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Christmas: The best subscription boxes for gifting

A monthly dose of cheer delivered to the doorstep: a subscription box is the gift which truly keeps on giving. Alice Ryan rounds up the best boxes to give this Christmas

Tingle (52850365)
Tingle (52850365)

The brand: Tingle

The deal: A mystery selection of five/six full-size self-care products delivered to your door for £10 per month.

The story: Created in founder Natalie James’s East London living room in summer 2020, Tingle is designed to make self-care more accessible, affordable and fun.

The box: Ranging from makeup, skincare and haircare to beauty tools, aromatherapy and more, the product mix changes monthly. Featured brands include Dr Lipp, Ciate London, Bourjois Paris, Beauty Launderette, Charles Worthington, Umberto Gianni.

Best for: The branding has a cute, Noughties vibe sure to appeal to the younger generation, but the value for money makes this one a winner for anyone needing a little TLC.


Awebox (52850354)
Awebox (52850354)

The brand: Awebox

The deal: A customisable pick-and-mix of products, priced from £26 (for four choices) to £34 (for six) per month.

The story: In 2017, brand founder Nathalie Verduystert was asked to pitch a business idea when applying for an entrepreneurship postgrad. The idea was Awebox and it proved such a winner, she turned down her place at Cambridge to pursue it.

The box: What really marks Awebox out from the crowd is the fact it’s fully customisable. Choose four or six product categories from a list of 20 - which, brilliantly diverse, spans everything from beauty, candles and chocolate to booze, stationery and pet treats and toys - and you receive a couple of mystery items from each.

Best for: Anyone whose likes and dislikes you know well; tailoring the selection makes for a truly personal present.


Bakester Box (52850355)
Bakester Box (52850355)

The brand: BakesterBox

The deal: A monthly home-baking kit, containing pre-measured dry ingredients and an easy-to-follow recipe, £55 for a three-month subscription.

The story: A Le Cordon Bleu-trained pastry chef, founder Tamsin Robinson spent a decade working for private and corporate clients before, in the summer of 2020, deciding it was time to share her knowledge.

The box: Month one contains all you need to make chocolate chunk cookies (choose between walnut or pistachio), month two is buns (cinnamon or cardamom), month three is tarts (dark chocolate or butterscotch, rye and nut). Bonus features include some pro kitchen kit - month three’s box includes an Exoglass tart ring - and links to foolproof online tutorials.

Best for: Budding bakers and anyone with a sweet tooth.


Blissbox (52850357)
Blissbox (52850357)

The brand: BlissBox

The deal: A mystery selection of self-care gifts, plus inspirational quotes and tips, all tied up with twine and topped with dried flowers, from £60 for a quarterly box.

The story: Shareen Kullar started practising self-care to combat stress five years ago and found the impact so profound, she launched BlissBox to spread the word and share the love.

The box: With an emphasis on the handmade and independent British brands, each quarterly box contains between nine and 12 items. Expect natural beauty and pamper products (soaps, salves, salts), luxe accessories (such as soft woollen socks and pure silk hair wraps) and mindful craft activities (miniature sketch and scrapbooks, make-your-own kits).

Best for: Someone who deserves a little more me-time.


Yu Parfums (52850366)
Yu Parfums (52850366)

The brand: Yú Parfums

The deal: Three 10ml vials of exclusive-to-Yú fragrance, plus atomiser case and tester spills, for £40 alternate months.

The story: On the basis that every scent tells a story, Yú Parfums come in bi-monthly “editions”, each containing three “chapters” “narrated by the best noses” (AKA a global team of expert perfumers, who create the scents, all of which are vegan and cruelty-free, exclusively for Yú).

The box: The editions are themed: Edition II, for example, explored the tactility of scent, with the three fragrances hero-ing cashmere, organza and suede. The vials slot neatly in and out of the accompanying atomiser, plus there’s a pack of spills, so you can sniff before you wear. The box is even styled like a book, complete with labelled spine.

Best for: Fragrance adventurers.


Freddie's Flowers (52850358)
Freddie's Flowers (52850358)

The brand: Freddie’s Flowers

The deal: A box of super-fresh, seasonal stems, delivered with arranging guide and flower food, £25 per week.

The story: Launching his floristry business from a gazebo in his parents’ garden, founder Freddie Garland (yes, really) started making weekly bouquet deliveries by milk float in 2014. Today Freddie’s Flowers, just certified carbon neutral, has a turnover in excess of £30 million and 110,000 customers nationwide.

The box: Painstakingly packaged, in fully biodegradable materials, each box contains a selection of flowers and foliage plus step-by-step instructions to help you condition and arrange them. What’s ingenious is that you can skip a week or weeks with a swift tap of your online calendar - so you can have deliveries weekly, fortnightly, monthly; whatever suits.

Best for: Anybody who loves flowers. Thanks to the step-by-steps, there’s no need to be a pro arranger to get lovely results.


Glossybox (52850359)
Glossybox (52850359)

The brand: GLOSSYBOX

The deal: A themed selection of five beauty products, some sample- and some full-size, from £11.75 per month (if you sign up for 12).

The story: An OG in the world of beauty subscription boxes, GLOSSYBOX launched a decade ago and now operates in 10 countries, employs trend scouts in Paris, Milan, New York and Tokyo, and has long-standing relationships with more than 100 premium and niche makeup, skincare and haircare brands. Ie: its finger is firmly on the beauty pulse.

The box: The balance between household and break-out names is one of GLOSSYBOX’s biggest selling points: you can expect both old favourites (ESPA, Elemis, Rodial, Huda) and new discoveries (Knd*r, Lottie London, Frank Body). The value’s amazing, too: each month’s contents tots up to £50 or more at retail prices.

Best for: Beauty lovers of all ages and stages.


Light Box (52850363)
Light Box (52850363)

The brand: Light Box

The deal: An artisan and all-natural scented candle with 30-50 hours burn time, plus mini matchbox and “side treat”, £19.99 per month.

The story: When scented candle lover Laura fell pregnant, she wanted to swap her usual mainstream formulas, many of which included parabens and paraffin wax, for natural alternatives. Discovering “a whole new world of clean-burning candles”, she started Light Box in January 2020 to share her indie and artisan finds.

The box: Designed to take the recipient on a journey of discovery, Light Box’s main-event candle changes brand and fragrance each month. Recent highlights include Aery’s Before Sleep and Den Perfect’s Spiced Pumpkin. The “side treats” also vary: think herbal tea, gourmet popcorn.

Best for: Anyone health and planet conscious. And anyone with a soft spot for quality home fragrance.


Beans Coffee Club (52850356)
Beans Coffee Club (52850356)

The brand: Beans Coffee Club

The deal: A 250g bag of independent roastery coffee, tailored to your palate and preferred brewing process, from £7.99 per month.

The story: Five years ago, Richard and Fiona Jones started selling coffee from a mobile van outside their local train station. Sourcing from independent artisan roasters, they wanted to share their discoveries with a wider audience - and so Beans, now officially the UK’s largest coffee club, was born.

The box: On signing up, you’re asked to take a quick questionnaire so the Beans team know how you like your coffee (eg, whole or ground, for pour-over or French press, fruity or caramel-y). They then match you with a different coffee each month; working with 15 indie roasteries, they have 100 varieties to choose from.

Best for: Coffee lovers, obviously. It’s a great way to get out of a brand rut and find a new favourite.


Graft Gin Club Box (52850360)
Graft Gin Club Box (52850360)

The brand: Craft Gin Club

The deal: A full-size bottle of craft gin with paired mixers, sweet and savoury snacks, plus a copy of the club magazine, for £40 per month.

The story: Founded in 2015 by business-school friends Jon Hulme and John Burke following a brainstorm in a London bar - over G&Ts, obvs - when Craft Gin Club appeared on TV’s Dragons’ Den the following year, all four moguls made an offer. With Sarah Willingham, now on the board, the winning investor, today the business is the UK’s biggest club for gin lovers.

The box: Taking centre stage each month is a full-size bottle of craft gin. Prioritising interesting indie makers, the brands are brilliantly varied; even a bonafide gin aficionado is sure of some surprises. You also get tailored tonic and garnish to make the perfect G&T, cocktail-of-the-month ingredients, snacks and the magazine, which contains brand interviews, recipes and more.

Best for: Gin drinkers who want to try something new.


HOOHAA (52850361)
HOOHAA (52850361)

The brand: HOOHAA

The deal: A monthly 10ml vial of niche, premium, unisex fragrance, selected to suit your personal scent preference, £14.95.

The story: Aware that in the “crowded and noisy” fragrance market, smaller brands often struggle to be seen and heard, Lorenzo Vasini and Ryan Hall launched HOOHAA earlier this year to showcase the wealth of independent producers “pushing the creative boundaries of perfumery and disregarding binaries that previously defined the market”.

The box: Choose one of three scent edits - Easy Does It (easily wearable yet interesting), Buckle Up (for those willing to take a wee risk) and Take Me To Mars (for the truly adventurous) - and receive a surprise expert-selected fragrance each month. Brands featured to date include Maya Njie, Gallivant and Maison Matine.

Best for: Someone who loves scent and is looking for a new signature.


Love My Read (52850364)
Love My Read (52850364)

The brand: LoveMyRead

The deal: A brand-new paperback, plus bookmark, postcard bundle and surprise treat, £9.99 per month (premium and children’s packages are also available).

The story: LoveMyRead works directly with publishers to bring the latest and future best-sellers to your door. Founded on the belief that “sharing a story is one of life’s greatest gifts”, for every 12-month membership sold it also donates a brand new book to schools.

The box: Each month, LoveMyRead’s team of experts - which includes guest authors: Malorie Blackman and Frank Cottrell-Boyce have both curated past children’s boxes - draw up a shortlist of six titles for subscribers to select from. Your choice is delivered with the brand’s signature bookmark and postcard bundle, plus an extra treat (sweet and savoury snacks, pamper products).

Best for: Bookworms. Especially if they’re fond of contemporary literary fiction.


Iggy Box (52850362)
Iggy Box (52850362)

The brand: Iggy Box

The deal: An ethical, artisanal, seasonal scented candle, plus mini matchbox and surprise little extra, for either £14.95 (for 30 hours burn time) or £19.95 (45+ hours) monthly.

The story: Inspired by their “shared love of creating calm and cosy spaces at home”, Iggy Box was launched by partners Gem Beeston and Doug Perry in 2018 to both showcase the country’s best artisan scented candle brands and encourage “self-care and taking time out”.

The box: Featuring only candles made from clean-burning, plant-based waxes and eco-friendly, sustainably sourced ingredients, each month’s Iggy Box contains a seasonally scented candle from a different maker - such as Feathers & Fellows, run by a pair of Suffolk mums, and Solu, founded by friends in Cheshire - plus matches and a small (often edible) surprise.

Best for: Home birds or anyone in need of a little extra self-care.


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