How to Build The Perfect Care Package

Care packages are the perfect way to say “I love you” to a friend or family member who is far away. 

Whether we’re talking about college students, military personnel, or simply someone who no longer lives nearby, sending a personalized gift can remind them that they are still in our thoughts and hearts. 

It is for this reason we’ve put together a list of 9 thoughtful care package ideas that anyone would love to give or receive. 

In addition, we’ve included many gifts that can be received by any and everyone; regardless of their core interests. These are the sorts of gifts that can be customized to suit a wide range of personalities.

What’s your favorite gift to receive in a care package? What are your absolute must-haves in sending a care package? Feel free to let us know in the comments below!


Handmade Gifts

care package ideas homemade gifts

While we suggest that your care package be full of things that the receiver can use on a day-to-day basis, one of the best things that you can put into yours is a personalized gift; like a letter.

Taking the time to make a gift for someone is the ultimate way to show you care. Feel free to bedazzle your letters with glitter, sparkles, bright colors and warm words. If you have the skills you might also consider knitting or sewing something for the recipient.

And don’t stop at DIY-ing gifts you put inside the care package box. You can also make the delivery box itself a craft project; which will make receiving it a joyful surprise for whoever you send it too.

care package ideas handmade soaps
Image Source: Crazy Little Projects, via A Pumpkin and a Princess

Both Crazy Little Projects and A Pumpkin and a Princess are great online resources for seasonal arts and craft projects that can become your next gift. 



care package ideas toiletries


Toiletries are an easy item to gift because, as long as you stick to the recipient’s preferences, or, if you don’t know what that is, provide them with uncomplicated scents and fragrances, they are something that everyone needs.

This is a thoughtful gift because you can effectively make it so that your recipient doesn’t have to buy any toiletries for themselves for the next few weeks...and can put that money towards other things.

Some of the best toiletries to put into a care package include:

  • Bodywash
  • Deodorant
  • Lotion
  • Perfume/Cologne
  • Cosmetics (Makeup kits, lip balm, etc)

  • However, we recommend that you send items that are more pleasant to receive; instead of reminding one of duties they must perform, like cleaning. For example, most people would like to receive a gift set of skin, body, face or hair products. 

    However, most people don’t want to receive a bountiful supply of Mr. Clean products!

    Here is a list of organic body washes and soaps to give you some ideas for no-fuss skin care you could include in your care package: 27 Best Organic Body Washes & Organic Soap Bars.


    Gift Card for Tea or Coffee Shops

    care package ideas gift cards


    Let’s face it.

    Most people run on either coffee or tea. It’s a fact of life.

    As your friend wakes up and goes off on their busy commute, you can make sure they can get the sustenance they need by providing them with either a giftcard for a coffee shop or gourmet tea or coffee company in their care package, so they can always have a batch on hand.

    Artisan tea and coffee companies like Art of Tea, DavidsTea, and Caribou Coffee have a variety of gift cards that you can send to your favorite someone on any occasion. 


    Home Baked Goods 

    care package ideas home baked goods
    Source: UPS

    One of the best kept secrets of shipping packages in general is that you can mail food. That’s right! The world is your oyster when considering sending delicious homemade treats in your care package. 

    There are very little restrictions about what sort of food you can mail. 

    In fact, this article by the United Postal Service simply cautions you on ways to ship your merchandise so that it can be received in the best possible condition.

    This advice covers what materials to wrap your food in and how to time the delivery based on the perishable nature of the food (expiration dates, etc).

    There are several rates for shipping that will affect the cost of sending items, as well. Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail (Which includes several Flat Rate Box options), and First Class Mail are the main categories of shipping available. 

    However, be sure to check out this list of restricted items care of the United States Postal Service to make sure you are complying with domestic and international laws when shipping foods (or any other items) in your care package.


    Protein or Energy Bars

    care package ideas snacks


    Energy and protein bars are another great idea to include in any care package.


    They’re a simple, no-fuss option when you’re on-the-go. 

    Wherever your busy day takes you, you can be sure that your energy bars will able to fit in the pocket of your jacket, briefcase, purse, stroller, or anywhere else you store your items.

    Some of the best protein and energy bars include Kind Snacks, Health Warrior, Lara Bar, and Clif Bar.


    Seasonal Clothing

    care package ideas clothing

    Another way to curate your care package towards the convenience of the receiver is to pack items for them according to where they live in the world and what season they’re in.

    For example, if they live in an area where it is currently winter, you can send them warm hats, gloves, scarves, ear muffs, boots, or even a jacket.

    Of course, this assumes that you know enough about them and their style to choose something they will like. One way you can overcome this is to search their Instagram or Facebook feeds for clothing (textures, colors, etc) they’ve worn in the past, and then search for clothing stores with similar fashion.

    Another thing that you can do is gift the basics in your care package. “Basics” are clothing staples everyone has in their wardrobe and can dress up or down according to their own personal style; or even casual or formal work requirements. Jeans, a white shirt, a blazer, a button-up sweater, etc etc.




    Gourmet Food Care Package

    care package ideas food delivery

    Building a gourmet food care package that has perishable items, such as noodles or rice, and snacks, such as sesame sticks or sunflower seeds, that are not likely to spoil easily will make a great addition to any care package.

    You can start with the basics using a recipe such as this

    Groceries stores such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s also provide alternatives to your microwavable instant cup of noodles (We recommend using the kind you cook instead). 

    These are healthier than the instant varieties.

    In addition, you can also add vegetable-based noodle brands to the care package. Be advised that most of these may have an expiration date of some sort; particularly if they are located in the refrigerated aisle. So you will need to time the delivery to this “good until” or “use  by” date.

    You can also decide whether you want to add the things into the care package individually, outside of the bento box, or add all of the elements into the empty spaces of the bento box, so that when the recipient opens it, they’re already placed where they would be.


    Spotify Subscription

    care package ideas spotify subscription

    Regardless of what genre you like, everyone likes music.

    This is why a Spotify subscription, which can be as simple as adding someone to your premium family account or giving them a gift card, can be a great way to show someone you care.

    The best thing about this subscription is that you can access it from virtually anywhere in the world; which makes this ideal whether you’re an active service member or college student! A perfect addition to any care package.


    Share Stories from Home

    care package ideas photos

    Lastly, along with DIY handmade gifts, another one of the best things to get in a care package are stories from back home.

    Whether stationed overseas or going to school far away from home, your friends and family want to know what’s going on in your life. It helps them to stay connected with you and lets them know that you are making an effort to keep them informed.

    Of course, the most intimate and personalized, the better.

    Got married? Graduated from school? Climbed Machu Picchu? Visited the Pyramids? 

    Including a handwritten letter in your care package, combined with a collection of intimate photos, is a great way to update them and keep them in the loop.

    We recommend going for a bit of a nostalgic touch with this one. For example, you get get a polaroid camera and take photos with them when you get a chance.

    Going the distance to create this sort of experience for them will help them feel involved; even while 500 miles away. Here is a list of retro cameras that are still on the market. This list includes both disposable and long-term use cameras.

    So, there you have it. 

    Our list of the top 9  ideas for your next care package includes items that are both personal and practical. 

    DIY and homemade items give a personal touch and thoughtfulness that will help communicate your feelings to the receiver. If you’re missing them, grateful for them, etc...Create a handwritten letter from scratch that showcases this. Making things with your hands is always better than any greeting card.

    In addition, by adding practical items that can be used every day, you are making the recipient’s life a whole lot easier. 

    Also remember that when choosing items that are highly scented, or lend their way to a particular interest, keep in mind the personality of the individual you’re buying for. That is less time they have to spend running errands for personal items; and less money they have to spend on them, as well.

    Adding items from both categories in your care package will make the receiver feel extra loved.


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