8 Great Subscription Gifts for the Holidays

  • The Gift That (Literally) Keeps on Giving

    Christmas is just days away, and most of the shipping deadlines for Christmas Eve delivery have already passed at online retailers. So if you don't want to brave the malls but still want to have a gift in time for Christmas morning, signing up your giftee for a regular subscription service might be your best bet. Indeed, it’s an option that many procrastinators take advantage of. DailyDeals.com just concluded a daily deal that offered a 50% off deal on a one-year subscription to Newsweek, Maxim or Vibe, and the site’s general manager, Josh Maxwell, says that 45% of everyone who bought the deal purchased it as a gift for somebody else (he says that normally, less than 20% of total purchases are gifted). But we're not just talking about magazines. You can, for instance, get various types of food – from cheese to bacon to beer – delivered on a monthly basis. And there are also a number of online services that will remind your recipient of your generosity every time he or she makes use of it. Here are a few such subscription services that won't break the bank. Photo Credit: bravenewtraveler
    Two Years of Parents Magazine
  • Two Years of Parents Magazine

    LivingSocial has been stepping up its family-oriented offerings recently, and this deal is great for parents or parents-to-be: For just $7 you get two whole years of Parents magazine, a monthly publication. That’s a $24 value, and comes out to just 29 cents per issue. The offer is good for another 11 days, and once you’ve ordered it you can share it through your social network accounts; if three other people buy the same deal through your link, the deal will become free for you. As with most magazine subscriptions, it will take eight to 10 weeks before the first issue arrives, but at least your recipient will have something to look forward to in a couple of months. Photo Credit: livingsocial.com
    Esquire Magazine for Free
  • Esquire Magazine for Free

    Many publishing companies, desperate to boost their magazines’ circulation numbers, practically give away subscriptions at this time of year. And sometimes they literally go all the way and give away a subscription completely for free – the catch is that you just need to provide some personal information and answer a demographic survey. One such deal that’s currently active comes from Freebizmag.com, which gives away free subscriptions in exchange for an email address, a bit of demographic information and a short “survey” that is actually a series of product pitches. You’ll also need to plug in your real name as well as the name of your business, which may be a bridge too far for some privacy-conscious people. But the end result is a free subscription to Esquire, and your giftee never needs to know it didn’t cost you a dime. Photo Credit: amazon.com
    Various Magazine Subscriptions for $5
  • Various Magazine Subscriptions for $5

    Amazon.com is currently offering one-year magazine subscriptions for just $5. There are a total of 19 magazines on offer here, including New York magazine, Popular Mechanics and Good Housekeeping. You can also get a year of Esquire for $5, which may be good option if the dizzying array of survey questions and information requests from that freebizmag.com deal turned you off (see previous slide). The one caveat is that all of these magazine subscriptions auto-renew after a year, so if you decide you don’t like the magazine, you’ll have to remember to cancel before the year is over. It will, however, auto-renew at the lowest price available on Amazon, so you won’t get stuck paying the cover price if you forget. Photo Credit: Amazon.com
    Cheese of the Month
  • Cheese of the Month

    Cheese is great. You know what’s even better? Cheese that gets delivered to your house once a month, automatically. That’s the idea behind cheese-of-the-month clubs, which deliver different artisanal cheeses to your front door on a monthly basis. We’ve previously looked at the memberships offered by ArtisanalCheese.com, but that can get a bit pricey: The service costs $55 a month plus an additional $15 a month for delivery, which means that even a three-month gift membership will set you back $210. One lower-cost alternative is the package offered by cheesemonthclub.com, which provides three half-pound samples of gourmet cheese on a monthly basis for $30, plus $13 for shipping. You can sign up for between two and 12 months, which means that you can limit your expenditure to less than $100. Photo Credit: cheesemonthclub.com
    Craft Beer Club
  • Craft Beer Club

    We’ve previously recommended getting a 750 mL bottle of high-end beer for the beer lover in your life. But what if you mess up and get a style that he or she doesn’t like? You could hedge your bets by purchasing a variety pack at the grocery store, or you could go the extra mile and see to it that he or she gets special deliveries of assorted beer styles for months to come. That’s what you’ll get from the Craft Beer Club, which delivers 12 bottles a month to your doorstop for just $37.75. And unlike the cheese clubs, shipping is included. To further limit your expenditure, you can have the beers delivered on a quarterly or every-other-month schedule, and you can stop the shipments anytime. And your recipient will also receive three free gifts: a beer bottle opener, an assortment of gourmet peanuts and a set of four beer tasting glasses. To be fair, you could probably just buy your friend two six-packs every month and spend less than $25. But the novelty of getting a special delivery of beer, along with the fact that your friend will get brews from microbreweries from across the country, make this a great gift for the imbiber in your life. Photo Credit: craftbeerclub.com
    Xbox Live Gold
  • Xbox Live Gold

    If your giftee owns an Xbox, then a subscription to the Xbox Live Gold service is almost a must-have. Not only does it unlock the full range of multiplayer gaming features, it also transforms the gaming console into a full-fledged media delivery service: You can stream Netflix and Hulu Plus, and a recent software update added YouTube functionality (in addition to giving the user interface an attractive facelift). If you subscribe on a month-to-month basis it will cost you $10 a month, so your best bet is to get him or her a prepaid card. A 12-month card will cost you $60 if you go through the official Microsoft store, but you can generally get one for just $50 if you go through an online retailer like Amazon or NewEgg. You can also buy three-month cards for less than $25. Best of all, if you buy through Amazon you don’t need to wait for the physical card to arrive in the mail, as you can choose to simply receive a redemption code that you can email to your recipient. Photo Credit: amazon.com
    Amazon Prime
  • Amazon Prime

    When Amazon originally introduced its $79-a-year Prime service, all it offered was the ability to get free two-day shipping on all orders; as such, it was mainly aimed at frequent Amazon shoppers. Since then, Amazon has drastically expanded the scope of the service to include free access to its growing library of streaming movies and TV shows. And while that library still pales in comparison to the likes of Netflix and Hulu Plus, it does cost less on a monthly basis. And just last month Amazon gave Prime subscribers the ability to “borrow” one free Kindle book per month, though the books available through the program are limited due to contractual issues with the biggest publishers. Prime might not be for everyone, but if your recipient owns a Kindle, watches a lot of TV or simply shops a lot on Amazon, it might be worth it. Photo Credit: amazon.com
    Grooveshark Anywhere
  • Grooveshark Anywhere

    Grooveshark is a streaming music service that allows instant access to millions of songs, and is also a music recommendation engine. But access to all those songs doesn't mean much if you can't take it with you, and that's where Grooveshark Anywhere comes in: The premium service allows you to use Grooveshark's mobile applications, as well as remove advertisements and customize the user interface. Normally this runs you $90 a year, but the company is making a play for your holiday dollars by knocking it down to just $50 for the year. The pricing is only good through the end of the year. If there's one downside to the premium service, it's that Apple removed the iPhone app from its app store last year due to complaints from the music industry. You can, however, get it on your iPhone if you jailbreak your device. (Android and BlackBerry owners can get it without jumping through any hoops at all.) Photo Credit: grooveshark.com
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