Old fashioned mail, actual letters, and care packages are near and dear to my heart. Assembling a package for someone is something that I just love to do and I know it can often be just the thing to lift someone’s spirits. I know, I treasure those hand written cards and letters that I find in my mailbox. Filling a shipping box with personal and worthwhile items seems to be a lost skill in our modern, electronic society. However, learning how to create meaningful care packages can be easy, frugal, and a deep expression of love and care.
Cookies are a natural care package filler and there aren’t many people who turn their noses up at homemade cookies. Package sturdy cookies, oatmeal and chocolate chip are always good, in plastic or cellophane bags and tuck them between softer items to prevent breakage. Brownies, bars, even muffins are great baked items. Homemade granola, roasted seeds/nuts, even well wrapped homemade jams are all excellent care package food items.
Start with small, easy items. Tuck in books, movies, music and other large items that are meaningful to the recipient. Maybe it’s practical items like socks or gloves or completely fanciful like scented candles. What’s important is not the item but the meaning the item has for the recipient.
Homegrown and Handmade Gifts
Include saved seeds, those handmade dream pillows, knitted hats, and more in those care packages. This is as much about giving something physical that is special as it is giving of yourself. These bits are quite literally sending your heart and home. Sending these things allow us to include folks far away into our home lives and that is always an exercise in love.
Keep It Frugal
Hit the thrift store for used books, include stickers or pencils from the dollar store, etc. Care packages do not need to be filled with expensive items. The aim is to fill the box to the brim with items the recipient will appreciate.
Use those flat rate boxes and fill them up for the most cost effective (usually) shipping method, plus the speed of that means fresh baked goods will arrive.
Packing It Up
Wrap the individual gifts for the recipient. It doesn’t have to be fancy paper, use the comics from the newspaper, small bits of tissue paper, even the black and white pages from the newspaper. This is about allowing the recipient extra joy in opening things individually extending their chances to savor each and every thing.
Plan for Safe Arrival
Make sure to fill the box with newspaper or other bits of stuffing material to keep items stable and prevent breakage. Seal the box with good tape and use a label or print one that is clearly legible. Double check that address so that there are no delays.
As you miss those students away at college, think of that favored aunt, remember that concert with a best friend now living on the other side of the country let them know by putting together a care package from them. You’ll both feel better for it.
Need more ideas or recipes for care packages and gift baskets of all kinds? Check out my cookbook, Gift It From Scratch.