Make Your Care Package More Personal

14 Sep

Let’s be real.

We all have an idea of what goes into a care package.

No matter for what occassion, it’s not hard to think of things to throw together.


Last Friday marked the official day my “baby” sister left for college.

Any change can be a difficult adjustment. And she’s been taking it especially hard.

Because I love her so much, and wanted to help her make an easier transition, I decided to put together a care package.

#1- Who doesn’t love to get fun things in the mail they don’t have to pay for?!(especially college students) and #2- Everyone loves getting mail to a new address, especially when it involves a mysterious box that could contain who knows what!


I had an idea of what I wanted to give her, but like I always do, I searched the internet for new and unique ideas for a college care package.

Come to find out… everyone has the same ideas.

This is no joke folks.

Candy, crackers, energy drinks, gift cards, school supplies, embroidered towels….
Cold, cold, cold, cold, and cold.

Yes, all partly practical, but it wasn’t at all what I was looking for. And she can go to any store and buy those things herself if she wanted.

I wanted to send her special little (practical) gifts that when she opened them would feel like one giant hug. The hug I can’t give her being 1300 miles away in Texas. 😦

Short story time! I promise it will be relevant later. I was having a conversation with my mom earlier this year before my birthday in April and told her I was shaving my legs one day and ran out of shaving cream after doing only one leg. I ended up having to go to the doctor like that. Totally embarassing. I had her dying laughing by the time I was finished, and guess what I got as part of my birthday gift a few weeks later? Yep. Shaving cream. The ‘30% more’ kind no less. Then she had ME laughing. Moral of the story.. think about the little things like that, and you can turn a stupid gift into something hilarious AND practical(as well as meaningful… as meaningful as shaving cream can be).


So I started with a list, like everything else, and brainstormed for a couple hours.

My sister Danae is going to a popular hair academy for cosmetology for 13 months, and is living 2 hours from home. No, that may not sound too far away, but being as close to my mom as she is, it was a little bit the distance and a lot of, “it’s never going to be the same” scary change. Danae and her twin brother Dylan are the last ones to leave our very loving nest. Dylan is going to community college and living at home, while Danae is going a bit further. She is a beautifully independent person. But, some are just a little more hesitant leaving home than others.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Anyways, she left. She bawled. Mom bawled. I consoled (as best as I could). But I wanted to do anything I could to let her know she has my full support and that she’ll be just fine. That’s when I decided to put together the care package.

So back to the list.

Let me sum it up quickly for you, and you can go on to read the details of whichever ones suit your fancy. All can be tweaked for both boys and girls.

1. Emergency Car Kit personalized to the persons needs.

2. 4×6 framed quotes, verses, or something to remind them of home & will use to decorate at college.

3. A plain jane journal, decorated to fit the person.

4. Random small things.. something you remember from a conversation.

And remember, something you might think is so stupid(for lack of a better word) can mean so much & make the gift seem much more special if you take the time to write a cute little note. Examples below in #4.

#1 Emergency Car Kit

Yes, my list did have crackers and such on it, but thinking about Danae, who she is, and who she’s becoming, that helped my list expanded significantly.

I had so many free samples of products from couponing, and after going through them, I decided to make her an emergency kit for her car to go along with the care package. My thought was if for some reason she couldn’t make it back home one night(stuck at a friends, stuck somewhere, at work and needed something and couldn’t get home), she could hopefully find it in this kit. Plus a few things if she were ever stranded in her car.. i.e. Minnesota winters. You do the math.

Here’s what the car kit included:

In a gallon freezer bag I put:

– A makeup bag stuffed with…

  • Band-aids
  • Sample size deodorant
  • Feminine products
  • Sample size shampoo & conditioner
  • Sample size body wash
  • Sample size tooth paste
  • Make up removing wipes
  • $10 (Emergency cash. It can be used anywhere, unlike gift cards. You can put in more, this is just what I had.)

-Tooth brush
-Floss sticks
-Colgate Wisps (you can never have too fresh of breath :] )
-Hair brush
-An extra sample size shampoo
-Lens cleaner wipes
-Pack of tissues
-Tide stick
-Shout wipe
-Anti-bacterial hand lotion
-Body lotion
-Body spray
-Individual pack of cheez-it crackers
-Protein bar
-Pack of gum
-A pen (It’s nice to know you have a back-up after you inevitably lose all 10 pens you keep in the bottom of your purse. Whos with me?)

And that’s it for the emergency car kit. I know it’s not your ordinary car kit, but for a girl it’s nice to know you have some extra things just in case. One could argue, “that’s what a purse is for”, but really… purses get heavy. It’s nice not to have to carry your life in your purse sometimes. My dad already took care of the jumper cables, etc, so this seemed like a good idea.. You could also throw in a lighter and some candles. I left them out for shipping reasons.


Now, for the rest of the care package.

#2 Framed Quotes & Verses

I wanted to give her something for her room in her apartment. While seemly less practical, I knew she’d appreciate it, and hopefully it’d be somewhat comforting. So let’s call it, emotionally practical. 🙂

I came up with the idea to type up a bible verse in illustrator using fun fonts, print it off and frame it. Obviously they could be any sayings or quotes you wanted, this is just what I thought she’d like.

Once the brain storming started, I couldn’t stop. I decided to take it a step farther, and do up a bunch of verses(because I couldn’t pick just one), and make them more decorative with my stock pile of scrapbook paper.

I had a 4×6 dollar store frame I wanted to use for the verses, and thought she could change them out when she wanted to see a different one. Sort of like those daily bible verse flip books, only framed.

Now this is very girly, but could still be given to a guy. Buy a beef-ier frame and paint it black (or buy it black). You could frame a picture of a map with a line drawn from home to where he is at college. It’s vague enough he shouldn’t be embarassed to have at his desk/wall. Or find a map/picture of your home state and put a (manly) heart/star over your home town. It all depends on the person, and what you’d think theyd like.

I used good ol’ craft paint (white and metallic gold) and painted the dollar store frame (because it looked quite cheap), and it really spruced it up!

Not the worst homemade gift ever, eh? I used some of her favorite colors. The decor in her room is quite neutral, so I knew almost anything would match.

I can’t wait for her to get this in the mail!

#3 Personalized Journal

So, another gift idea I had was to find a plain jane journal and decorate the front for something different.

Every college student uses some form of notebook, note pad, journal, even if it’s just to write down their schedule.

Practical. Check!

Obviously most guys would be less excited about a journal, but you never know! Throw a few race cars with flames on there, or decoupage pieces from comic books to the cover… or whatever! haha. Or if they’re an art student, even better! Use your imagination. Everyone is different.

I wrapped up the journal in tissue paper before I realized I never took a picture of the finished product with my good camera.

Here’s one I snapped with my phone.

I got the cute flowers at Michael’s, as well as the papers used. I stamped out the letters on regular copy paper and just cut them out.

I decorated the inside with decorative paper as well, and a few pictures of her and her boyfriend.

#4 Let’s throw in some randoms

I talked to Danae on the phone as she was in the car off to college, and we talked about a lot of things. We joked about her living off of Ramen, as well as wanting to just relax and watch a movie sometime soon. So I took those things and put them in the care package.

I dug in my pantry and pulled out a package of Ramen, a bag of popcorn and a couple other things. I was feeling rather funny, so I wrote up some notes to go with them to make it feel more special.

I found an old Christmas tin and put in as many things that would fit for safe travels.

One more thing I added before dropping it at the post office was a hair magazine! After all, that is what she’s going to school for.  I threw in a cute little card too. Then it was off to the post office!

She picks it up today after school, so I’m super anxious!

So what do you think? I realize everyone might not have time to sit and glue paper together, but I did this one day during the weekend,  and it didnt take up too much of my time at all.

And, of course, there is no right or wrong to this.

When it comes from the heart, anything you give will be more personal from the start. (No, I did not try to rhythm. Even though it’s appropriate this time.)

If you want the ‘homemade-can’t buy it in the store’ feel, but don’t have the time to invest, I suggest searching on for the item you are wanting to give(or, ya know, pay me to do it :} ). They have EVERYTHING on that glorious site.

Me + extra cash + etsy online shopping = bad news.


Maybe, I’ll get my sister to snap a picture of a few of these things at her desk.

Maybe I’ll wake up from that dream and face the eye-rolling reality.



One Response to “Make Your Care Package More Personal”

  1. Tracy Mailey September 14, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

    Awe, so sweet.

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