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What’s in the Box? A Crash Course in Subscription Boxes

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What’s in the Box a Crash Course in Subscription Boxes

What’s in the Box? A Crash Course in Subscription Boxes

As we age, it’s important to maintain a sense of excitement and discovery in our lives, and with the ease and prominence of online shopping, a subscription box might just be the way to go!

Subscription boxes offer a wonderful way for seniors to receive curated surprises right at their doorstep. Whether you like snacks or books, makeup or murder mysteries—there is a box out there that can fit your interests and your budget, either for yourself or as a gift for someone else. Subscription boxes have been around in various forms for years but no one can deny that right now they’re definitely having their moment, with more being offered than ever before.

The modern subscription box model is based off of Birchbox, a service designed to help consumers discover new products by delivering a box of sample-sized beauty products directly to your door for a flat monthly price. The box is curated based on criteria you fill out beforehand—skin and hair type, brand preference, and personal style among others, in order to create a box that’s best for you. The sample sizes allow you to try out products and all box offerings are available for sale on their website if there’s one you can’t live without.

While Birchbox is the blueprint, it’s not the only beauty subscription box out there, nor is it the best for everyone’s needs. Maybe you’d like a box that offers bigger samples or brands that are easier to find in more stores; in that case, Ipsy might be more up your alley. Ipsy’s base box promises to deliver five deluxe-sized sample products as well as a makeup bag every month. There are also more expensive, premium plans that deliver full-sized products. If staying cruelty-free is important to you, maybe Kinder box is right for you—for a slightly higher price tag, you get three full sized clean beauty products as well as a selection of samples.

Maybe beauty and skincare isn’t your thing—maybe you’d rather have a snack instead!

Food-based subscription boxes are the bright-eyed little cousin to a full meal delivery service, and range in specificity from food type to country of origin. If you’re interested in trying different snacks from a lot of different places, there’s always SnackCrate. Every month, SnackCrate promises to deliver a selection of snacks from a specific country ranging from India to the Caribbean. You can choose whether your preferences lean towards the sweet or salty but other than that, your box contents will be a surprise until it arrives!

If mixed snack options are too overwhelming, simplify things by selecting a box dedicated to just one food. Jerky Snob offers boxes in a variety of sizes (two bags, four bags, or eight bags) that include jerky made by independent or small batch producers; choose the size you like and then if you find a winner, you can always buy it online right from their shop. For your daily cup of joe, try Atlas Coffee and a bag of single origin coffee will arrive once or twice per month depending on your plan. Each coffee will come with a postcard from the country of origin as well as tasting notes and history of the batch.

Want to include kids or grandkids in on the fun? There’s a box for them, too!

Each STEM Discovery Box includes three projects in a variety of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) topics for ages 7-12 with a variety of pricing plans depending on your subscription. Each kit includes everything needed to do the project, including batteries, so you never need to worry about not having a material on hand. KiwiCo offers a line of nine different boxes for different topics and age ranges so there’s something for everyone, no matter their interest! These boxes range from crafting kits to maker crates, cooking kits for the family chef, and sensory play for the tiniest learners in your home.

And of course, what list could be complete without something for your bestie on four legs? For your barking buddy, a month of BarkBox includes two plush toys, two bags of natural treats, and a chew. Boxes are curated based on the size of your dog and any dietary restrictions they might have. For your feline fave, KitNipBox includes treats, toys, and other supplies every month to keep them happy and healthy!

And who could forget the readers? With Book of the Month, you’re offered a selection of new hardcover releases to choose from which will occasionally include an early release that hasn’t been made available to the public yet, with the option to skip months if there isn’t anything you want. Instead of charging a flat monthly rate, Book of the Month charges by how many books you’d like to buy, ranging from a three-book membership to a twelve-book membership.

And what about for those of us who want books, STEM kits, birdwatching bags, a tech lesson, or community experiences for free, without paying a cent for shipping? Library programming and all offered items and services are free and available to everyone with a library card! For additional information about programming please call your local branch, follow @CitrusLibraries on Facebook or Instagram. Additional information can also be found by visiting us at

Hannah Sigler
Instruction and Research Librarian at Lakes Region Branch

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