(Graphic: Helen Jane Hearn/TueNight)
In 2015, as Facebook algorithms remind us to ping each other with birthday e-cards and Amazon gets closer to making deliveries by drone, the idea of gifting someone a jelly of the month — an anything of the month — feels quaintly retro. Strike that: It feels right.
Send your favorite humans some good-old-fashioned, curated-and-dispatched-by-real-people, recurring snail-mail love. (It doesn’t have to be jelly.)
1. Vinyl Me, Please
The “best damn record club today” kicks off your recipient’s new bespoke music library with one of their special-edition color LPs (think Wilco’s AM in swirling marigold, or a limited-edition clear pressing of Father John Misty’s I Love You, Honeybear). Each month thereafter, they’ll send a new album, a 12”x12” art print inspired by the album and a custom cocktail recipe pairing.
Starts at $99 for 3 months + 1 bonus album, vinylmeplease.com
2. One Story
Your favorite bookworm might now prefer an e-reader to full-sized tomes — I get it, I nearly dislocated my shoulder trying to read War and Peace on the subway a few years ago — but they won’t be able to resist One Story, an award-winning literary magazine. Once every three weeks, they’ll receive a brand new, kick-ass short story, perfect for tucking into a purse or back pocket.
$21 for 12 issues, onestory.com
3. Bitters + Bottles
Born from the belief that everyone should know how to make a great classic cocktail, this service builds its subscribers a home bar (and shows them how to make the most of it) over the course of three months. Each goodie box includes four to six full-size bottles of quality spirits; an explanation of each spirit’s provenance, flavors, and affinities and five surefire recipes. Give the gift of never having to wait for 30 minutes by the counter at a faux speakeasy again.
4. Sullivan Street Tea & Spice Co.
This Old-World-inspired shop in NYC’s Greenwich Village offers three versions of its cozy care packages, each of which will brew 30-35 cups: Tea Purist (an assortment of non-flavored bestsellers), Flavor in the Mix (non-flavored teas plus seasonal fruit, spice and floral blends) and The Herbalist (caffeine-free mixes of herbal and herbal-blend teas).
$40 for 3 months, onsullivan.com
5. Soaptopia Soap of the Month Club
Discerning bathers will love a monthly dispatch from sunny southern California, where the small-batch soaps are all natural, heavenly smelling and cruelty-free. Crafted with fresh ingredients and essential oils, each six- to seven-ounce bar is packaged in “nesting fibers and leaves, petals, [and] dried flowers.” Decadence has never felt so virtuous.
$48 for 6 months, soaptopia.com
6. Candy Japan “Mystery Sweets”
Finnish expat Bemmu Sepponen lives in the Land of the Rising Sun (that is, Tokushima, Japan). Twice a month, like an eccentric globetrotting benefactor or Santa Claus by way of Sanrio, he will send the addressee of your choice a box full of inexplicable and delightful Japanese candy. This right here, my friends, is the best of the Internet.
GiftLit’s team of expert curators (think librarians, authors, educators and industry experts) believe “a book given as a gift should be special.” To that end, they create specialized collections for everyone from board-book-gnawing babies to cookbook collectors and send each of their monthly selections with elegant gift wrapping and a personalized book plate. Give this to the old-school reader in your life — or to encourage a few new ones.
$29.95 and up for 3 months, giftlit.com
Show a budding artist — or one who lacks a Jeff Koons-like budget for sampling slick new gear — some love with ArtSnacks’s shipments of premium supplies. Each hand-selected mailing is road-tested by art professionals and arrives with tips and tricks from experts. Check out #artsnackschallenge for a look at what happy subscribers have created with their kits.