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College Care Package for a New Freshman

College Care Package for a New Freshman
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My son made it very clear that he expected care packages from home when he went out to the East Coast to go to college.  And…they had to be surprises.  That is, it had to be surprise timing when I sent them and surprise items inside.  Whew, tall order from a boy that is not easy to figure out in the gifting department, let alone surprise gifts!

Easter Care Package for my College Freshman Son
Easter Care Package for my College Freshman Son

Well, I’m on my fourth surprise care package now, and there have certainly been hits and misses, but all-in-all it has been fun for both of us.  Here’s a few things I have learned about college care packages:

Ideas & Categories for a College Care Package:

  • Home no matter how cool they appear to be, the college kid really does miss home and family (I was most surprised by the amount of phone calls I got in the middle of the day from a kid who hates to talk on the phone.  So, always include something personal that makes them feel they are still very much a part of  “back home”.  Pictures, recordings, something about the neighbors or the dogs;
  • Humor:  It’s OK to be corny; anything to make them smile.  In one package I put a little flip book of me pretending to be a mixologist and it was the thing he mentioned the most.  In the Halloween package I put a toy monster that made haunted noises every time it moved so when he walked back to the dorm with it in his backpack it was screaming the whole time 🙂  This Easter of course, he gets a toy chicken that lays bubble gum eggs (see photo)
  • Food:  It’s nice to send homemade food if your kid actually likes it.  I started off making bars and cupcakes, etc., but what he really liked better were protein bars , packages of granola, and K-cups of tea.  He’s an athlete and needs healthy things he can grab and go in the early morning before breakfast. 
  • Money:  College kids hate paying for laundry and things that are mundane that they never dreamed they’d have to pay for.  Always change it up though, so you don’t set up expectations for a certain amount each time (surprise, remember).  Once I sent no money, but a gift certificate for a favorite restaurant.  The Easter basket includes 3 eggs with varying amounts of money in each;
  • A hug of some sort.  I try to include a card with some thoughts about what I miss about him or what makes me proud about him.  He seems to appreciate it.
  • Room accessories:  With my daughter it was posters, decor, and organizers.  My son shares a suite with 5 boys and apparently they don’t like to clean.  I send him things like scented candles, odor neutralizing gel beads and small fans.
  • Seasonal items:  The Easter package includes a swim suit, the Valentines package had a long-sleeved body armor T-shirt, etc.
  • Light reading material:  They have plenty to read at school, but most kids like magazines about their hobbies or outside interests.  My son is a golfer who already had all the golf magazines, but really enjoyed the Men’s Health and Men’s Journal type of magazines.  I don’t think he would have thought of picking up one of those for himself, but is really enjoying them now.  My daughter was a glutton for the pop culture magazines.
  • The “Surprises”:  I’ve probably had more failures here than successes, but I keep trying.  The Frisbee was a miss, as was the magnetic wall board organizer and a pair of  “old man” tennis shoes.  Oh well, when you ask for surprises you’re putting your trust in a parent and they don’t always “get it”.

Packaging the College Care Package:

The Postal Service’s Flat Rate boxes are the best for this, especially if they are going to school far away.  It’s a standard price to ship a large box (they provide the box), no matter how much weight you put in it.  It’s fun to wrap each item in some tissue paper also so they have to unwrap a bit before they see each item.

Flat Rate Shipping Box
Flat Rate Large Shipping Box

Whatever you do, have fun with your care packages.  The kids love them.  Who doesn’t like getting a surprise in the mail where you get to open things?  It also makes you keep on top of what your kids’ interests are at this time in their life.

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Sue Sherman

Saturday 16th of February 2013

Check out GoodiePackagesFromHome.Com. Great care packages! Come in 12x12x15 size boxes and are sent by UPS. Much more reliable then United states Postal service. Home made treats and lots of add on even a huge variety of gift cards. I've sent several out to my kids and the packages are great!

dorothy stainbrook

Sunday 17th of February 2013

I will do that Sue. I'm pretty partial to personalizing them myself however, and the kids seem to appreciate that. So far, USPS has been great for us and less expensive. It also helps now that they have instigated tracking for safety. After August however, they won't be delivering on Saturday any longer.

College Care Packages: Ideas for Fall Packages | Farm to Jar Food

Friday 7th of September 2012

[...] kids (and most people in general actually).  Other care package ideas from last year can be found here. /* Connect & Share care packages, college care packages, creative ideas for care [...]

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