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__________-of-the-Month Clubs: 16 Offbeat Subscription Services

If you forgot about someone this holiday season and you're scrambling for a belated present, there are always gift-of-the-month clubs. While wine and cheese clubs tend to be the norm, there's guaranteed to be a subscription service out there for anyone on your holiday list.

Homemade Goodies

From eye shadow to jams to earrings, Etsy is a great place to get one-of-a-kind subscription services for those you love. Of course, since anyone can list any thing they want on the site, that also means there are a lot of bizarre gift clubs as well.


Does someone you know have a hard time finding enough vintage button rings to suit her interest? Then perhaps she needs a subscription to the Vintage Button Ring of the Month Club.



Or maybe you know someone who is strangely obsessed with jewelry featuring pendants in the shape of mustaches. If so, the Mustache of the Month Club is just what the mustachioed doctor ordered.



Sometimes it’s hard to find enough plush squids, which is why the Squid a Month Club is simply a must-have for anyone lacking enough stuffed cephalopods in their lives.



Know someone who needs a little help spicing up their life in the bedroom? Look no further than a 12 Months Subscription to Dirty Finger Puppets.



Perhaps the most unique subscription service on Etsy, though, is the Moss of the Month Club, which provides subscribers with a monthly delivery of “a new sandwich bag full of assorted moss and lichens.” Occasionally the delivery will include a terrarium or rock to decorate with the moss, but most often, the delivery is simply a bag of moss.

Food & Drink

There are so many gift clubs based around foods that it would be preposterous to list all of the slightly offbeat ones. That being said, here are a few truly notable subscription services offering edible treats.



Image courtesy of Flickr user kveton.

Sure it might not be a great help to those with high cholesterol levels, but if you know someone obsessed with America’s favorite pork product, then The Bacon of the Month Club could be the perfect gift choice.



Most people may believe a lobster is just a lobster, but that’s just because they don’t have the money to enjoy the treat on a regular basis. For those that appreciate the subtle variety of lobster tails, for only $1115 you can ensure someone receives four fresh lobster tails at their doorstep every month. Hopefully they aren’t the jet setting type or else they might return from their vacation to find four very stinky rotten carcasses on their doorstep.



For those that prefer cowboy snacks, the Jerky of the Month Club offers two flavors of jerky every month that total at least a half a pound of dried meat goodness.



Know someone who can’t decide between chunky or smooth? The Peanut Butter of the Month Club is a great way to let them make up their own mind on their own time. Of course, this would also be a good way to passive-aggressively threaten someone who happens to have a severe peanut allergy.



Pickles may be delicious, but it takes some real dedication to enjoy a whole jar of pickles every month. For those pickle fanatics though, there’s always the Pickle of the Month Club, which includes a variety of dill, sweet, bread and butter, spicy, and more.



Of course, sometimes the best gifts are those that accompany gifts from someone else. After all, what’s a cheese of the month subscription without a Cracker of the Month Club membership to go along with it? You can’t just eat cheese without crackers can you?

Fashion

We all know someone who could use a little wardrobe enhancement, but usually it’s better to buy a few sweaters yourself or give them a gift card to a clothing store so they can pick out their own ensembles. But if you want to allow a faceless company to select clothing for someone you care about, there’s always fashion subscription services.

Perhaps the strangest fashion subscription service of all is the Black Socks Sockscription. If you couldn’t tell by the name, this subscription service allows the recipient to receive black socks on a regular basis because apparently going to the store and buying black socks is far too stressful for some people.



If you know someone simply obsessed with T-shirts, two of the internet’s biggest shirt stores offer T-shirt subscription services. The Threadless 12 Club offers special limited edition tees designed exclusively for club members. The Busted Tees Shirt of the Month Club allows the recipient to select one shirt from the company catalog each month, which makes them one of the most flexible subscription services around.

Etc.

There are also those other gift clubs that don’t quite belong to any other category. While some, like the golf ball or candle are at least practical, others are a little stranger.



You know those people who would prefer receiving a treat for their dog than something for themselves? Well, The Dog Treat of the Month Club is a perfect gift for those who only care about Fido; it includes a pound worth of treats with every delivery.



Depending on your gift recipient’s occupation, the Mineral of the Month Club might actually be quite practical. After all, a gemologist, a holistic practitioner, a jewelry maker, or a geologist might just be thrilled to receive a new mineral every month. For the average public, though, you may as well just send a box of pretty rocks.
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There are plenty more weird subscription services out there (including a few too X-rated to include here), so if you know of any other weird ones, feel free to add them in the comments. That being said, have any of you ever received a gift of the month club subscription? Did you like it or did it end up becoming too much of a good thing?

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Yes, You Can Put Your Christmas Decorations Up Now—and Should, According to Psychologists
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We all know at least one of those people who's already placing an angel on top of his or her Christmas tree while everyone else on the block still has paper ghosts stuck to their windows and a rotting pumpkin on the stoop. Maybe it’s your neighbor; maybe it’s you. Jolliness aside, these early decorators tend to get a bad rap. For some people, the holidays provide more stress than splendor, so the sight of that first plastic reindeer on a neighbor's roof isn't exactly a welcome one.

But according to two psychoanalysts, these eager decorators aren’t eccentric—they’re simply happier. Psychoanalyst Steve McKeown told UNILAD:

“Although there could be a number of symptomatic reasons why someone would want to obsessively put up decorations early, most commonly for nostalgic reasons either to relive the magic or to compensate for past neglect.

In a world full of stress and anxiety people like to associate to things that make them happy and Christmas decorations evoke those strong feelings of the childhood.

Decorations are simply an anchor or pathway to those old childhood magical emotions of excitement. So putting up those Christmas decorations early extend the excitement!”

Amy Morin, another psychoanalyst, linked Christmas decorations with the pleasures of childhood, telling the site: “The holiday season stirs up a sense of nostalgia. Nostalgia helps link people to their personal past and it helps people understand their identity. For many, putting up Christmas decorations early is a way for them to reconnect with their childhoods.”

She also explained that these nostalgic memories can help remind people of spending the holidays with loved ones who have since passed away. As Morin remarked, “Decorating early may help them feel more connected with that individual.”

And that neighbor of yours who has already been decorated since Halloween? Well, according to a study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, homes that have been warmly decorated for the holidays make the residents appear more “friendly and cohesive” compared to non-decorated homes when observed by strangers. Basically, a little wreath can go a long way.

So if you want to hang those stockings before you’ve digested your Thanksgiving dinner, go ahead. You might just find yourself happier for it.

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11 Posters Worth Gifting This Holiday Season
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A good poster can make all the difference when it comes to decor. Posters are a cost-effective and fun way to add color, tie together a room, and show off the owner’s personality. If you want to help a loved one track down a poster that doesn’t look like it’s straight out of a college dorm room, here are 11 prints we suggest gifting:

1. 100 ESSENTIAL FILMS SCRATCH-OFF CHART; $35


Pop Chart Lab

Pop Chart Lab’s scratch-off prints are a fun way to put a personal touch on a room. The Essential Films edition serves as a ready-made must-watch list, with 100 incredible films—new and old. As your loved one watches, they can scratch off the gray squares of the poster to reveal the illustrations below. Once they're done, they’ve got a checkerboard visualization of great movies from Casablanca to Mad Max: Fury Road.

Find It: Pop Chart Lab

2. RETRO PATENTS; $33 AND UP

A framed patent of the Nintendo Game Boy sits against a wall.
Retro Patents

Gadget-lovers will swoon over these patent illustration posters, which feature the original patent drawings submitted for now-familiar technology like handheld cameras, record players, Tamagotchi, Game Boys, and more. The black-and-white drawings are accompanied by the name of the inventor and the date of the patent. Many of them are limited editions, so make sure to grab ‘em before they’re gone.

Find It: Retro Patents

3. DINOSAURIA; $37


Pop Chart Lab

Your favorite paleontology fan will love diving into this encyclopedic poster of dinosaur types, which catalogs more than 100 types of dinos in hand-drawn illustrations. Painstakingly researched, the work classifies 700 genera of prehistoric creatures into a taxonomy that’s sure to make your beloved science nerd’s heart beat faster.

Find It: Pop Chart Lab

4. REALLY BIG COLORING POSTER; $40

Two children lay on a giant coloring-book-style map of America
Great2bColorful, Amazon

Coloring books make great gifts for all ages, but coloring posters make even better ones. This giant, 5-foot-by-3-foot poster will keep your favorite young artist busy for hours filling in notable icons of all 50 states, from the Hollywood sign to the Statue of Liberty. And once they’re done, they have a colorful mural to put up in their room.

Find It: Amazon

5. SPACE GRAND TOUR; $22

Eight vintage-style travel posters advertising space destinations
JPL/NASA

Get excited for the future. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory designed these out-of-this-world prints, creating futuristic tourism posters for celestial destinations that, for the most part, humans have yet to reach.They’re part science geekery, part vintage travel homage, and the poster versions are the perfect gift for any future astronaut. Of course, they’re so pretty that even the least physics-inclined people on your gift list will still appreciate them.

Find It: Amazon

6. BETWEEN THE WORDS; $63

A spiral of punctuation on a poster that reads ‘Moby Dick; Or, The Whale.’
Nicholas Rougeux

Nicholas Rougeux’s Between the Words posters are minimalist takes on visualizing classic literature. Instead of trying to encapsulate the story, he focuses on what’s between the words: the punctuation. Each poster depicts every punctuation mark—in order—used in well-known books like Moby Dick, Jane Eyre, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Separated only by chapter markers, the punctuation marks spiral around a central illustration. Sticklers for good grammar will love exploring the dense punctuation patterns of books like A Tale of Two Cities and Ulysses, designs that provide a whole new insight into the writing techniques of famous authors.

Find It: Zazzle

7. “I LOVE” CITY MAPS; $21 AND UP


Jordan Sondler

Help your favorite urbanite show their city pride with New York-based illustrator Jordan Sondler’s whimsical maps of places like Boston, Chicago, and Seattle. Available in several different base colors, they divide major American metropolises into neighborhoods dotted with illustrated versions of iconic local architecture.

Find It: Minted

8. SKIES ABOVE CUSTOM STAR CHART; $130

A framed poster that reads 'Natalie and Morgan' with a star chart above in dark blue
Asterism Labs, Etsy

Baltimore-based data designer and former astrophysicist Katie Peek specializes in custom star charts that put a unique spin on a special day. They can highlight what the night sky looked like on the day of a wedding, a birthday, or during the last solar eclipse, customized to where the event took place. You can also ask her to commemorate the celestial view from any other time and place using her custom algorithms.

Find It: Etsy

9. PLEATINGS PRINT; $53

A graphic print shows gray shapes with lines running through them
Dry Studios

These abstract posters from the Stockholm-based Dry Studios are designed to create art using natural light in your house. The folded paper casts shadows when the sunlight hits them, turning the poster into changing graphic scenes throughout the day. They come in two different color schemes, one warm and one cold, to mimic the color change between day and night.

Find It: Dry Studios

10. LAW & MOORE MOVIE POSTERS; $12 AND UP

Three framed posters sitting on a table
Law & Moore, Etsy

The designers at Law & More specialize in pop culture posters that put a unique spin on beloved movies and TV shows from all genres, from Rocky to Stranger Things to Mary Poppins. Designed like vintage book covers, each features a minimalist illustration of the film along with the name of its creators. Whether you’re shopping for a James Bond aficionado or a Game of Thrones fan, you’ll be able to find a classy poster to show off their entertainment tastes.

Find It: Etsy

11. CONSTITUTIONS OF CLASSIC COCKTAILS; $37

A beige poster features a circular visualization of cocktail ingredients
Pop Chart Lab

Perfect for in the kitchen or near the bar cart, this infographic is a cheat sheet for becoming a mixology master. It illustrates how to throw together 60 different classic cocktails, organizing them by the type of liquor used to make them. Your favorite cocktail party host can use it to learn how to make a proper Rob Roy or Old Fashioned, or to help guests decide what they want to drink: just pick a base alcohol and go from there.

Find It: Pop Chart Lab

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