The Glow Up's Guide to Giving: Thinking Inside the Box

Illustration for article titled The Glow Up's Guide to Giving: Thinking Inside the Box
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By now, we’ve made it through Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and even Giving Tuesday; now, it’s “WTF Are We Gifting This Year Wednesday,” otherwise known as time to get our asses in gear for the next round of holidays, because shipping only gets more expensive the longer you wait.


And as always, The Glow Up is here to help. Last year, we gave you 12 Days of Gifting (which still offer a veritable plethora of black-owned options). This year, we’re taking a different approach, drawing upon the wide range of black brands we’ve personally encountered and coveted this year to give you our recommendations, based on what we loved and hope to receive this season. And since we know some of y’all are waiting until that mid-month paycheck to get started on your shopping (some of us, too), we’re zeroing in on options we know you can score in time for the holidays.

So, as we swiftly approach Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and the new year/decade, we’re encouraging you to think experiential, inspirational, unique, and, in some cases, ongoing—like today’s options, which require us to do a little thinking inside the box this season.

Admittedly, we were a little late to the subscription box game—or maybe we’re just a little commitment-phobic. But as we found ourselves on the receiving end of an ongoing flow of gift boxes this year (thanks, PR Gods!), we couldn’t ignore how exciting it is to open a new assortment of goodies on the regular—as we’ve said before, it’s literally the gift that keeps on giving! (Plus, it makes you look like a big spender, even if that expenditure is less than $20 a month.)

Grind Pretty

One of our favorite boxes this year came from Grind Pretty (frankly, they had us at the name—in fact, we’re eyeing getting it on the t-shirt!), which came filled with a variety of black beauty brands we’re still working our way through, months later. But what we especially love is the ethos: all women-owned brands, with a collective focus on fostering female entrepreneurship. The brand’s latest ambassador? Jill-of-all-trades Yandy Smith, who is bringing her Yelle Skincare to Grind Pretty for a limited edition holiday box.


Curly Queen Kit

Got a new naturalista in your life? Help them find the products perfect for them with a subscription to the Curly Queen Kit, which offers 4-10 full-sized products, samples and accessories (amounts vary with subscriptions) all curated to make a new hair journey (or a well-established one) as healthy as possible—and they’ve got kits for kids, too!


Izzy & Liv

For the person on your list whose vision board stays in view, Izzy & Liv’s Brown Sugar Box will be a monthly inspirational treat (or with whatever regularity you choose). But that’s not all: the site also offers boxes curated by theme, quarterly boxes for kids and tweens, a box made just for “kings,” and a wide assortment of gift-ready, feelgood items (most of which are currently on a holiday discount).


Golden Grooming

But of course, boxes aren’t gender-specific; Golden Grooming offers everything a man of color needs to keep his skin and facial hair groomed and grown man-sexy—and it’s 100 percent natural. Plus, this brand pays it forward, reinvesting 5 percent of all sales to entrepreneurship programs and HBCUs.


Call Number

Have an avid reader in your life? Gift them a subscription to Call Number, the monthly box that helps book lovers build their library of black literature (fiction or non-fiction), with curated accouterments to complement the narratives.


Cloth & Paper

Perhaps there’s a planner in your life—the type who’s always organized (or needs to be more so), never forgets a thank-you note, and loves the smell of fresh paper in the morning. You know, a Virgo. If so, Cloth & Paper will provide the regular fix they need, in handy subscription form.


The Pose Box

No, this isn’t an all-in-one ballroom kit curated by the cast of our favorite FX show (we wish—could someone get on that?), but The Pose Box is equally affirming. This bi-monthly subscription service is the self-care reminder we all need, offering “a fun mix of lingerie, activewear, beauty, and wellness products” for up to 50 percent off retail prices. Most importantly, they’re size-inclusive, which means you’re no resolutions are required to indulge.


Have we got you thinking outside inside the box yet? Good...because like Santa, we’ve got a lot more gifts to drop before the season ends, so stay tuned—and of course, woke.

Maiysha Kai is managing editor of The Glow Up, host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast and Big Beauty Tuesdays, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow some sugar?