The untraditional holiday gift? A guide to your top snack, beauty and kid’s subscription boxes
The holiday season is right around the corner. We always say plan ahead with holiday gifts because you’ll save time, energy and money in the long run. But, what if you need to give a gift to a family member, friend or even a client that has almost everything?
While on the hunt to finding the perfect gift for these type of people, I came to the conclusion that subscription boxes were the answer to my gift buying prayers. If you’re not familiar with subscription boxes, they’re kind of like your magazine subscription, but instead of a good read, you get a sampling of snacks, beauty products, kids crafting items and more.
Depending on the subscription box, you’ll either get a handpicked selection of goodies sent to your doorstep or with some, you can even customize according to your taste. The excitement of coming home to a mystery box filled with goodies can never get old. It sure made me smile, every single time.
In order to weed out the good from the bad and yes, not all subscription boxes are created equal, I asked various subscription box companies to send their current month’s box for review (all were complimentary). From snack boxes to beauty and even kid focused boxes, I have the 411 for you. No more stressing over holiday gifts this year!
Most of us enjoy snacking, whether it’s to pass time or just to veg in front of the TV. If you like to sample things at the market or even at Costco, this is right down your alley. With these snack subscription boxes, you get to try a little bit of everything. From potato chips to chocolate, you’re covered. Plus, they make the perfect little gift as I’m sure you’ve heard that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach (I can say it applies to women as well).
1. Healthy Surprise. Just like the name, you’ll get many healthy surprises. By far, this was the biggest subscription box that I received and included 11 different full-size snacks to try.
I got to enjoy everything from dehydrated tomatoes to strawberry macaroons. I loved most of the snacks, but there were some that I didn’t as well. The point was to try out different things.
Everything is healthy and some are even raw. The box only included natural, vegan, gluten-free and soy-free products. So if you’re trying to find a gift for someone who has allergies or vegan, this would be perfect for them. Price: Starts at $33, plus $6.99 shipping for Starter Box.
2. Love with Food. I have to start off by saying that I love the name. Similar to the Toms One for One model, when you purchase a box, they donate a meal to a hungry child. That alone makes me want to support their business.
The snacks are delivered in a cute red box with their name on it. Inside, I received 8 little goodies to try. These were all sample sizes, so the low price reflects this. All were well received by my kids, except the spice rub. I left that aside for my husband to use when he barbecues next.
Being the lowest priced snack box, if you’re trying to get a gift well within your budget, this would be a good one. Price: Starts at $10/month, plus $2 shipping.
3. Vegan Cuts Snack Box. Whether you are a vegan or not, this snack box is the bomb. Compared to the other 2 that I reviewed, this one was the only box that came in a priority mailbox. So while it did not have cute packaging like the other ones did, the items inside made up for it.
The box included 9 items for me to try, both full and sample sizes. It ranged from Chia Crisps to Lemon Ginger Macaroons and even Dream Water. My kids fought over multiple items and so I can confidently say that it had some really nice goodies in it.
If you’re looking to find a nice gift for a vegan or health conscious person in your life, this would be perfect. But, like I said, you don’t have to be vegan to enjoy this box. Price: Starts at $19.95, plus free shipping.
There are plenty of girls out there that would rather spend money on hard-to-get beauty products than get groceries for the week. With anything in life, it can be a hit or miss. So if you’ve spent all your hard earnings on that 2 oz. Crème de la Mer that cost you $285 plus tax and you end up not liking it, you’re out of luck my friend. So this is where you can benefit from beauty boxes. You can try out many different products and if you don’t like it, it’s no sweat off your back. If you like it, it’s a win!
1. From the Lab. If you’re looking for a beauty subscription box that’s really a cut above the rest, this is the one. First, you have to be invited. In order to be a member, you put in a request and once they have space for you, you’ll get a notification. It makes the whole process feel very exclusive.
Once you are in, you get to enjoy a product 18 months before it’s available to the public. And no these aren’t samples, these are the full sized products.
I received the body serum and let me tell you, it was huge (6.7 fl. oz). I am not a big fan of thick moisturizers, so I was pleased when the serum was light and glided on my skin easily. Plus, it dried on so fast that I had no issues putting my jeans on afterwards (a big plus in my book). Price: For a limited time, you can get a charter membership for $19.95, which is 33% off the regular membership.
2. Beauty Box 5. If you know a gal that likes a little bit of everything, this would make for the perfect gift. From luxury to eco-conscious brands, you get a selection of 4-5 products to sample each month.
In my box, I received 5 items to try out. From the items that I received, I really liked the eyeshadow and nail polish. Most of the items were sample sizes, but they were big enough for me to get a sense of the product and decide if I liked or disliked them.
The samples come in a cute box and packaged like a gift, so any girl who gets one with feel extra special. If you’re on a budget, this is priced low enough to get your beauty cravings out the way without breaking the bank. Price: $12 per month, free shipping included.
3. Blissmo. I am a bit of a health nut, so if you’re thinking about buying a gift for me or maybe even your earth goddess friend, this would be the perfect box to get for them. All the items are natural and most are vegan, gluten free, paraben free and more.
They have a variety of boxes and the one I got was the summer beauty box. You may have to check with customer service to see when their next beauty box will be coming out. My box included 7 items. Four of them were full-sized products and the rest were samples. I really liked that the prices of the full-sized items were indicated on their items sheet (you know that you are getting your money’s worth).
As for packaging, it came in a brown cardboard box with their name stamped on it. It was plain and simple. Perfect for the items that I got to sample. Price: $19.95, plus $4.95 shipping. (Use this coupon from Blissmo box to save $10 on new memberships)
4. Vegan Cuts Beauty Box. If you have a friend who wouldn’t want a rabbit to be harmed in the process of making something that they liked, this would be the perfect gift for them. All the beauty items in this box are cruelty-free. While it does come in a plain cardboard box, once opened, the packaging is cute with the products that are inside.
I received the August Beauty Picks and it included products from 7 different brands. Some were full-sized items and some were samples. I got to test out lip balms, natural deodorant, sunscreen, nail wraps, moisturizer, and even though I don’t have acne, the acne spot treatment worked well on a breakout spot that came with aunt flo (girls, you know what I’m talking about).
Most of the included products, I would have never tried on my own and I’m glad they were included in this box because I am ready to buy the full-sized versions. If you have a vegan friend or someone who is adventurous in trying new things, this box will make for a nice gift because it has an assortment of products that will please many tastes. Price: $19.95 per month, includes free shipping.
As Parents, we’re always looking for activities to do with our children. There’s only so much you can blow balloons, play chalk outside and do airplane (btw, my kids love airplane, but my back can only take so much). So if you’re planning on getting a gift for a child, please take a moment to look at the wonderful kid’s subscription boxes out there. Many have research behind them and most all of them provide some sort of educational element to the fun activities. I have to say that the ones I tested were a parent’s dream.
1. Little Passports. Do you know a kid who likes to learn about new things and possibly even dreams about traveling into a far far away land? If you’re looking to find ways to engage your child and have them think outside of their box, this is the perfect gift for them.
My kids received the World Edition and the USA Edition. Both were equally engaging and had my kids think about the world outside of our community. My oldest daughter took out her US Map to look at places she went to and also looked at places where she wanted to go. She also took pictures and even had an art scratch pad which turned a plain old black page into a cool looking art piece.
My younger one got the World Edition which came in a very cute little mini suitcase with a little passport. In an instant, my daughter became a world class traveler. We read a letter from Sam and Sofia and looked at the map. She’s still on the younger side, so we ended up playing pretend on her travels to Paris.
Both subscriptions made my children use their imagination and think about where they wanted to go, beyond the local park. If we continued with the subscription, they would get activity packages every month to continue their journey. Price: Both editions start at $11.95 per month for their monthly plan. (For every friend you refer, they get $10 and you get $10 with this offer from Little Passports).
2. Green Kid Crafts. If your kids like to get their hands dirty, this subscription box is one that will keep them occupied in a fun way. Both my girls like to get down and dirty in the yard, so I knew they would be all about this one.
Appropriately, our box’s theme was the My Weather Station. Interestingly, my oldest one has been asking me about the weather, how the temperature changes, so I knew these activities would help answer some of those questions. The only problem with it was that I had to mediate a fight between who got what.
At the end of it all, we were able to create a Wind Sock, My Weather Station and Cloud Finder. While the projects only took a few hours to do, everything was well-made that they could use it for months to come.
As a parent, I liked that every project got a stamp of approval from a panel of experts and followed the Happy & Healthy Child principles. Plus, every project used eco-friendly materials which teaches our kids to love and respect the environment.
It’s a wonderful subscription box that will keep your kids engaged for hours. Price: $19.95/month for monthly subscription and $24.95 for a Single Gift Box. (You can save 20% off orders $199 or more on birthday activities and favors by using this coupon from Green kid Crafts).
3. Little Pnuts. Can I say delightful? Not only did it bring a smile to my children’s face, it brought a smile to my face as well. The packaging is 5 stars. Yes, it does come in a cardboard box, but the second you open it, you know you’re in for a surprise.
This subscription box is geared for the very youngest crowd, so compared to the other two that I reviewed, this one is from 0 to 5 years of age. You have the option to choose from 3 delivery programs: infant, toddler and preschool. You include if they are male or female and their birth date.
Since my daughter is 4, we received a curated box specifically for her age, developmental milestones and gender. The box also focused on fine and gross motor skills, cognitive, and language and social skills. Included in the box were a fishing game, binoculars, knots box and a red wooden sailboat. Retail value of $59.96.
While it was geared towards my younger 4 year old, my 7 year old loved it equally. I actually had the problem of my 7 year old trying to take over every activity. The products were all well-made, most by a french company and allowed my kids to be adventurous, creative and also worked on important life skills, such as building patience and focus.
This subscription box is definitely at a higher price point, but if you look at the items you get, you’ll know why. You have the option to choose a one time payment or a monthly payment. If you have families in other parts of the world, they also have an international gift subscription option. Price: $240 one time annual payment or $25 monthly payment with free shipping for US and separate charges for international shipment. There are only 4 boxes per year.
If you are looking for an unconventional gift to give this holiday season or anytime of the year, these subscription boxes will light up anyone’s face. For me, it was like celebrating my birthday, anniversary and Christmas over again. To sum it up, you’re like a kid in a candy store!
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