The best subscription gifts for new grads
Now that the student in your life has moved on to “new grad,” you might feel compelled to shower them with gifts. But just throwing piles of future clutter at them in one shot can be overwhelming and not always appreciated. A better tactic might be to sign them up for some subscription services to make sure their needs are met throughout the year while also giving them that endorphin rush from getting new stuff long after they’re over the thrill of being a graduate.
Birchbox beauty box
Beauty boxes are a dime a dozen these days, but there’s a reason Birchbox is still the best. Each one is curated to your grad’s preferences, with each successive assortment fine-tuned as the service finds out more about what they like. And when they do love something, Birchbox makes it super easy to get more. Plus each $10 spent earns $1 in points, which can be spent on the site for full-size versions of products.
With college behind them, your new grads can finally put down those textbooks and do a lot more reading for fun. But they might not be ready to tackle the latest 800-page The New York Times bestseller, so why not let them pace themselves with a few comic books? ComiXology has a large selection of comics from various companies around the world, so they can catch up on the major superhero titles they might have missed or indulge in some manga favorites straight from Japan.
Look, your kids are probably going to mooch your Netflix account as long as you let them, so why not sign them up for a service that you can mooch off them instead? Disney+ has all of their favorite childhood movies as well as new popular shows like The Mandalorian, and you can all make separate profiles so your Herbie or Disney Afternoon binge doesn’t mess up their recommendations.
VRV is a number of weird and wonderful things a young adult might like combined into a single streaming service: It includes Crunchyroll and HIDIVE for anime, Rooster Teeth’s video game and tech culture shows, and even some cool, retro-throwback programming courtesy of the cartoon streaming service Boomerang. VRV puts all these (and more) into one package, making it easier for your new grad to watch — and making it much easier for you to gift. You may not understand the appeal, but your young adult will appreciate having the ability to watch content tailored to their interests.
GQ Best Stuff box
GQ isn’t necessarily the cutting edge of cool, but its Best Stuff box is filled with plenty of normally pricey goodies that alternate among useful, interesting and fun for your new grad to try out. Every item may not be a slam dunk, but each shipment has a number of solid picks that ensure you’ll get your money’s worth — and possibly inspire the giftee to up their style game.
Your new grad probably watches most of their TV on their laptop, and a cable subscription is probably not in the cards. But they’re still going to want their Succession and Westworld fixes (as well as old faves like Friends), so consider an HBO Max subscription instead. That way they can keep up with all the big shows that their friends won’t shut up about on social media, and maybe you’ll have something to talk about with them when they remember to call home.
Even if your grad is lucky enough to have their own place after college, you can’t help but worry about them. Are they eating regularly? And are they eating healthily? It can take awhile to develop good food-shopping habits. You can make it a little easier by getting them set up with a HelloFresh meal plan, which delivers the ingredients and instructions for assembling the week’s eats. Each dish makes two portions — great for lunch the next day or for impressing a date with a home-cooked feast. We like HelloFresh for its options: Depending on the gift card amount, you can cover multiple meals per week for your grad, and they get to choose the recipes. HelloFresh has vegetarian- and low-calorie-recipe options too.
Microsoft Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
Microsoft’s Game Pass Ultimate for Xbox and PC is the Swiss Army knife of game subscriptions: Players get discounts, online multiplayer games, free games and other downloadable content, plus access to even more titles online. That includes new games directly from Xbox Game Studio on the day of release. It’s more expensive than other game services at $15 per month, but it’s a small price to pay to ensure your grad is always up to speed on the newest big titles.
Nintendo Switch Online
It’s pretty much mandatory to have a subscription for your games console nowadays, but Nintendo’s is the one that feels worth it even for those who hardly touch their systems. Switch Online not only grants online access for games like Splatoon 2 and Animal Crossing: New Horizons but also includes a library of dozens of NES and SNES titles that your new grad can try out, all for only $20 per year.
Vinyl Me, Please
Spotify is all well and good, but now that your grad is out and about in the world, they may want to start putting together a real, tangible music collection. These days that means vinyl, which has made a huge comeback over the past decade. Vinyl Me, Please makes it easy to build a solid list in a few months courtesy of one of its three curated records of the month: You can choose from the classics, the essentials or rap and hip-hop — all starting at $25 per month (when you choose the annual billing plan).
Sony PlayStation Plus
Online multiplayer is the norm for a lot of gaming these days, whether it’s Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto Online or Fortnite. But at $60 per year, PlayStation Plus also sweetens the pot by offering two free games per month. And we’re not talking bottom of the bin selections here; recent PS+ offerings have included high-end, popular titles like Uncharted 4, BioShock and Cities: Skylines.
Universal Yums — Yum Box
Fresh out of college and burdened with student debt, your grad probably isn’t going to be taking a lot of trips around the world soon. So why not give them a little of the travel experience with Yum Box, which serves up a selection of snacks every month from various countries and regions like Brazil, France and Scandinavia. It’s like going to a foreign supermarket and stocking up on treats you’ve never heard of, without the awkward currency exchange.
Viz Shonen Jump
Your grad might be more into My Hero Academia than Superman or Spider-Man, which makes them better suited for something more on the Japanese side of the comics medium. Enter Viz’s Shonen Jump app, which offers up hundreds of different titles like Bleach, Death Note and DragonBall for only $2 per month. We’ve recommended this one before, for good reason: It’s the best deal in all of comics. Rival services like Marvel Unlimited and DC Universe will run between $8 and $10 per month.
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