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The First, Best Care Package for Your College Student


Maybe it’s not technically the first. (That was the one you shipped 24 hours after move-in when your student texted a list of things they left at home.)

This is the box they aren’t expecting, although they’re hoping for it every time they check their still-new campus mailbox. It’s the one they’ll rush back to the residence hall to open so they can be alone with the contents (which they will then want to share immediately with their room/hallmates).

This is the box that holds so much more than stuff. Because it’s also the box that, more than any other you’ll mail during the college years (and trust us, your student will never outgrow their love of care packages), overflows with feelings — how much you love and miss them and want them to know you’ll always be there.

Contents of a fabulous fall care package

  • Cute fall tights or fuzzy socks
  • Scarf or knit cap in school colors
  • Favorite coffee or tea from home, and to go with it…
  • Cool travel mug or cup (did you know there are French press travel mugs, and shaker bottles if your student likes to mix protein powder into their beverages?)
  • Healthy snacks (energy bars, dried fruit, nuts and seeds, etc. — Trader Joe’s sells bags of trail mix in single-serving packs)
  • Not so healthy snacks (i.e., chocolate)
  • Homemade sweets (mini quick bread loaves travel well — pumpkin would be perfect)
  • Gift cards (the campus bookstore or a local coffee shop would be a good choice)

Throw in a few practical items:

And how about a gift for YOU?

It's a safe bet some of your friends are missing their college kids, too. Why not invite them over and make care packages together?

It’s easy. Stock up on boxes (medium flat-rate USPS Priority Mail boxes work well) and ask everyone to bring multiples of a single small item. Double check student allergies. Everyone can sign the note that gets popped into each box. Your students will love the surprise!

Needless to say, this activity pairs well with a potluck supper or brunch, wine and cheese, afternoon tea, etc. Don’t hurry. Friendship is important.

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