One of the fun things, okay the ONLY fun thing, about being a long-distance parent is making care packages. We love getting things together throughout the month to send to the Little Man. It’s especially fun around the holidays. And now with the help of Pinterest, I can actually make fun things to send instead of us buying a bunch of toys.
Pinterest is a great resource for general care package ideas. If you do a search for “military care packages” or “camp care packages” you can get a lot of great ideas. Another great resource for care packages are sites geared towards grandparents, such as grandparents.com. I also like to check out websites for companies that send out pre made care packages, such as gifts.com, for ideas. Of course not all the ideas are going to apply to your particular situation, but it’s a starting point.
Whenever I pin anything to my holiday Pinterest boards, I always make a mental note if it’s something that we can put in a box and sent. I have literally been planning his Halloween box since July. There are a few things to keep in mind when making things for care packages.
Is it practical? Unless you are Super Box Packer Extraordinaire, you probably won’t be sending any of those adorable cupcakes you have pinned. But maybe you could send cookies instead. Or you could send the ingredients for a fun recipe. We can’t make s’mores with him this Halloween, but we sent him graham crackers, Hershey bars, and ghost marshmallows so he could make his own.
Is it perishable? If you’re sending any kind of perishable or homemade food, it needs to be shipped next day or 2 day priority. Lots more tips for shipping food can be found here.
How big is it? We stock up on flat rate shipping boxes from the post office. That limits the size of the things we send. For us, this is a good thing since we tend to go overboard. If you’re out shopping for care package goodies, it’s a good idea to have your shipping box in the car with you so you can know when it’s time to stop buying things (or when you need to get a second box).
How much will shipping cost? That’s a biggie. We have sent several boxes out where shipping costs were higher than the cost of the items in the box. You can see rates for the U.S. Postal Service here.
What’s your budget? I put this last because it’s something we don’t really discuss. Budget, what budget? We always overspend on boxes. Always. But we’re always glad we did.
So there are a few general tips for sending care packages. I’ll post the box we sent for Halloween this weekend. 🙂