The Art of the Care Package
In college, I was the Mistress Of The Excellent Care Package. I spent hours putting together perfect collections of goods, and then more hours writing letters and decorating boxes collage style, covered with a shell of clear packing tape. Sometimes, my girlfriends and I re-used theses art-covered boxes, adding on to the collage and then sending it back and forth, or onto another friend, always filled with treasures.
Though I am no longer in college, and I don’t devote myself quite as much to the art of the care pacakge, I nonetheless keep the tradition alive and send small care packages to my girlfriends whenever I can. I like to do them for birthdays, but I also do them whenever the inspiration strikes.
I keep a pile of tresures in my closet for this very reason—gifts I want to regift, small things that I almost want but I think someone else will like better, extra boxes of tea, beautiful, random things that can fill a box.
When I’m preparing to sending a package, I always go through my thrift store pile and select some clothes that I think the recipient will like, and I fill in the edges with other things: jewelry I don’t want anymore, body care products that bring joy, chocolate, tea, a cool piece of art from a magazine, and so on.
Here are some of my favorite things/ideas for crafting a perfect care package:
Home-baked goods - cookies are my favorite. One time I baked chocolate chip cookies, wrapped them in plastic and put the bundle in one of those bright green Patron boxes. Packages are all about cool packaging! One time when I was in boarding school, my mom managed to send me a homemade fudge pie, which was a total feat and a big hit with the dorm girls.
Small clothing items/accessories— these act as good packing material and are always sure to please: Scarves, socks, sparkly tights, leg warmers, etc. What don’t you want anymore? Pass it along!
Random things— These are also a crucial part of my packages. Pass on those bangles that you never wear, or that weird figurine from your aunt, the vintage opera gloves that are cute but impractical, etc. Odd treasures make the box infinitely cooler.
Grocery goods— If I buy stuff for care packages, I like to send practical things that people can always use (but are small enough to be easy on the wallet and on space). These include toothbrushes, chapstick, floss, tea-tree toothpicks, chocolate bars, gum, tea.... you get the idea.
Books— pass on your favorite book
Art— anything you make yourself is always the gem of the package. Are you a crafter? Include a handmade treasure. Even if you don’t consider yourself a crafter by trade, you can make a collage, write a poem, paint a tiny picture.
Don't forget, the package doesn't end there.
Put all the stuff snug in a box, and tape it up. I say it's always fun to add a tiny bit of somethin' to the box—cool tape, stickers, a drawing, whatever. It's just nice to mark the box with a little bit of love, distinguishing it from the endless piles of daily mundane mail.
Oh! And add a little note. Especially now that smartphones rule the world, a handwritten note is always a treasure.