how to put together an awesome care package

Here are some tips on curating a fun and thoughtful care package.

First find a sturdy box.

You can pick up free flat-rate shipment boxes at the post office in various sizes. One that has a base width and length of 15 to 18 inches is about right, and you want a depth of around 6 inches. Honestly, I typically re-use a nice Amazon box.

Prepare a homemade treat.

It’s a nice personal touch to include something you’ve made yourself. It can be as involved as cookies or breads, or as simple as a snack mix.

I like to purchase the reusable storage containers that are dishwasher, freezer, and microwave safe and layer cookies in them with wax paper separating the layers. The cookies travel better if they don’t move around too much. I typically include one “large rectangle” container or two “medium rectangle” containers.

If you decide to make a loaf of banana bread, pumpkin bread, blueberry bread, or something similar, just wrap the completely cooled loaf tightly in foil and then place it in a zip-seal bag.

Whatever you decide to make, be sure to consider possible allergies or dietary restrictions. Is the recipient vegetarian? vegan? lactose intolerant? allergic to nuts?

Recipe links:

For other sweet treat ideas, check out my food page (scroll down). Once I have the treats prepared, I freeze them until right before I put the box in the mail. We all know that they won’t be as good after several days in transit, but it’s still a very nice touch.

If you want to make a homemade snack mix instead of (or in addition to) baking, here are some ingredients to consider:

  • Goldfish crackers
  • pretzels
  • nuts
  • raisins or dried berries (perhaps yogurt-covered or chocolate-covered)
  • m&m candies
  • dry cereal such as Life, any of the Chex cereals, Crispix, or Oatmeal Squares
  • chocolate or peanut butter chips

My go-to snack mix includes Goldfish, Life cereal, dried cranberries, cashews, and peanut butter m&m candies.

Include some purchased treats.

A few suggestions:

  • microwave popcorn
  • poptarts
  • granola bars
  • candy
  • cocoa mix
  • instant oatmeal packets
  • jerky

Some healthier options:

  • tea bags or loose-leaf tea
  • Rx bars
  • nuts
  • dried fruit

Non-food gift suggestions:

  • journal and pen
  • highlighters
  • notebook
  • book
  • coloring book and markers
  • post-it notes
  • lotion and body wash
  • bath or shower bombs
  • hydrating facial masks
  • candles (except these typically aren’t allowed in dormitories)
  • insulated thermos
  • T-shirt
  • socks
  • comfy throw blanket

Be sure to include a personal note.

The whole point of the care package is to let them know that you’re thinking of them and wishing them well, so be sure to spend a few minutes composing a note of encouragement and support.

Other things to keep in mind

I recommend mailing the box with the USPS. One time I sent a box with UPS, and it was delivered to a local store for the recipient to pick up. She never saw a note left for her, but we had been following the tracking and let her know what to do to retrieve her gift. The USPS, on the other hand, has been predictably reliable for me.

Be sure to check the calendar. If you’re sending the box to a college student, for instance, you don’t want it to arrive during a school break when the student is unlikely to be there.

Pack the box efficiently, with heavier items at the bottom. Include packing materials such as wadded paper on top so that items don’t move around too much in transit. Then tape the box securely. The care package is sure to make someone’s day!

Now, just think of someone you would like to encourage. Start making a care package today!

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