I remember how exciting it was to receive mail at college. Let’s face it, I still get really excited when I find mail that isn’t a bill. There’s just something about knowing someone took the time to send something personal. So, we’re already planning out the care packages we are shipping to school all year — it’s been an important part of keeping the younger kids connected.
There are 4 different sizes of flat-rate shipping boxes for priority mail — a flat envelope, a small, DVD-shaped box (isn’t that convenient), medium boxes, and large boxes. They range in price from $5.60 to $17.65.
My plan is to fit as much as possible into the small box, though I’m actually finding out I can fit more into a flat-rate envelope, as long as it still seals properly. Our first college care package went out last month, but it was mostly the little things she forgot.
After that, we hope to come up with items that fit the season or whatever is going on in her life at the time. I’m also hoping to include a cheap DVD each month as a fun way to build her new collection. Here are 9 seasonal care packages you should put together for the college kids in your life:
September (Football Kickoff): Support your college kid’s new love of team sports with school spirit items like face paint, NCAA snuggies or team blankets, and a school t-shirt (check the UniversiTees near you for tons of options featuring nearby colleges). Be sure to include plenty of chips and snacks for tailgating.
DVD ideas: Any Given Sunday, The Replacements
October (Halloween/Mid-Terms): Plenty of fun Halloween items like plastic spider rings, webs, and spooky CDs fit into a small shipping box and would be a lot of fun for dorm atmosphere. Don’t forget about the treats — Reese’s pumpkins, peanut butter kisses, candy corn, popcorn balls. Give them plenty of snack options for their late night midterm studies.
DVD ideas: Halloween, Hocus Pocus
November (Thanksgiving/Basketball): Once NCAA basketball season starts, the fan gear comes out again, but it’s also getting cold so a scarf in school colors would be a lot of fun. And don’t forget the lip balm to combat the cooler air. You can also update their school supplies with Sharpies or dry erase markers in fall colors. This is also the time when all the supplies they packed at the beginning of the year start to run out, so consider including a new toothbrush and a few basic toiletries.
DVD ideas: Love and Basketball, Baseketball
December (Holidays/Finals): This one should be filled with a little pre-holiday cheer. I’m thinking a stocking filled with Christmas candy, snacks, and hot cocoa. Be sure to include plenty of candy canes — research shows peppermint is good for memory, and they’ll need the boost for finals week!
DVD ideas: Elf, A Christmas Story
January (Cold/Flu Season): Keep your young adult healthy with a loving get-well-soon package from home. You could include OTC medications, just-add-water chicken soup cups, tissues, hand sanitizer, and DVDs for couch-ridden entertainment.
DVD ideas: Good Will Hunting, Pitch Perfect
February (Valentine’s Day): This one skates a fine line between celebrating Valentine’s Day and respecting Singles’ Awareness Day. Still, I don’t think holiday treats would go unappreciated. It’s also a great time to replenish winter supplies — new gloves, Chapstick, and hand warmers for cold mornings waiting for the shuttle before class.
DVD ideas: Crazy Stupid Love, Valentine’s Day
March (spring break/midterms): Help your college kid welcome the warmer months with sunglasses, sandals, or flip flops. Consider an iTunes gift card for spring break road trips or study times. A pizza gift card for late nights during midterm week would be a nice addition.
DVD ideas: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Accepted
April (Easter): Don’t underestimate a college kid’s love of the same things that filled out toddler’s Easter baskets. Kites, frisbees, hair ties/hats, and even sidewalk chalk are still popular with teens and young adults. And, of course, plenty of your teen’s favorite Easter candies.
DVD ideas: Princess Bride, The Breakfast Club
May (finals): They’re nearing the finish line and headed home soon, but a final celebration package would be welcome. Consider having balloons delivered or mailing a party-in-a-box for their last week. Streamers, snacks, balloons, cupcake supplies (don’t forget the sprinkles!), and a iTunes gift card for party music.
DVD ideas: High School Musical, Easy A
Small Items for Any Time: If you’re looking for fillers, here are a few more ideas you can add to any package — sharpies, post-it notes, hair ties, lanyards, gift cards, quarters, nail polish, lip gloss, band-aids, wall stickers, books, comic books