These 5 Subscriptions Make Perfect Gifts That Keep on Giving

Give these subscriptions and memberships to friends or family this holiday season, and you're sure to make their "nice" list.

These 5 Subscriptions Make Perfect Gifts That Keep on Giving Photo by 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, as we recently reported.

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 five examples will thrill folks of a wide variety of ages and interests.

1. Texture

Texture is one of the neatest subscription services around. It might be the perfect gift for magazine readers who don’t want copies of paper versions piling up around the house.

Subscription holders get unlimited access to dozens of digital versions of magazines covering seemingly every topic. Take a look at the “All Magazines” list on Texture’s website.

Just make sure the gift recipient has a device that is compatible with the Texture app. The app is available for:

  • iPad and iPhone
  • Android tablets and phones
  • Kindle Fire HD tablets
  • Windows 8 and Windows 10 tablets and computers

Texture’s gift plan options are:

  • Three months
  • Six months

Alternatives: If you’d rather give someone a subscription to a single magazine, check the magazine’s website to see if it offers gift subscriptions. Many magazines do.

Amazon also makes it possible — and easy — to give someone a subscription to a particular magazine. 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 The New York Times, for example — digital or home delivery of the print edition. It’s among the papers that offer gift subscriptions — including a New York Times Crossword add-on for digital subscribers.

For folks who prefer books to periodicals, Kindle Unlimited is ideal. Subscribers get access to more than 1 million e-books. They don’t even have to own a Kindle — or any other e-reader, for that matter — as we detail in “How to Enjoy E-Books Without Buying an E-Reader.”

2. Amazon Prime

Amazon just keeps piling on the perks for Prime members — see “8 Major Freebies and Discounts You Get With Amazon Prime” for a taste of the best perks.

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-to-be 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. Kiwi Crate

Kiwi Crate is a line of monthly subscription boxes for kids. So, for every month of a subscription, the subscription holder will be sent a box featuring an educational project. If you plan to give a subscription as a gift, you can opt to have the first month’s box mailed to you instead, so you can give it in person.

A mother of three founded and runs the company behind this subscription service, KiwiCo.

KiwiCo says of the projects in its subscription boxes:

“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.”

Gift subscriptions in the Kiwi Crate line are available for four age groups:

  • 24-36 months (called the Cricket Crate)
  • 3-4 years (Koala Crate)
  • 5-8 years (Kiwi Crate)
  • 9-16 years (Doodle Crate or Tinker Crate)

There are two options for the 9-16 age group: the Doodle Crate, which features art and design projects, and the Tinker Crate, which features science and engineering projects.

Alternatives: Amazon started selling a competitor of sorts about a year ago. Called the Amazon STEM Club, this monthly subscription box features toys intended to encourage science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills.

STEM Club subscriptions are available for three age groups:

  • 3-4 years
  • 5-7 years
  • 8-13 years

4. BarkBox

What do you give friends or relatives who are seemingly obsessed with their dogs? BarkBox is one great option. Earlier this year, Canine Journal named it the No. 1 monthly subscription box for dogs.

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, eh.) 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 ingredients

There are four options for giving BarkBox subscriptions, all of which include shipping:

  • One month
  • Three months
  • Six months
  • 12 months

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.

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 future date.

As a GameFly member, the recipient will be able to “rent” a set number of video games per month, with the games mailed to the member.

GameFly boasts a collection of 8,000 titles, including new and classic games as well as movies. Games are available for consoles and handheld systems, such as:

  • PS3
  • PS4
  • PS Vita
  • Wii
  • Wii U
  • Xbox One
  • Xbox 360
  • 3DS

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

  • Three months
  • Six months
  • 12 months

You can choose either one or two video games per month. There are no shipping charges for receiving or sending back games. There are no late penalties, either. GameFly says, “With our service you can rent games or movies and keep them as long as you like.”

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

Karla Bowsher
Karla Bowsher
I’m a freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter who has covered both personal and public finance. I've worked for a top 50 major metro daily and a community newspaper as well as ... More


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