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10 Best Magazine Gift Subscriptions for the Entire Family

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 2

Whether it be for a birthday or Christmas, magazines are the gifts that keep on giving. Every month the recipient of a magazine gift subscription is reminded of the gift they were given. Check out this list to find some great magazines for everyone you know.

Magazines for Dads

Family Handyman

I got this as a gift for my dad last Christmas and he really enjoys it. I also enjoy it since I got one free subscription just by purchasing his. The magazine is exactly what the title implies: a publication for the handyman (or woman) in every family. There are tool reviews, user submitted tips and with every issue, there are featured projects. Most of the projects are quite doable and nothing is too advanced. If your dad has a toolbox, he will probably appreciate this magazine.

Pros: Lots of illustrations, good walkthroughs of big projects.

Cons: Full of ads, only comes six times a year.

ESPN the Magazine

I know it is presumptuous to assume your dad likes sports, but it is a safe bet. ESPN the magazine is an oversized text that comes out 26 times a year, giving dad a healthy stack to keep in the bathroom. This magazine rubs some people the wrong way since it tends to hype whatever happens to be the hot-button issue at the time. Still, the photography is the best in the business and the coverage is ample. The biggest draw for many fans is access to the website. ESPN contracts some of the most authoritative voices for each sport and the only way to access their articles online is by subscribing. If you happen to have a dad who watches Sportcenter 3+ times a week, then you probably need to get him a gift subscription.

Pros: Access to online database and articles, great photos, 26 issues a year.

Cons: Cliche-ridden, above average amount of ads, unhealthy focus on East Coast teams, unnecessary focus on non-sports topics (like, what was Shaq wearing at the golf outing)

Magazines for Mom

Real Simple

My wife has a subscription to Real Simple and I end up reading it more than she does. It is an awesome magazine filled with the most kitschiest, slightly unknown tips and decorations. Real Simple is a mix of how-to, cooking, shopping and lifestyle that anyone (especially moms) would love to have. Be warned though, it has become quite ad-laden in recent years and takes on a kind of domestic Vogue appearance. Still, a solid magazine to give mom as a gift.

Pros: Awesome features, useful articles and topics.

Cons: Lots of perfume samples (good for some, I guess) and other ads.


I find that moms are typically most concerned with preventative medicine and this magazine has it all. There is a slight focus on weight-loss methods but largely this  magazine promotes healthy living by offering its readers information with a medically researched lean. If either of your parents express a concern in improving their quality of life through better living then Prevention is a good choice for a magazine gift.

Pros: Useful information, some info is based on research

Cons: Some focus on diet and 'looking good'

Magazines for Young Boys

Sports Illustrated for Kids

There is no better gift subscription for young sports fans than SI for Kids. Many parents use this to help get younger kids reading who wouldn't normally be prone to picking up a book. The stories are well written for a younger crowd and the photos are great. I am sure that most issues come with small posters and sports cards which is a huge added bonus. Any young sports fan would definitely love to have a magazine subscription to SI for Kids.

Pros: language geared to youth, extra promotional materials

Cons: none really

Games Magazine

This is a lesser-known publication with a growing subscriber base. If you know of a younger person who has a long bus ride or needs an alternative to handheld videogames in the car, Games Magazine is it. The great thing about this magazine is that there are puzzles for parents in each issue as well. This is a fun magazine that nearly every member of the family could pick up for some quick fun. Consider this as a good gift idea for a younger boy.

Pros: wide range of puzzles offered, wide range of topics addressed, interactive fun.

Cons: Only comes 10 times a year.

Magazines for Young Girls

Young Rider

Most young girls are interested in horses and ponies. Parents rate this magazine high because of the basic language it uses and the topics geared toward youth. Parents also report that the photographs are impressive. Two other horse magazines could be given as gifts to young girls: Horse and Rider or Horse Illustrated. Think about a gift subscription for the young horse lover in your family.

Pros: Good pictures, easy to read text.

Cons: Only six issues a year, some of the content is 'fluff'.

American Girl

American Girl is the highest rated magazine for young girls. There are no advertisements and the content does not focus on boys or pop culture. Parents appreciate the interactive nature of the magazine presented through quizzes and contests. There is information about the American Girls line of collectable dolls as well as educational pieces and articles that highlight positive role models for young females. By far, this is the most highly recommended gift subscription idea for young girls.

Pros: Uplifting articles, easy to read text, interactive features, few pop-culture references.

Cons: It only comes six times a year.

Magazine Subscriptions for the Grandparents

Readers Digest: Large Print Edition

I recall so many elderly friends of my parents always had the small Readers Digest issues out on the coffee table. The magazine is still very popular and now comes in an edition that is much easier to read. Readers Digest is a general interest magazine that features stories of success and highlights individuals and organizations that make a positive difference in the world. There is also consistent information related to healthy living and substantial reader write-ins. Check out this literature for a good gift to give grandma and grandpa.

Pros: Larger print is now easier to read, positive stories, helpful health information.

Cons: More expensive than most mags at $30 per year (11 issues).

Looking Back

This magazine is very simply a collection of stories from various perspectives that relate directly to how life was lived in the past. Some recent articles are titled: Getting By on the GI Bill, and It Happened in . . . 1945. The stories are often focused on general living, not necessarily based on news headlines from previous years. There are only six issues a year but this is really a one-of-a-kind magazine for the elderly and others interested in lives of previous years.

Pros: Interesting stories from 'typical' individuals, specific topics from yesteryear.

Cons: Only six issues a year.

Magazine subscriptions are a great gift idea for those who are difficult to buy for. Use this list to help you find the best gift subscription for anyone in your family.

Elderly Reading a Magazine
Credit: Ambro


Jan 1, 2012 1:20pm
Good list of the top 10 magazines for the family.
Jan 20, 2012 7:27am
Great article!
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