In the early days of our marriage, my husband and I gifted his mother a subscription to Netflix. Now, this may sound like the kind of gift you’d forever be made fun of for giving, but keep in mind, this was when Netflix was something only tech savvy urbanites knew about and video stores were still on every suburban corner. My MIL didn’t really know what to make of the gesture (it’s not in a box? It’s not wrapped?), but she soon took to it like white on rice. Fast forward a decade, and not only is that gift literally the gift that keeps on giving (we still pay the monthly fees), but my MIL gets almost all her screen time streaming online or watching DVDs delivered to her in those happy-making red envelopes.
In fact, with every birthday increasingly more difficult to buy for, I long for something as innovative and useful as Netflix was back then to gift to my husband’s myriad relatives — and with studies showing that millions of dollars in gift cards simply go to waste every year, I simply refuse to go that route. Thankfully, retailers and startups are getting savvy to this need and offering great services and product that not only will make you look like the cooler-than-Netflix-circa-2005 gifter, you just may want in on yourself.
Think of this why-didn’t-I-think-of-that idea as the Netflix of jewelry. Rocksbox works a lot like Netflix in that you pay a low flat fee every month ($19), pick out your favorite pieces of jewelry, and a stylist works with you to deliver three pieces to your home. Wear the jewelry around town, IG the heck out of it, and when you’re ready to move on, send them back with the prepaid envelope. As soon as Rocksbox gets the package back, they send out a new set of three pieces for you to play with.
It’s genius because frankly, my style is constantly evolving, and I just can’t commit to buying that much jewelry. But Rocksbox gives me a chance to road test jewelry from contemporary designers like CC Skye, Nicole Richie’s House of Harlow 1960 and Gorjana. It’s fun trying on a new style that I didn’t think I’d like, only to discover that it’s the missing piece in my latest incarnation of style (like the Sophie Harper layer necklace and Gorjana v-neck necklaces I’m wearing above).
Gift packages come in one- ($29), three- ($79) and six-month ($149) memberships, which include gift cards to spend on jewelry you decide to keep. (And while you’re at it, be nice to yourself and give yourself a free month of Rocksbox — just click here and use the code annanymityxoxo to get your first month free.)
Frankly, Sephora is one of my favorite places to shop, and not just for gifts. Free samples, a generous return policy, an easy-to-navigate website with ingredient lists and an ever-expanding lineup of the hottest beauty products. But when I saw this holiday offering from Sephora, I was floored. Because this is genius! Ok, so here’s how it works. You buy this sampler, which comes with 15 samples of the best colognes in a handy dopp travel bag. Your giftee spends a couple weeks or so trying the different colognes, seeing how he likes the scent throughout the day. And then after he’s tried them all, he can redeem the gift certificate at Sephora for a full-size cologne of his choice. What a concept! You give the gift of choice, and he gets a year’s worth of his favorite scent, courtesy of you. (There’s a perfume version as well.)
Soothe massage, $99 and up
One thing we can all use is a little less stress. Sure, you can give someone a gift certificate to a spa, but if she’s that stressed, she probably doesn’t have time to take hours out of her day to make it all the way over to a spa, either. (Finding that time — getting a sitter, rearranging her schedule — is another stressful thing to add to her list.) I like the idea of someone coming to you, Netflix-style, but instead of hours on the couch, you spend an hour or two horizontal — getting the kinks and knots kneaded out of your lower back.
Soothe does just that. Five-star, licensed massage therapists at the click of a button. Within the hour, if you like. All in the comfort of your own home, so you don’t have to worry about a sitter or making dinner or fighting traffic. Because what’s the use of getting a massage if all that work will only be undone on your commute home?
Oh, and btw, if you use promo code PYJU now, you get a $30 account credit — how’s that for stressing less?
Ok, this is the gift I need. It’s been five years since we moved into our no-longer-so-new house, and we still don’t have any art on the walls. Call me a commitment-phobe — unless it’s the perrrrrrfect work of art, I just can’t get myself to drive a nail into that pristine white wall.
So I’m gifting myself a project. Whitewall is a unique online lab that offers all sorts of creative ways to turn a favorite photograph into a work of art, ready to hang. Just select from their various framing options, from artist canvas to brushed aluminum, upload your photo and order. It’s perfect timing because I just came back from an amazing trip to Turkey, and I have yet to come down from that post-vacation high. I think a blown-up, framed photo of our time exploring the Turkish coast will help extend that high through the holidays, right?
The gift of beauty (lessons)
Maybe the best gift of all is the beauty of confidence, and while, yes, confidence comes from within, looking good sure does help, doesn’t it? There are all sorts of companies cropping up these days that can help give your loved one that little boost they need. Drybar, the company that started it all, offers gift-able services starting at just $10. BeGlammed sends a hair and makeup team to you, for a special day or just because, starting at just $40. (To gift, just email firstname.lastname@example.org.) And Blushington, the Drybar of makeup, offers one-on-one makeup tutorials that will get you looking your best.
Because learning how to properly strobe your face is — like Netflix — a gift that keeps on giving.