When I was in college, checking my post office box was the highlight of my day. Back before the internet, snail mail was a real source of joy and delivered big doses of delight. Letters and cards were always fun, but a care package was everything.
Now that two of my children are in college, I try to send care packages their way at least once a semester. In my opinion, even though we live in the digital age and rarely communicate in tangible ways, care packages still deliver big doses of love.
The thing about great ideas (like sending care packages) is that the best intentions can get bogged down in the mire of executing the idea, and today I want to share some resources to make sending care packages easy to execute.
KEEP IT SIMPLE.
You can go all out, but you can also keep it very simple and still create a meaningful care package. If you want to make your care packages themed or colorful, go for it! But never feel like you have to make a care package a work of art in order for it to be effective. Choose a few fun items, pop them in the mail, and move along.
Find your favorite supplies, and keep them on hand. The perfect box (I really like these), a bit of shredded filler, packing tape, and a sharpie are really all you need. If you keep these on hand, half the work is done. When you feel the spark to send a package, grab your supplies, hit your favorite store, and the care package is ready in a flash.
MAKE SHIPPING EASY.
Sometimes the shipping step really trips me up. Instead of wondering if I should go to the post office, or find a UPS store or FedEx location, I have decided to always ship from the same neighborhood pack-and-mail shop. I love this option, and because it is close to me and involves the same process each time, it takes any of the decision fatigue out of the equation. Sometimes I have it all together and walk in with a fully finished care package ready for them to ship. Other times I walk in with a handful of items, and I let them do the rest. The best part about using my local pack-and-mail is that they automatically keep up with all of my addresses and track everything I ship. I give them my kids’ addresses at the beginning of the school year, they store it in their system, and then moving forward, I never have to worry about the address again. “Please ship this to Annie Sasser!” Done.
GIVE THEM WHAT THEY NEED
College kids need three things. Food, money, and more sleep. You can’t ship sleep, but you can deliver some snacks, gift cards for local restaurants or fast food, and cash for gas or other necessities. Make the experience of opening the package fun by including candy and gum, maybe a pack of colorful pens or a warm pair of wool socks, but focus on including things they will actually use and need. A handwritten card cheering them on, whether they realize it or not at the time, is a powerful tool for communicating love and support from afar.