My College:
Family Life

Sealed with a Kiss: Valentine's Care Packages

Diane Schwemm

I hadn’t seen my old friend Eileen in ages. Our sons grew up together and after they left for college, our paths never seemed to cross. One February, something nudged her, though, and she picked up the phone and called.

I remember being so glad she did. Friendship is the not-so-secret ingredient of a happy life, but it requires attention and effort.

On the phone that day, among other things Eileen and I talked about how much we found ourselves missing Dylan and Evan even though, by the second year of college, their away-ness wasn’t new. Maybe it was because they'd just been home for winter break. She and Dylan did a bunch of skiing, and then she got to coddle him after he had his wisdom teeth removed. Now he was back in Wisconsin with ambitious plans for summer that mean he probably wouldn’t come home to Colorado.

We made a plan to get together to catch up with each other’s news and put together Valentine’s care packages for the college boys. It was the perfect cozy thing to do on a wintry February weekend!

Recipe for a Delicious February Care Package

  • Fuzzy socks, hat or scarf
  • Tea, coffee, hot cocoa
  • A cute mug or insulated travel cup
  • Homemade treats (mini quick bread loaves travel well, as do bars — my family loves butterscotch brownies)
  • Chocolate (you know their favorite!)
  • Healthy snacks (dried fruit, nuts and seeds, etc.)
  • Gift card — find local shops and eateries by searching for your student’s school on
  • Laundry detergent pods and quarters
  • Lip gloss or balm
  • Picture frame with family photo, new or old
  • A fun magazine or little stuffed animal
  • Vitamin C lozenges and tissue packs
  • A Valentine card or handwritten note

Make it a party!

If hosting a get-together will help you shake the winter blues, you and your friends who are also college parents can make care packages together.

Hosting a care package party is easy! Stock up on boxes (medium sized, flat-rate Priority Mail boxes from the U.S.P.S. work well) and ask everyone to bring multiples of a single small item from the above list (or something of their own creation). Double check student allergies.

Everyone can sign the Valentine that gets popped inside each box. Your students will love the surprise!

Diane Schwemm is a writer and Managing Editor at CollegiateParent. She and her husband are parents of a college student and two recent graduates. In her off hours, she likes to read, hike and garden and, thanks to the influence of her family, appreciates ballet and basketball equally.
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