This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2021, our list of ideas, by topic, by recipient and by price, to help you discover the perfect gift.
Holiday shoppers might run into a few obstacles this season in their quests to stuff stockings. Even with stores launching early Black Friday deals, supply chains are feeling the impact of COVID-19. Online shopping skyrocketed last year with more people being at home. As a result, manufacturers, retailers and the shipping companies struggled to keep up without compromising workers’ health and safety.
Holiday shopping might be a bit challenging this year with supply chain shortages.
Even those who ordered gifts before Black Friday don’t have a guarantee that their stuff will arrive in time for Christmas or Hanukkah. We’re not saying the holidays are a wash and your purchases are guaranteed to be late, but 2021 might be the year to think out of the gift-giving box.
We rounded up a list of great subscription service gifts that everyone on your shopping list will love. Added bonus? They won’t go out of stock. We’ve linked either to the service’s page where you can buy directly, or the appropriate website to buy a gift card.
Something for everyone in the family
Disney Plus offers new releases like Shang-Chi, classic Star Wars, Pixar and Marvel movies, as well as Disney Vault movies and fun documentaries. Disney Plus is currently offering a one-year gift subscription offer for new subscribers.
See at Disney Plus
Great recommendations based on your listening history
Music streaming app Spotify is packed with songs and podcasts. There are even a few audiobooks if you know where to look. In addition to recommendations based on your listening history, it creates personalized playlists for you, keeps you updated on new releases from your favorite artists, lists where they’re currently touring and more. You can gift your loved one an ad-free Spotify subscription by purchasing a gift card. Gift cards only work with Premium Individual plans and not Premium Student, Premium Family, Premium Duo, or trial offers. We found multiple options through Best Buy.
See at Best Buy
Big music library, exclusive content and live radio shows
Apple Music, the in-house music and video streaming service from Apple. Like on Spotify, you can listen to music and playlists on-demand, access internet radio and more. The fun part about Apple’s gift cards is that you’re not locked into any particular service by buying one.
See at Apple
A huge catalog of family-friendly games
Apple Arcade is Apple’s $5 a month ($60 annually) gaming subscription service. The service has over 225 games with new titles added every week, as well as in-app events and game updates. The service includes Arcade Originals, App Store Greats and Timeless Classics playable across Apple devices without in-app purchases or ads.
Apple Arcade is also a CNET Editors’ Choice pick for 2021.
See at Apple Arcade
Xbox Game Pass
Best value for console gamers
Xbox Game Pass is an all-you-can-play video game subscription for $10 a month. The service offers a few different plans to best suit your gaming style. You can choose between Game Pass for console, Game Pass for PC (which includes a subscription to EA Play). Or there’s the Game Pass Ultimate, which offers games for PC, Console, the EA Play subscription, as well as the Xbox Live Gold and the cloud gaming beta.
See at Best Buy
An easy way to focus on your health, happiness and better sleep
The Calm app offers a wide range of guided meditations to assist in relaxation. The sessions — which range from 3 to 25 minutes in length — can also help with developing a daily meditation practice. Calm also includes soundscapes, sleep stories read by celebrities, wellbeing check-ins, breathing exercises and more.
In addition to subscriptions, Calm’s online shop also features weighted blankets, meditation cushions, journals and other mindful gifts.
See at Calm
Flexible, accessible workouts tailored to you
Fitness app Aaptiv is audio-only, so it’s like having a coach in your ear or a workout buddy. The app supports outdoor workouts including running and cycling, or workouts with treadmills, exercise bikes and ellipticals. You can also explore over 4,000 workouts like yoga, strength training classes and more based on difficulty, time and music.
Aaptiv usually costs $15 monthly, or you can subscribe annually for $99 and get a seven-day free trial. Currently, the app is running a special offer to gift a year on the app for $50.
For more ideas, check out our list of best workout apps.
See at Aaptiv
Delicious, healthy recipes made easy
Sunbasket is a healthy meal kit delivery service that uses fresh, organic ingredients while catering to different diets and nutrition plans. You can check out plans for vegetarians, vegans, keto, paleo and more. Sunbasket is a bit pricier than other meal kit services because it uses a higher quality ingredient, but new signups can get a discount. Also, if you want to share the Sunbasket goodness with a loved one, you can gift the service as well.
For more ideas, check out our list of the best meal kit delivery services, as well as coffee, tea and wine delivery subscriptions.
See at Sunbasket
Bean & Bean
Women-owned, fair trade, organic coffee
Bean & Bean
NYC-based triple-threat coffee company Bean & Bean — included on CNET’s list of favorite coffee subscriptions — lets you pick your favorite roast, grinds the coffee beans to your desired consistency, or keeps the beans whole. Bean & Bean also has tea, matcha, instant coffee, honey coffee and other products to shop.
You can also check out CNET’s lists for tea and wine delivery subscriptions.
See at Bean & Bean
Dozens of fascinating courses taught by renowned industry professionals
Get an early start on your New Year’s resolution to learn something new with a gifted subscription to Masterclass. The online learning service has over 100 classes to choose from taught by A-list celebrities with new content released every month. You can dive into cooking with Gordon Ramsay, filmmaking with Martin Scorsese, writing with R.L. Stine, science with Neil deGrasse Tyson, self expression with RuPaul and more.
You can give three different annual subscription tiers through the Masterclass website — Standard ($180), Plus ($240) or Premium ($276).
See at Masterclass
Best for shaking up your wardrobe
Stitch Fix is a clothing delivery service that you can customize to arrive at a frequency that best fits your schedule. Clothes shopping was stressful enough before the pandemic and Stitch Fix lets you do it from the comfort of your home. You can either sign up to get boxes delivered regularly, request a box for a special occasion or shop in the Stitch Fix online store.
Stitch Fix also has a gift card program that you can use in the online store or apply to items selected by their stylist. For more ideas, check out our favorite clothing subscription boxes.
See at Stitch Fix
Hunt a Killer
High quality, addicting, immersive mystery solving at home
Hunt A Killer
If there’s a true crime fan in your life, Hunt a Killer is the closest they’ll get to cracking a decades-old cold case. You can either choose a mystery or horror plan. Each mystery breaks down into about six boxes delivered to your house once a month. Boxes include letters, photos, maps, evidence, police and forensics reports and more. My husband and I first tried out Hunt a Killer last year and it’s one of our favorite activities now.
You can give Hunt a Killer — the horror or mystery plan — as a season pass (one case) or a full year (two cases).
See at Hunt a Killer
Book of the Month
Fresh book recommendations delivered to your door
Book of the Month
Book of the Month Club sends five books to your door every month (you can customize the frequency). Then you can pick a book (or books) you want to keep and send the rest back. Book of the Month gives great, new recommendations for an affordable price and offers the choice to skip a month. Your first month with Book of the Month is $10 and then it’s $16 a month after that.
For your avid reader, you can choose between three-, six- and 12-month subscription plans.
See at Book of the Month
Services and Software
TV and Movies