These 5 Subscriptions Make Perfect Gifts That Keep on Giving

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Christmas present
Olena Yakobchuk /

Gift cards are easy to give and use. They have been the most popular type of present for more than a decade now.

At the same time, giving or receiving a gift card can feel unoriginal and impersonal. So, here’s an idea: Consider a gift subscription instead.

It’s just as easy for you to give and for recipients to use. Yet it feels special and thoughtful.

As with gift cards, there’s a gift subscription or membership option for pretty much everyone. The following examples will thrill folks of a wide variety of ages and interests.

1. Periodicals

Sure, you can read many magazines for free or cheap online. But sometimes it’s nice not to have to go through your library, or to receive a physical copy by mail each month. So, magazine subscriptions can make nice gifts.

Some magazines offer gift subscriptions directly on their websites. Amazon also makes it possible — and easy — to give someone a magazine subscription. For step-by-step directions, check out Amazon’s “Magazine Gift Subscriptions” page.

If your gift recipient is more of a newspaper reader, he or she might prefer a subscription to, say, the New York Times — digital or print edition. It’s among the papers that offer gift subscriptions — including a New York Times Crossword add-on for digital subscribers.

2. Amazon Prime

Amazon just keeps piling on the perks for Prime members. We highlight some of the best in “8 Big Freebies and Price Breaks You Get With Amazon Prime.”

So, if you know folks without a membership, chances are good that they could make good use of one.

Amazon offers two membership lengths if you want to give Prime as a one-time gift:

  • Three months
  • 12 months

If it turns out the recipient is already a Prime member — or isn’t interested in becoming one — he or she can exchange your gift for an Amazon gift card.

3. KiwiCo crates

KiwiCo sells several monthly subscription boxes for kids of all ages. The company refers to them as “crates.”

For every month of a subscription, the recipient will receive a box featuring a hands-on educational project.

KiwiCo says of the projects:

“We inspire kids to see themselves as makers — engineering and creating their own innovative designs and outcomes. … These fun and enriching STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) projects are designed to spark creativity, tinkering, and learning.”

Seven lines of KiwiCo subscriptions are available, each with a name like Tadpole Crate (for 0-36 months) or Eureka Crate (for ages 14-104).

If you give a subscription as a gift, you can opt to have the first month’s box mailed to you so you can give it in person.

4. BarkBox

What do you give to friends or relatives who are seemingly obsessed with their dogs? BarkBox is a popular option that keeps on giving. Canine Journal recently named it the No. 1 monthly subscription box for dogs.

You can gift someone a BarkBox subscription itself or a BarkBox gift card.

For every month of the subscription, your gift recipient will receive a box that contains at least two toys, two bags of treats and one chew.

As the company behind BarkBox explains it:

“… every month we ship all-natural treats, chews, and our original toys to hundreds of thousands of dogs across America and Canada. From the products to the packaging to the pics on social, we design every piece of each month’s box to create insane joy for dogs.”

Picky pet parents will be pleased to know that all BarkBox treats are made in the U.S. or Canada and are free of:

  • Wheat
  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Artificial flavors
  • Artificial preservatives

5. GameFly

If there’s a video game player on your gift recipient list, consider giving him or her a gift certificate for a GameFly membership.

GameFly is a video game rental service that boasts 9,000 titles, including new and classic games as well as movies.

As a GameFly member, your gift recipient will be able to rent either one or two games at a time, depending on the membership you select. GameFly will mail the rentals to your recipient.

There are no shipping charges for receiving or sending back games. There are no late fees or penalties, either. GameFly says, “With our service you can rent games or movies and keep them as long as you like!”

You can choose to have the gift certificate emailed to the recipient or print it out to give it personally. If you opt for email, you can have it sent immediately or on a date of your choosing.

Gift certificates for GameFly memberships are available in the following durations:

  • Three months
  • Six months
  • 12 months

Is there a particular subscription or membership you’d love to receive, or that you’d recommend as a gift? Tell us why by commenting below or over on our Facebook page.

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