Stuck on What To Gift?: The MSA Team’s Gift Picks for Holiday 2020
Among the lucky are natural-born gift-givers who always have thoughtful ideas stowed away. The rest of us spend hours (sometimes weeks—months!) scratching our heads, scrolling through gift guides, hoping a fitting idea shows up. Here at MSA we put a lot of thought and care into our guides for women’s gifts, men’s gifts, gifts for teens, and more, but sometimes the best ideas are the ones you get from your friends. We’re friends, right? Here, our team shares what they’ll be getting for some of the loved ones on their holiday list. Some are subscriptions we love, some are unique items selected especially for the individuals in our lives, and all are linked here in hopes of helping you find the right gift.
Updated 11/3/20 to add a link to our Marshmallow of the Month review.
Our Gift Picks for Moms, Partners, Friends, and More!
…or keep scrolling to read them all!
Picked by Taryn, Contributing Writer:
The Gift: CURATEUR (formerly Rachel Zoe Box of Style)
The Cost: $99.99 per quarter.
COUPON: Expiring Soon! Use code CYBER50 to save $50 off your first box!
Who It’s For: My mom
Why I Chose It: My mom’s birthday is in December, so with that and Christmas so close together, I am constantly looking for one big gift for her. She works so hard and takes care of everyone else, I want her to feel pampered, and what better way to do that than with a quarterly subscription box! This box is a higher price-point, which makes it a great double gift. Plus, it is filled with luxurious beauty products and fashionable items and accessories. I have always admired Rachel Zoe and used to watch her Bravo show with my Mom, so I trust her style with any gift for my Mom! With this box, I will be able to gift my Mom high-quality items that will delight and surprise her multiple times a year, which is perfect for someone like her that doesn’t always take the time to treat herself.
Check out our CURATEUR reviews for more info.
Picked by Becca, Contributing Writer:
The Gift: Peace & Pages
Who It’s For: My mom
The Cost: Starts at $25.99 per month. Save with longer subscriptions.
COUPON: Use code HIGH5WELCOME to get 5% off your first box!
Why I Chose It: My mom is obsessed with books, and has been known to read multiple books in one weekend. I chose to purchase the Deluxe Box for her as it includes a book from a genre of your choice, a full-sized bath/body product, a full-sized aromatherapy product, a book accessory/gift, and a gourmet snack or drink item. After reading some reviews, I feel my mom would enjoy the previous curations, and because reading is her favorite pastime, I think it will turn her hobby into a full experience.
Good to Know: Each month Peace & Pages accepts a limited number of new subscribers that will start their subscription with the next month’s box. They are now sold out of the November box, we will re-open sales on 11/1 for the December box.
Check out our Peace & Pages reviews for more info.
Picked by Naomi, Contributing Writer:
The Cost: $76
Who It’s For: Mom
Why I Chose It: My mother is in LOVE with Sol De Janeiro’s Bum Bum Cream. She raves about it, from the delicious scent to the rich buttery texture to the ultra-moisturizing formula. See, one fateful FabFitFun summer box a while back, I received a Sol De Janeiro’s Bum Bum Cream and Body Wash in my subscription. Mom was all like “Oh, what is that?” and “Let me use a speck… My hands are dry.” Then BAM! Before I knew it, she was out the door and in the car with MY Bum Bum Cream! It was gone in a few weeks and Mom went to repurchase, then… She saw the price, lol. Bless her heart, my practical, and if not frugal, mom refused to buy herself more, even though she loved it. So, every year on her birthday and Christmas, I stock her up. Throughout my life, my mom has sacrificed so much, giving up so much for her family. Even now that the children are all grown, she denies herself little luxuries out of habit. But not this one. Sol De Janeiro’s Bum Bum Cream is one of those little luxuries in life I will always make sure she has. She deserves it! I am super excited for her to unwrap this even bigger Limited Edition Biggie Biggie Bum Bum Cream! I already know she’ll love it.
Picked by Andy, Photo Director:
The Gift: BarkBox
The Cost: $29 per month + free shipping. Save with longer subscriptions.
COUPON: Get a free extra month when you sign up for a 6 or 12 month subscription. No coupon needed - just use this link.
Who It’s For: My mom
Why I Chose It: My mom has had a really difficult time with the pandemic and not being able to see our family much in person this year and decided to adopt a dog a few weeks ago, and I knew right away that Barkbox was going to be a great gift for both of them. I look forward to opening Barkbox every month in the studio because they’ve always got something fun and/or ridiculous in the box, along with treats that every dog seems to love. I know my mom is going to be so happy to get to shower her pup Kelli with toys and treats every month.
Check out our BarkBox reviews for more info.
Picked by Sara, Content Manager:
The Gift: Winc
The Cost: Bottles start at $12.99 each with a membership. (Shipping is free on orders of 4 or more bottles.)
Who It’s For: My husband (but secretly for me!)
Why I Chose It: My husband always mentions how subscription boxes never arrive on our doorstep for HIM, so I wanted to change that this year! We both enjoy a glass of vino in the evening, and Winc allows for total customization each month. My plan is to gift him a gift card with the hopes we’ll take the preference quiz together 😉 Win, win!
Check out our Winc reviews for more info.
Picked by Christen, Copywriter & Editor:
The Gift: Splendid Spoon
- $65 for 5 smoothies delivered weekly. ($13 per meal)
- $95 for 5 smoothies and 5 bowls delivered weekly. ($9.50 per meal)
- $135 for 5 smoothies, 5 bowls, and 5 soups delivered weekly. ($9 per meal)
- $185 for 5 smoothies, 5 bowls, 5 noodles, and 5 soups delivered weekly. ($9 per meal)
COUPON: Save $25 off your first box! No coupon needed - just use this link.
Who It’s For: My husband…and myself.
Why I Chose It: My lunchtime game was changed for the week-or-so that I got to taste my way through the new Splendid Spoon noodle bowls (read about my experience here!) I don’t think I could possibly get tired of their healthy, flavorful dishes, but the cost is a little steep for my family’s regular budget. Definitely worth the splurge, though, for a Christmas gift that fills our bellies instead of our home!
Check out our Splendid Spoon reviews for more info.
Picked by Carlos, Contributing Writer:
The Gift: Postmark’d Studio
The Cost: $25 per month + $5 US shipping. Save with longer subscriptions.
COUPON: Use code MSAFS or MSA404ME to get free shipping on your first box (MSAFS) or save $10 off your first box with a 3-month subscription (MSA404ME).
Who it’s for: My lovely wife
Why I chose it: My wife is gaga for flowery stationery, cute cards, and new stamps. She is single-handedly keeping the USPS afloat. She buys more than she sends out, but that means she always has a card for any occasion. The only thing she may like more than sending mail is receiving it. So Postmark’d is absolutely perfect for her. Every month subscribers get a few cards, some little related doodads, and they even give you some vintage stamps to use.
Check out our Postmark’d Studio reviews for more info.
Picked by Lacey, Product Manager:
The Cost: $206.53
Who It’s For: My husband
Why I Chose It: Admittedly this is a spendy gift, and one that is a bit annoying to buy and ship to the US, but if you need a gift for someone who is into Scotch it’s really an impressive and well thought out selection! I bought one of these back in 2017 for my husband (his sole gift that year), and he’s basically talked about it every holiday season since. While it’s certainly not cheap, at the current exchange rate it’s about $8.50 per day (not including shipping), which I think is not a bad price considering the overall experience and variety. It looks like this year’s version includes a notebook for your tasting notes, too, which is a nice touch. While my husband usually sips on Laphroig or Lagavulin, he really loved the routine of sitting down and sharing his impressions of each sample with me each night after the kids were in bed. Drinks by the Dram produces the calendars but does not ship to the US, so I’ve purchased from Hard To Find Whisky in the past, but they are also available from The Spirit Co and a handful of other websites.
Picked by Jessica, Contributing Writer:
The Gift: Nintendo Switch Lite
The Cost: $199.99
Who It’s For: My boyfriend
Why I Chose It: This is actually a new experience for me – even though I am 26, I have never had a (serious-ish) significant other at Christmas time to give gifts too. This will also be the first Christmas my boyfriend will really celebrate, so I feel all of the extra pressure to show him just how magical the Christmas season can be. We had a lot of video game dates when we first started seeing each other due to the pandemic, and he will be gone frequently next year due to trainings in other states. I think the nintendo switch lite is the perfect combination of portability and entertainment – it won’t take up a ton of space when he packs, we can play each other when he has access to wifi, and it will always remind him of the time I used my feminine wiles to steal his star in a game of Mario Party on my ultimate path to victory.
Picked by Haley, Contributing Writer:
The Gift: Ember Mug
The Cost: $99.95
Who It’s For: My husband (and myself!)
Why I Chose It: My husband’s coffee (and mine, too) always seems to go cold while we either chase around our three small kids or while we game together and can only sip between matches. I’ve been looking at an Ember mug for years, but they released a new 14 oz version and I think this Christmas is the year I snag a couple! They’re pricey, but we both drink 1-2 cups a day and I think we’d get enough use out of them!
Picked by Andy, Photo Director:
The Gift: Trade Coffee
The Cost: Varies based on which coffee you’re matched with, but ranges from $15-$25.
COUPON: Get 30% off your first subscription shipment, plus free shipping! No coupon needed - just use this link.
Who It’s For: My brother
Why I Chose It: I’ve been going deeper and deeper into the coffee rabbit-hole for several years now and my brother has been right there alongside me (from across the country). We often text each other new roasters and varieties that we’ve tried, swapping tasting notes and Aeropress recipes, one-upping each other with new gear, etc. When I shot Trade Coffee’s cold brew subscription a few weeks (?) months (?) ago (what is time this year anyway?) I was sending him updates on the process the whole time. What better way to help him discover new stuff all year than with a subscription?
Check out our Trade Coffee reviews for more info.
Picked by Brandi, Contributing Writer:
The Gift: StitchFix
The Cost: $20 styling fee (pay for any items you keep minus the $20 credit) + free shipping and returns.
Who It’s For: My sister-in-law
Why I Chose It: My sister-in-law and I are so similar; she also has three young kids (her oldest is 4 and youngest is 8 months), she is also a former teacher turned stay at home mom, and we are even the same age (and went to high school together!) Additionally, we both share a love for StitchFix and their convenient delivery service that allows us to try on trendy clothing in the comfort of our own homes! It’s so much easier to get these pieces styled and sent directly to us instead of dragging three kids to the store or lining up a babysitter so we can go solo. They also have free returns which make it easy to send back what doesn’t work and it’s as easy as popping it in the regular mail. We love sharing what we get in our fixes with each other and I’m happy to give her a gift card that I know she will use to buy something she loves and feels good in!
Check out our Stitch Fix reviews for more info.
Picked by Adriane, Head of People:
The Gift: CAUSEBOX
The Cost: $54.95 per quarter, $49.95 per box with an annual subscription.
COUPON: Expiring Soon! Use code BF20 to save $25 off your first box!
Who It’s For: My sister
Why I Chose It: The bag from the Fall 2020 Welcome Box! She’s a new mom and has way more to tote than she used to. These look like they have ample room for mom stuff and some baby essentials. She also doesn’t buy animal products, so the fact that this is vegan is awesome. I might gift the other stuff as stocking stuffers for the rest of the fam.
Check out our CAUSEBOX reviews for more info.
Picked by Sarah, Channel Manager:
The Gift: Book of the Month
The Cost: $14.99 per month.
COUPON: Expiring Soon! Use code READUP to get your first book for $5!
Who It’s For: My fellow bookworm friend
Why I Chose It: I’ve loved Book of the Month for years and have been spreading that love around to fellow book lovers. I have one friend in particular who I always talk to about new releases, favorites genres, and trade our latest reads. In addition to picking one of five new releases, the add-ons are awesome to browse through each month. We’ve both been burning through books now that we’re all staying in more so it feels like the perfect time to gift this subscription.
Check out our Book of the Month reviews for more info.
Picked by Nicole, Contributing Writer:
The Gift: Friends Box
The Cost: $39.99 per quarter + shipping.
Who It’s For: My cousin, Patrice
Why I Chose It: My darling cousin/best friend, Patrice, is probably the biggest Friends fan I know. I can’t say the same for myself (other than my failed Rachel hair cut from the late 90s), but she truly is a super fan of the show. The girl can quote the show at the drop of a hat! No matter the situation, she has a knack for finding a Friends reference or anecdote to compare it against. I think if I gave her this subscription box she would utter an OOOOH MYYY GAAAAWWWD that would rival Janice’s for sure!
Check out our Friends Box reviews for more info.
Picked by Julie O’Boyle-Sharp, Copywriter & Editor:
The Gift: Surfrider Foundation membership
The Cost: Starts at $25
Who It’s For: My brother
Why You Chose It: My brother lives across the country from me and doesn’t like to accumulate a lot of extra stuff, so finding a gift that he’ll appreciate and find useful is always a challenge. My siblings and I are all extremely different, but if there’s one thing we have in common, it’s a love for the outdoors, especially the ocean, so this year my gift will be two-fold: A gift membership to the Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit that works to protect and preserve our oceans and coastlines, and a gift card to Bookshop.org, an online retailer that supports indie bookstores. The Surfrider membership is meaningful in that it goes towards something he cares about, and as an avid reader, he’ll be able to pick out a book or two from Bookshop to read on his next surf trip to the coast.
Picked by Laine, Contributing Writer:
Gift or Subscription Box: Marshmallow of the Month Club
The Cost: $25 per month.
Who It’s For: My best friend and her husband
Why I Chose It: My best friend and I have been close since we were teenagers – we actually constantly get mistaken for sisters! She is one of the most selfless people I’ve ever met, and thankfully, she married a guy who is just as good as she is. I feel so lucky to be so close to them both! They both are crazy for sweets, and there are a lot of dessert and baking subscriptions to choose from. My best friend does love to bake, but she works long hours, so I think a no-fuss, just-treats gift will be the perfect gift for them. The variety of marshmallows and chocolates in this box will definitely keep things interesting for them, and the portions look reasonable, so things won’t just sit around in their pantry. They have a fire pit to make the s’mores every month, and while she’ll love the added tea or hot chocolate, I know her husband will gladly drink any coffee that may make an appearance!
Check out our Marshmallow of the Month review for more info.
Picked by Megan, Senior Writer:
The Gift: VOLUSPA Advent Calendar Mini Candle Set
The Cost: $75
Who It’s For: Multiple people!
Why I Chose It: I always like to have small but mighty gifts on hand for stocking stuffers, small hostess gifts, or just as fancy little add-ons to a larger gift. This advent calendar is something I would love to keep all to myself but the collection of 12 different little votives would make 12 awesome little presents across the holidays for my wonderful neighbors, my fave local mailman, our endlessly patient vet, literally anyone! It makes me feel good to shower the people who make my life better (and easier!) with a little token to just let them know that they are appreciated.
Picked by Haley, Contributing Writer:
The Gift: Osmo Genius Starter Kit
The Cost: $99.99
Who It’s For: My 5-year-old
Why I Chose It: My son loves games and I know that he will just love this educational tool that works with your tablet (iPad or Kindle Fire). Basically, it’s a stand for your tablet that lets your tablet detect tiles and pieces that you place on the table in front of the tablet. You download the corresponding Osmo game and it sets up really fun games for your kid to learn through, like tangrams or counting and math to Pop number bubbles and Create a fish tank. There are lots of other games too, like reading games and coding and even artistic games! I’ve seen one in action and I was really surprised by how well it worked and detected the pieces!
Picked by Ragan, Contributing Writer:
The Gift: KONG Box
The Cost: $39.94 per month. Save with longer subscriptions.
Who It’s For: My Rottweiler puppy, Pumpkin
Why I Chose It: I just found out about this box recently. First of all, I am intrigued because it is a dog subscription box I have not actually received before (I feel like there aren’t too many of those). Pumpkin has never had her own subscription box before and this will be her first Christmas since she was born January 22 of this year. She’s not very destructive when it comes to toys and she doesn’t have any dietary restrictions, plus she’s got a few KONG branded toys already (everything from plushes to the classic rubber KONG) and she loves them.
Picked by Erin, Copywriter
The Gift: American Girl Infinity Scarf Knit Kit
The Cost: $19.99
Who It’s For: My 8-year-old niece
Why You Chose It: When my niece proudly showed off her first knitting project on our last Zoom call, I knew I wanted to get her a gift that would encourage her creativity! Since she’s also a huge American Girl fan, I knew she’d love this kit that she can use to create matching scarves for herself and her favorite doll. By next Christmas, I bet she’ll be making beautiful scarves for our whole family!
Picked by Abby, Contributing Writer:
The Gift: Molly Sanyour Ceramics Butt Planter
The Cost: $85
Who It’s For: A few cheeky family members
Why I Chose It: This planter cracks me up! Ha! I was looking for something unique this year for our minimalist Christmas exchange when I came across Molly Sanyour’s Instagram. This is one of those gifts that you buy someone but have to treat yourself to as well, and I am happy to support small businesses this holiday season. Now I have to decide what to fill these buns with, but I am sure, no matter what, it will be bootyful.
Gifts for him, gifts for her—who’s at the top of your gifting list? Do any of our suggestions seem right for them?
If you enjoyed this round-up, check out our 2020 Holiday Gift Guide for the best subscription box gifts for everyone on your list!