Are wine clubs, cheese clubs, and other recurring gifts a smart bet for the holidays?

What to eat, drink, buy, and think during that special time of year
Dec. 15 2010 6:30 PM

If Christmas Came Every Month

Are wine clubs, cheese clubs, and other recurring gifts a smart bet for the holidays?

(Continued from Page 1)

C& H's Beer-of-the-Month and Wine-of-the-Month (Beer starts at $22.95 per month, Wine at $29.95 per month)
These packages were the most fun to see waiting outside my apartment—fat boxes labeled "alcohol." Good things might come in small sizes—if my mother or Muggsy Bogues is telling the story—but never underestimate the importance of going big. And really, who doesn't like lots and lots of free drinks, especially when they don't come with strings attached, as they so often do? (Sitting through a bad date, a work party, writing an article about holiday gifts.)

The wines came in monthly pairs, a red and a white.  The beers came by the dozen, with bottles from four different microbreweries each month, getting more wintery as the months went on, culminating in oatmeal stouts and strong lagers. Both were accompanied by newsletters (Cellar Notes and Malt of the Earth) with descriptions of the vintage/brew and folksy declarations like "Merlot: Always a bridesmaid, never a bride, no more" as well as pairing suggestions, recipes, and a "member of the month" contest—it made the whole thing feel sort of like an actual small-town club.

I wouldn't sign someone up for a wine or beer club who is a true wine or beer aficionado—I assume that a more finicky drinker might quibble with the choices. But for the middlebrow, muddling casual drinker, they're just fine. These clubs also encouraged me to entertain more; with so much beer crowding my fridge, I asked people over each month to help me get rid of it. So this manages to suit both the idealistic gift givers, who think companionship is the best present of them all, and the cynics who think the answer to the question of the holidays is, always, booze.

Advertisement

C&H's Flowers-of-the-Month ($28.95 per month)
For reasons that remain unclear, I received only one shipment of flowers. The arrangement, October's selection, wasn't particularly to my taste—very tall, unusual Hawaiian proteas in vibrant shades of  "pink ice latifolia" and "safari sunset" (taken together, the names conjure a rather confusing clime). Even so, I loved having fresh flowers around, and this varietal was particularly long-lasting.  Flowers also have what I've come to believe are the key of-the-month attributes; they are indulgent but not expensive, people rarely buy flowers for themselves, and they have a use-by date, so they're nice to receive in batches instead of all at once.

Or perhaps flowers-of-the-month struck me as such a perfect idea because I only got one set, and you always want what you don't have. I suppose that even if I'd gotten 12 months of flowers I'd have pined for 24. After all, nothing says Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year like the lingering feeling of not having gotten enough.

Noreen Malone is a senior editor at New York magazine.

TODAY IN SLATE

Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Oct. 19 2014 1:05 PM Dawn Patrol Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s critically important 5 a.m. wake-up call on voting rights.
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
  Life
Outward
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 4:23 PM A Former FBI Agent On Why It’s So Hard to Prosecute Gamergate Trolls
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 8:32 AM Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy—and a Mess. Can the Movies Fix It?
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 20 2014 7:00 AM Gallery: The Red Planet and the Comet
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.