwear at Panty by Post.
Best of the Playtime Boxes
What to get the angler who has everything? Mystery Tackle Box will send a surprise lure each month anywhere in Canada. For stitchers, there’s Knit Crate, a knitting and crocheting box delivery service. Lootcrate.com is worth a look for gamers (and self-professed nerds). And for fuzzy friends, monthly pet toys and gear are available at BarkBox or PawPack.
‡Apple, the Apple logo, MacBook, iPhone and iPad are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the US and other countries. Apple Pay and Touch ID are trademarks of Apple Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owner(s).
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