What To Put In A Care Package

Jul 5, 2002

The Bottom Line College can be stressful and packages can make a student feel a lot better.

It is almost 100% guaranteed that at some point during your child's college career, you are going to send him/her a package. So, why not send fun stuff along with the forgotten bric-a-brac? The first few weeks of college can be a very tough time for even the most steadfast of summer camp pros. Even if your student is accustomed to being away from you for two months a year (even longer for boarding school), college is different. I have been to both summer camp and boarding school and I was still intimidated when my mother dropped me off at college. Also, even college sophomores, juniors and seniors get homesick. So, even though the summer sun in blazin', I'm putting together the ultimate care package. In this review, I will analyze the pros and cons of popular package items and then you will be able to assemble the ultimate care package.

1. Clothing
This can be very iffy. On more than one occasion, my mother has asked me if I want more clothes. I will specifically ask her not to pack certain items, but when the package arrives, those specific items that I asked her not to send are there and I'm stuck with a big package full of clothes I don't want.

Here are a couple of pointers for sending clothes: First, ask about the items. Keep in mind that if the semester has just started and the clothes you're thinking of sending are weather appropriate, there is probably a good reason they were left at home. Remember, dorm rooms are small and contrary to popular belief, college students do laundry.

New clothing is another option, especially if your child goes to college in a rural area far away from the nearest mall. Again, ask your child if you see something you think they'll like.

2. Books, DVDs, CDs and Magazines
This can be a great idea if your student is an avid reader, but if your student says no thank you, please listen. My mother asked me if I wanted to read her rabbi mystery books two years ago while I was working at summer camp. I said no thank you and was very surprised (well, not that surprised) that they were sent to me anyway.

On the other hand, if you know who you child's favorite authors are, sending them a new book can be a great gift! For example, I like romance novels, but even if I was sent a book I had already read (but borrowed from someone else) I would love it because I would finally have a copy of my own.

The same summer when my mom sent me the rabbi mysteries, my father also pre-ordered the fourth Harry Potter book and had it sent to camp. That was a really nice treat and I really appreciated it.

This can also be applied to DVDs (or videotapes) and CDs. If your student's favorite movie has finally been released on DVD, sending that as part of a care package can be really great.

Finally, if you know your student has a favorite magazine and they don't have a subscription, sending them a subscription in a care package can be a great idea.

3. Photographs
Photos are a great thing to send- childhood photos, more recent photos, pet photos- they can either be put into albums or they can be put up with sticky-tack on a dorm room wall.

4. Food
This is also great- try to avoid sending chocolate because it can melt easily and possibly leak all over anything else that you are sending in the package. All students like food. You can send just about any type of food- Pringles seem to travel better than most chips, but you can send home-made cookies (or other treats), trail mix, snacks lemonade or other drink powder and just about anything else. Your student will be grateful. If they have access to a microwave, you could send Kraft EZ Mac, popcorn, and other treats. If they have a full kitchen, you could send a cookbook.

5. Stuffed Animals
This is mostly for female students, but I know of several male students who brought stuffed animals with them to college. So, perhaps you could send a favorite stuffed animal from college or you if there is a Build a Bear Workshop in a mall close to where you live, you could get a stuffed animal from them.

6. Things That Make The Dorm Room Seem Like Home
Whether it's posters, Christmas tree lights, or something else, things that make the dorm room more like home are always popular.

6. Holiday Stuff
If a holiday is coming up and you know that your child will be unable to come home because of school, send things to make the holiday more pleasant. For example, send an Advent calendar (the kind with chocolate inside it) for Advent or send hamentaschen for Purim. Send them Halloween candy or an Easter egg kit.

7. Be Creative
The items I have listed above are only some of the things that you can send in a care package. Random things are always good- if you know your student loves E.T and watched the ET video every day in 1987, then they might really enjoy an ET figurine. The possibilities are literally endless.

Just remember- you pay to send a package my the weight- so for the same amount of money you could send a whole bunch of smaller light things or only one or two heavy things.

Packages- and any mail- are always appreciated by students. College can be stressful and packages can make a student feel a lot better.

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