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college care packages

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Guest Barb B

OK - write about your ds/dd favorite care packages you have sent. Or maybe ones you remember from college. Also, not to sound dumb, I want to send regular mail too - with communicating by text and email (also phone) I wonder what some things you've written by regular post mail. Barb

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My favorites always contained specialty coffee (we had a kitchenette on our floor and it had a nice coffee pot...so, yummmmmmm. I liked to get my favorite candy, granola, and believe it or not, the hometown newspaper. That newspaper was a nice pick-me-up...helped me to feel connected. I also had a little sister at home, just in kindergarten, so pictures were very welcome because I was used to be around for her growing up and then suddenly, bam...she was growing and changing and I wasn't around to see it. My nephew as well, I really liked to get pictures of him. Of course, that was all during the dark ages when the internet did not exist so I guess most pics would be sent online these days.

 

My great-aunt made the best butter cookies in the entire world! Though she was well into her 80's, one time she made a batch, packaged them in several layers of bubble wrap, and sent them. I waited until lunch, took two of them with me to the cafeteria, and ate them with a glass of milk. It was like being transported back home to my childhood of running down to Aunt Effie's house to wait for cookies to come out of the oven. Pure heaven!

 

My most unusual packages always came around performance times. I was a piano performance major and had to have LOTS of beautiful evening gowns. Since mom and dad were not exactly made of money, mom always made my gowns. She'd made so many for me in high school that she could make them to fit me perfectly without me having a fitting. So, it was very exciting because many times, if I had an important event upcoming, a box would arrive with a new, gorgeous evening gown and sometimes my dad would get all sentimental about me and actually shop for a new necklace or other accessory himself! That was a real treat for me! But, most students would not have this need, however, if you do find out that they have something important happening, it is nice if you can think of something related to that to send to them.

 

Dh's parents bought him subscriptions to computer, robotics, and engineering magazines! HE LOVED THIS!

 

Faith

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I made ds a photo book via Shutterfly with lots of shots of family, pets, etc. and had it sent to him unannounced. Watch for promos for photo books!

 

Also - a funny t-shirt or coffee mug from Think Geek or Mental Floss.

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Food.

 

My daughter's favorite things in her care packages were usually food, especially of the home-baked variety. Over the four years, I sent fancy breads, muffins, cookies of various kinds, etc.

 

We would also send specialy things that were easy to find at home but not readily available in the small town where the campus was located, like the shelf-stable Indian food on which she more or less survived during her college years.

 

Sometimes, when she was just too busy to even get a ride to the closest market, I sent her groceries. I found the flat-rate boxes from the post office especially handy for this. I could stuff a couple of the large boxes very full of non-perishables (rice, crackers, instant hummus, papadam, granola bars, packaged cookies, oatmeal, sugar, etc.) and ship them to her for a reasonable price.

 

We sent books and cards, the latter especially around exam time. I tried to include something silly and fun in each box. Before Halloween, for example, we'd sent silly things for her to decorate her room or share with friends (little bottles of bubbles, glow sticks, etc.).

 

Fun t-shirts, iTunes gift cards.

 

Programs from shows we saw that had any of her theatre nerd friends in them.

 

Good teas. (She's not a coffee drinker.)

 

At some point, it became clear that the last thing she needed was more stuff to stash in her dorm room. So, we tried really hard to send only consumables.

 

Edit: The comment about magazines reminded me that we also got her a subscription to Playbill magazine in her last year, which she LOVED. And I would occasionally toss in a box a copy of a wedding magazine, because we've enjoyed looking at them together since she was little.

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Food.

 

My daughter's favorite things in her care packages were usually food, especially of the home-baked variety. Over the four years, I sent fancy breads, muffins, cookies of various kinds, etc.

 

We would also send specialy things that were easy to find at home but not readily available in the small town where the campus was located, like the shelf-stable Indian food on which she more or less survived during her college years.

 

Sometimes, when she was just too busy to even get a ride to the closest market, I sent her groceries. I found the flat-rate boxes from the post office especially handy for this. I could stuff a couple of the large boxes very full of non-perishables (rice, crackers, instant hummus, papadam, granola bars, packaged cookies, oatmeal, sugar, etc.) and ship them to her for a reasonable price.

 

Another fan of the flat rate box. I too have sent a variety of homemade baked goods: breads, muffins, bundt cake. Biscotti ships very well, by the way. I also send small jars of homemade jam, Nutella, and Asian noodle packets (things like Annie Chun). Cans of cashews or mixed nuts are also appreciated.

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My Mom used to send me homemade PIE!!!!! If my sister or someone else was coming through the town that I went to school in they would drop several off. I have sent my dd a bag of her fave lollys, tea, Nutcracker Themed Treats, cookies (snickerdoodles and chocolate-chocolate chip), and vitamins!!!

My dh sends the dd mushy cards saying "good luck" and happy holidays with a $5 bill in them.

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I might point out - if your kiddo has a mailbox in the dorm, send as heavy a care package as you like. If, like mine, the mailboxes are in a central location on campus several blocks from the actual dorm....and your student may not even visit his/her mailbox very often.....perishable cookies, etc. might not be a good idea.

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I'm bad about mail.

 

BUT the college has a group of Ladies/Spouse club? That does college care packages for the students. They do something once a month. and do fun things for variey in them.

 

It was about $10 a month. I think they even do a Birthday thing in there too.

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I don't plan to mail packages since dd is so close and we'll see her about twice a month. But I plan to "surprise" her with things now & then. We are going to parent orientation this weekend and I'm bringing her a cool t-shirt I bought on Etsy that I know she'll love: French Lobster. And I just ordered The Quotable Lewis for the next time we see her. I guess I should also throw in a box of cookies from Trader Joes every time, too. :)

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Goodies from home have been well received, but my dc love when I send them Starbuck's Via Coffee because it tastes good, and just needs hot water. They also appreciate gift cards, to Walmart for two of my dc, and to Target for another. Just find out which stores are near your dc's school. Your dc will shop there. They also appreciate iTunes gift cards, Starbuck's gift cards, and plain old Visa gift cards so they can do something not in their budgets.

 

One ds had to stay at school until a few days before Christmas, so I sent him a 2 or 3 foot artificial Christmas tree (can't remember which), a small piece of material as a tree skirt, a string of battery operated Christmas lights, and a few packages of size-appropriate ornaments, as well as a tree topper. I also sent a dvd of the movie Christmas Vacation, some hot chocolate packets, and chocolate-peppermint cookies. (It all squished into a flat rate post office mailing box, surprisingly enough.) He texted me a photo of the decorated Christmas tree on the table in his dorm suite. He said that he and one of his roommates (who also had to stick around after school ended for Christmas break) played Christmas music, decorated the little tree, drank hot chocolate, ate the cookies and watched the movie. He loved it, and never expected it, so it was a huge surprise.

 

Sometimes I purchase something online and have it mailed directly to my dc. It saves me shipping, and it surprises them. I have done this with Hastings.com and I buy them several used DVDs. They are very inexpensive to purchase, are great quality, and my dc like getting some dvds to watch.

 

I have send Swiss Colony food surprises to my dc, too. It costs more than baking at home, but some of the treats are very cute, so it is worth it to me to send once a year.

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The gift I received in college that was most useful was a First Aid Kit. Not one of the pre-made kits, because those often have a weird assortment of things and not enough of what's actually practical. It was a little storage box like this that was filled with:

 

A small flashlight with extra batteries

Matches

Knife

Folding scissors

QuikClot

Band-Aids (various sizes)

Antibiotic Ointment

Gauze

Butterfly bandages

Hydrogen Peroxide

Q-Tips

Nail Clippers

Anti-Septic Towelettes

Tweezers

Multi-Tool

Various medication (ibproferin, aspirin, sudafed, benedryl, etc.)

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My son lived in a boarding house in NYC for his first year. All he had in his room as far as cooking appliances was a hot pot (to heat water), and often he would get home from his after-school job so late, he'd miss the dining room hours. I'd send him little packages of dehydrated camping meals, so that all he needed to do was add hot water and he'd have a warm meal. :) There are actually very good ones these days: organic, vegetarian, etc. Good tea was always welcome too. At Christmas time I sent him a tiny little (doll-house sized) artificial Christmas tree, along with a little tiny chain with ornaments attached to decorate it.

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When I went away to college my parents got me a basic tool kit. I've seen some really neat ones out there lately -- for females & males. I had that tool kit up until a few years ago, and I still have some of the tools from it.

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Last month I joined Groupon in my son's college town. So far, I have picked up a couple of restaurant coupons and a couple of fun, recreational activity coupons. I plan to send him him one every couple of weeks. His cousin will be at the same school so I have been buying them for her as well, hoping they can spend some time together.

 

My older son appreciated anything edible. And money.

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