My Ideal Subscription Box

Box of StuffI love the idea of subscription boxes. A few years back, I actually did a similar thing–a reading year from Mr. B’s–and really enjoyed it. I don’t remember seeing anything else like it, at the time, but now there are things like OwlCrate and Uppercase and all kinds of ways to get monthly books picked out and delivered to your doorstep.

So I spent last night looking at book subscriptions. And I loved the pictures of all the different boxes. But I also knew, looking at the extra items in each box, that beyond the initial “neat!” factor, I wouldn’t use a lot of it. And then it would sit on my shelf, and collect dust, and I wouldn’t be able to throw it away, because I’m a pack rat.

That’s not a criticism of these boxes; my personal pack-rat tendencies aside, they’re still really tempting, so I may decide to try one of them out in the future. (And by the way, if you’d like to read a review of both Uppercase and OwlCrate, there’s a good one here.) For now, though, I just couldn’t click “subscribe.” So instead, I decided to try designing my own ideal subscription box, with what I consider to be the staples: a book, a bookmark, tea (because always tea), and a snack.

All these things have been road-tested by me, which is how I know I like them. That isn’t to say they’re product recommendations, or anything–they’re more like December MVPs, things that I would put in a book-based survival kit for myself, if I could go back to the beginning of last month and leave a box on the doorstep for Past Me. The contents:

  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer (a reread, but a fun reread). It was that or a Regency novel by Georgette Heyer, but since I own Cinder and am only borrowing the Heyer book, I went with Cinder. If you’re looking to do a themed collection, though (which I’m not), a Regency novel would probably fit better with the remaining choices.
  • The bookmark I made a little while back. It’s working great so far, but because my book-reading ways are whimsical, I’m not using this bookmark for a library book, as I’d originally intended. Instead, it’s keeping me company as I reread Cinder. Another reason to choose Cinder for this box, I guess.
  • Yorkshire Gold tea, from Taylors of Harrogate. I got this during a big tea sale, and it quickly became my go-to morning tea. Only now it’s almost gone, so again: time travel.
  • Nonni’s Cioccolati Biscotti. It’s kind of a throwback to my childhood, but I still really like the balance of the flavors in this biscotti. Added benefit: it’s also great dipped in milk. So great, in fact, that these are actually all gone now–the box in the picture is empty (sigh), so this would be another time-travel staple.

It’s still not the same, of course–for me, one of the biggest draws of a subscription box is the surprise, which you can’t really replicate if you buy these things yourself. (Also, as I understand it, some of these boxes come with exclusives, so if you’re into those, there’s kind of no substitute.) But–I don’t know, I guess this activity is less about getting new things, and more about appreciating what I have, as cliché as that sounds. I already had all these items, so all I had to do was put them in a box and enjoy the fanciness. No extra money needed. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend, that’s definitely appreciated. A great way to remember that while I may not be a millionaire, I have more than I think, and I like a lot of it.

With that, off to the rest of my Monday. Hope yours is going well so far!

ETA: There are apparently a few subscription boxes that do books and tea (links here, here, and here), but I haven’t had a chance to look into any of these in depth, so I can’t make any recommendations. All I have to say is that I think books and tea are a stellar combination, so I already like the idea.