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.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Buy a Small Business
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 PM Inking the Deal Why tattoo parlors are a great small-business bet.
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?