Subscription Boxes – the Art of the Last Minute Online Gift
Maryanne: Two weeks until Christmas Day. What’s a gift that you don’t even need to wrap? Courtney is with our friend Ryan Eldridge from Nerds On Call learning about all the best subscription boxes to give everybody.
Courtney: You know how much I love subscription boxes. These…I’m telling you, ever since they came out they’ve been the most genius thing ever. So you’ve got subscription boxes, Ryan, you say for the nerd in the family.
Ryan: More than just the nerds. We’ve got the aspiring bartender, we’ve got the nerd, we’ve got the geek, we’ve got the book lover and we’ve got somebody who’s interested in puzzles and games.
Courtney: Oh fun, oh my gosh. Okay, so let’s start with the bar, barkeep.
Ryan: Okay, so this is the Cocktail Courier. We showed these guys last year and I freaking love these guys. So if you ever go to a bar and you order a couple of cocktails and you go, “These are so good. I wish I could make these at home.” And then you buy a bunch of stuff and you’re like, “I don’t know what I’m doing.”
Courtney: I don’t know what I’m doing. Yeah.
Ryan: These guys will send you all the ingredients you need to make a specific cocktail. This is called the Nutcracker Sour.
Courtney: How cute?
Ryan: You get the materials you need. This is a box that’ll make up to four. This is a box that’ll just make for two. This one is called the, what is this called, the Reindeer Games.
Courtney: How cute?
Ryan: And look at this, they even send you the little dried oranges [crosstalk 00:01:05].
Courtney: It really looks like you know what you’re doing.
Ryan: Yeah, so these range anywhere from $30 to $50 depending on the size of the kit that you get. And you can get multiple subscriptions or you can just buy one box, just as a present.
Courtney: Oh, that’s awesome.
Ryan: How cool is that?
Courtney: I love that.
Ryan: So I’ve been so busy playing that I haven’t unpacked everything yet. Sorry. So we’re going to kind of unpack as we go, I guess. Let’s just see how it goes.
Courtney: Okay, works for me.
Ryan: So this is Geek Fuel. When they raised their prices this year, and I was a little disappointed but then I opened up the box and I was like holy jeeze, there’s so much junk here. I mean there’s just,…this book is amazing, it’s got all this cool artwork in here.
Courtney: Oh my husband would totally dig that book.
Ryan: Oh, it’s awesome. So you get this book, you’ve got little gift cards here, you’ve got little pins. Look at this, Excelsior.
Courtney: Oh, look at that. That is awesome.
Ryan: I would put that on my car before a coexist sticker, I tell you that. How cool is that?
Courtney: That’s great.
Ryan: Anyway, these guys are really amazing. They go from anywhere from, $65 or you can buy three for $244. So like I said, it’s a little pricey, but man this will give you stuff all year long.
Courtney: Yeah, and that stuff you can’t just find anywhere.
Ryan: And if you want it cheap, buy the $65 box, wrap all this stuff individually, Christmas is done.
Courtney: Look at you. Look what you did.
Ryan: I’m all there.
Courtney: That is genius.
Ryan: Okay, so this is one that my wife absolutely loves.
Courtney: I dig this.
Ryan: This is for book clubs. Now you may not have a big group of people, you’re maybe travelling, you don’t have…so this, if I open this up, one of the coolest parts of this is not only do you get the book, but you get individually wrapped presents for a page in the book. So you get to that page, you open up this present.
Courtney: What? Shut up.
Ryan: And it’s related to what you’re reading.
Courtney: Oh good, that’s awesome.
Ryan: How freaking cool is that? Anyway, there’s discussion forums, all kinds of cool stuff you can get into. Let me see how much the price of this is. So this is 35 bucks for one month or three months for $101.
Courtney: That’s actually pretty cool.
Ryan: How cool is that? Look at this. I don’t even know what this is but it’s awesome.
Courtney: It’s like a little compact of some sort.
Ryan: Page 257, don’t look at it yet.
Courtney: Oh, because it’s, so it’s the page…
Ryan: You’ve got to wait until you get to page 257.
Courtney: Doggone it, but I want to… Look, Maryanne, I’m going just to wait till the last page. Okay, fine. Tell me about this one.
Ryan: Okay, so this is the curiosity box. So this is more for like your game lover. It’s made by the guys from Geek Fuel. And look at this, you get a cool T-Shirt in here, you’ve got like little, oh…I haven’t even opened this all up yet. Let’s see what’s in here. This is a cool poster.
Courtney: Of fun.
Ryan: Oh my gosh, look at that. I’m digging that, okay.
Courtney: Oh, look at that.
Ryan: All right, so then you get little toys, little games, our giant book.
Courtney: See and just like how you’re opening it, this is how you open it when you get the box, because you’re like, “Oh, look at all the cool stuff.”
Ryan: So these, by the same makers as Geek Fuel, this is about 50 bucks a box, and they say that there’s about $100 value in every box. So again, this is just a really cool subscription box for something, if you want to get something for somebody and you’re just not quite sure what to get them, this just keeps giving over and over and over.
Courtney: It’s just fun.
Ryan: And if you’re going to get something like this for somebody and you’re like, “I don’t have the box yet because it’s only two weeks before Christmas,” then just wrap up a picture of it, put it under the tree.
Courtney: Yes, I’ve done that before. That’s a great idea.
Ryan: Yeah, and then two weeks later, boom, they get the box with all the presents. It just keeps on giving.
Courtney: People like getting stuff that’s not a bill in the mail.
Courtney: All right, we’re going to link all this information to our website, gooddaysacramento.com, under Show Info and today’s date, for more details. Mrs. Nerd is coming in the next hour.
Ryan: Oh yeah, we’re going to do the kids, subscription boxes for kids, how cool is that?
Courtney: Awesome, awesome. Maryanne, back over to you.
Maryanne: Fantastic, we haven’t seen Mrs. Nerd in a long time…
Courtney: I know.
Maryanne: …here making an appearance for the holidays. Thanks, you guys. All right…
What if I told you that there is a gift that you can get last minute, which is perfect for anyone on your list, and that will be remembered well past the holidays? Urban legend? Fairytale? Au contraire!
They’re called subscription boxes and they are figuratively (but not at all literally) the bee’s knees.
So what are these things, exactly? You’ve probably already intuited that they are boxes of stuff to which you can subscribe. Gold star for you! But it’s probably also worth adding at this point, the stuff in many of these boxes have one highly desirable characteristic making them a perfect gift solution.
Ready for it? Here it comes.
The contents of most subscription boxes are carefully curated to be a perfect storm of interesting, high-quality and possessing that unique quality of “I only realized I totally needed this thing when I saw it.”
There’s a certain magic to a good subscription box. It’s the gift of repeated moments of “oooooh!”
In this article, we’ll look at a bountiful bevy of last-minute subscription box gifts that keep on giving.
Subscription Boxes for Adults:
Cocktail Courier for the Budding Bartender
Ordering options: Single box or subscription, $30 to $50 per kit.
Here’s the beautiful thing about Cocktail Courier. You don’t just get a box of cool drink-making stuff. You get a box of stuff which gives you a great excuse to have friends around for fancy drinkies.
In each box, you get everything you need: alcohol (duh), juice, garnishes, fruit, and even the mixing paraphernalia. Just crack open the box, read the clear directions and in no time you’ll be making drinks that’d look right at home in a particularly sultry episode of Mad Men.
Subscriptions start at 3 months and you can choose anything from mini size (2 people) up to party size (up to 24 drinks).
Ordering options: Quarterly boxes. $65 for 1 or $244 for 3.
If true happiness for your intended gift recipient takes the form of a mysterious blue telephone box, Geek Fuel is where it’s at.
Geek Fuel regularly sends out a cardboard encased treasure trove of stuff that makes geeks run around in circles saying “woot!” Limited edition toys, collectible pop culture artworks, games, comics t-shirts and other assorted wearable merch all grace the mysterious rattly innards of a Geek Fuel delivery.
There’s something in each box for geeks of every persuasion—and a subscription will be their quarterly ticket to woot town.
Once Upon a Book Club
Ordering options: $30 for 1 month. $101 for 3 months.
Right off the bat, you need to know there’s more to Once Upon a Book Club than meets the eye. The lucky recipient of this subscription will, of course, receive a regular supply of carefully chosen books. But that’s only the outer layer of this particular flaming ball of awesome-sauce.
Because each book comes with three to five individually wrapped gifts with page numbers from the book. As you read each book, you’ll unlock a series of interestingly relevant prizes. How unrelentingly exciting is that!
To top it all off, you’ll also get a quote print from the featured book and a bunch of discussion questions you can use to form the foundation of your next book club meetup.
The Curiosity Box
Ordering options: Quarterly boxes. $50 per box.
From the same folks who brought you, Geek Fuel comes The Curiosity Box (*cue echo reverb*). This awesome subscription box is designed with the same bones as Geek Fuel.
Just as with its geeky cousin, the lucky recipient of this service receives a regular shipment of cool and unexpected curiosities. But this time, the focus is on science-related gifts. Maybe you’ll get a poster visually documenting NASA’s history of space missions. Perhaps you’ll receive a table of periodic elements t-shirt or a science-toy or DIY experiment.
It’s a bunch of fun and a great added bonus is that a portion of every sale goes toward Alzheimer’s disease research.
Subscription Boxes for the Kids:
Courtney: …the best ones for kids of all ages.
Julissa: Yes. I got a couple of nerds with me this morning.
Ryan: It’s a nerd sandwich.
Courtney: I know.
Julissa: It’s a nerd sandwich. I love it. And I love this. We love subscription boxes around here. And this is such a great way to keep the gift keep on going throughout the year.
Andrea: Yes. I think kids get really overwhelmed at Christmas when you got like a junk-ton of stuff all at once. This is a nice way to kind of spread it out, doing fun stuff throughout the year.
Julissa: And also, they learn a little something along the way, which I always love to sink it in. Let’s start with this one for those aspiring chefs or bakers.
Andrea: Yes. So, we have a six-year-old. She is all into baking now. And I will tell you that the prospect of baking with a six-year-old is daunting. Like, oh my gosh, am I ready to destroy my kitchen? So, Foodstirs is awesome. They send you a box with everything in it. It’s like you just open the box and you can make it.
Julissa: And they have great things.
Andrea: And they’re designed to be for kids, so you can make little frosty frozen friends, you can do the gingerbread man. We actually did this in my house last year and it actually looked like that.
Andrea: Oh my god, it was a blast.
Julissa: That’s amazing. That’s crazy.
Andrea: Yes. Simple instructions. Yes. The kids can follow along. And like I said, all the things you need are in the box. So, they send you the icing tips, they send you the sprinkles. And it’s all organic, non-GMO. Great kit. It was actually put together initially by Sarah Michelle Gellar, who, of course, you know Buffy. We gotta support Buffy.
Julissa: Love that. Love that. Okay. Who doesn’t love Legos? Which kid doesn’t love Legos, right?
Andrea: Lego kiddos. So, this kit is called Brick Loot, and it was designed by a guy when he was nine years old. He is now, four years later. And he sent out these unique but themed kits. So, this one on the table is their dinosaur kit, you’ve got these custom Brick Loot sets that you can’t get anywhere else, which is really cool. So, it’s not like stuff that you can just buy off the shelf. So, for your true Lego fans, they get a special themed box once every month.
Julissa: That’s cool. So that’s the dinosaur. This is like a city…
Andrea: This is a city-themed one. One of them actually, I saw they had these little stickers where you could make custom faces for your guys. I don’t know where it is though, that’s cool. But it’s in there somewhere. So, there are these really fun sets for your Lego lovers. And with any of these kits, you can buy them standalone, you can buy them for a few months at a time. They get less expensive the more you sign up for, but you can just buy a single kit.
Julissa: I love this one because I do have a…My daughter loves to read.
Andrea: …. which is awesome. Yes. OwlCrate Junior I love as well. Our son is actually a huge reader. Gives you a book every month that’s themed towards like a popular middle school book. This one is one that’s got part of a series about, you know, the story of Grumpy the Dwarf. But then, they give you a bunch of gifts that surround that book as well, just to kind of encourage your kid to be excited about reading that story. So, you’ve got the little Snow White character with the little surprise bag. You got rock mineral exploration, some signatures from the author.
Julissa: And last, but not least, we’ve got the Kiwi Crate, which is great because they have it for all ages. From baby all the way to teens.
Andrea: They do. They’ve got a billion different crates, so anything your kid likes. We’ve got two of the boxes out today. This one is their doodle crate, and then we’ve also got their tinker crate. So, more for like the artsy-craftsy. And then, for STEM-based. Yeah, so you make your own little felt succulent garden. Super adorable.
Julissa: This I could keep alive.
Andrea: Yeah, right? And these cost you about 20 bucks a month. So, really not too expensive for the Kiwi [inaudible 00:03:11] stuff. But like I said, any kid, any age, they’ve got something for them.
Julissa: I love it. Such great ideas as you’re doing a little shopping for the holidays. So, we’ve got all of this linked up to our website gooddaysacramento.com, if you’re thinking of maybe doing something out of the box. You like that? All right. Thank you both for being here this morning. Back over to you.
Courtney: [crosstalk 00:03:26] Good stuff. Fabulous. Well, why talk..
Ordering options: $24.99 for 1 month. Also available in batches of 3, 6 or 12 months. Costs decrease the more months you purchase.
Foodstirs is all about cooking as a family. In every box, you’ll get organic, fair trade ingredients, food-safe decorations and all the cooking paraphernalia you need to bake up something amazing.
This product is built around cooking with kids, so a big draw for this subscription is that everything about the product, from recipe instructions to food selection, is made to be kid-friendly.
Here’s a weird factoid for you: Foodstirs was co-founded by Sarah Michelle Gellar. So we’re delighted to announce this product is Buffy The Vampire Slayer certified. That has to count for something!
Ordering options: $27 for 1 month or $78 for 3 months.
Imagine a world where cool Lego model kits appeared magically at your door every month. For a ton of adults, this would be highly desirable. But for a lego-obsessed kid, we’re looking at a blocky Shangri-La.
And it can happen!
With Brick Loot, 4 to 8 unique lego models will arrive at your door every month. Custom kits, lego accessories, limited edition minifigures, you name it. Many of these builds are “never before seen” and unique to the Brick Loot service.
If you want to make a lego-loving kid (or adult) truly happy, this is how you make ‘em happy.
Ordering options: $28 for 1 month,$81 for 3 months, or $156 for 6 months.
OwlCrate Junior is designed to help kids foster a love of reading. The books target a middle-grade level of reading and each book comes with a handful of exclusive gifts, endorsed by the author.
This has to be one of the best ways to bring a steady stream of fun, age-appropriate reading material into a young ‘un’s home life.
Ordering options: $20 for 1 month. Rates decrease as more months are ordered.
Kiwi Crate is all about craft. It’s a subscription service specifically designed to celebrate the joys of getting your hands all goopy with glue and those little sparkly things that get stuck on your face for weeks. While they’re designed for people of literally any age, the crafty pursuits included in these packages is amazing for toddlers up to teens.
You get all the materials you need to make something, along with learning materials and a guide for parents so they can support the creative process in a perfectly hands-off kind of way.
The bottom line is, subscription boxes offer the beautiful possibility of giving someone you love something they love, not just once but time after time. And that’s a pretty good deal for everyone concerned.
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Originally published 12/18/17, updated 12/10/18