Ideas for Care Package Themes
Looking for the perfect gift to send anyone at any time? Give a big hello to care packages! Generally speaking, care packages are just boxes that contain a bunch of different items, like foods and small toys, but they can be slightly more refined with the application of a theme. So to get you thinking outside the box (oh, bad joke) about the kinds of different things that you can include in a care package, here are some ideas:
1. Office Newbie
First impressions are super duper important, especially in a new place of work. So, for someone starting a new job, you can help them out by making their first impression a great one! In a box, organize all the stuff they need to make their desk a fun, productive workspace, like an organizer, pens, notepads, and highlighters. (If you can find occupation-specific items, by all means go for it.) Also fill your care package with things they’ll need in case something goes wrong. Look for lint rollers, stain remover pens, floss, gum, lotions, and a pocket mirror, which are all small enough to fit into a desk drawer in case of emergencies.
2. Literature Lover
For some people, a day well spent equates to hours curled up on the couch with none other than a good book! So, obviously, their perfect care package would have to include a few different works on their favorite subject or genre. Help them save their place with a bookmark that keeps to the theme and be sure to include a pen or pencil to help them annotate. And, since those books can get really heavy, a tote is a great addition to your gift. At just about any retailer, you can find perfectly sized tote bags (some even decorated with literary references), so keep your eyes peeled while you’re walking through the aisles. Other things to include in this gift are a journal for their own thoughts, a mug, and some coffee.
3. Sports Fan
Keep them strong all season long with a care package full of sporty essentials! There’s tons of merchandise out there for whatever sport it is that they love, but keep in mind that this is a care package – you don’t need to go overboard on the team t-shirts and hoodies. Instead, look for smaller, less expensive items to include in your gift like sports magazines, DVDs of games, lanyards, and, of course, snacks for them to munch on during big games! Eats like beef jerky, chips, cracker jacks, and popcorn are classics at just about any sporting event and are all fairly easy to ship. If you’re worried about sending a glass jar, like one full of salsa or dip for those crispy tortilla chips, look for dip mixes of dried ingredients. That way your recipient will still get a delicious snack and there’s no chance of their new baseball hat getting covered with tomatoes.
4. Girls Night In
Is a lady you know in need of some major TLC? One girl’s night in coming up! To help her relax and regroup, send her a care package that’s complete with all the fixings for a night of pampering. First, she’ll need a good chick flick to get the evening started (and if it’s a total tear jerker, don’t forget the tissues). Everything else you’ll need to include can be found at your local pharmacy, but you may want to scope out bargain stores first. A lot of times, they offer the same brand names, but for a fraction of the price. Look for everything she’ll need for facemasks and nails, including cucumber eye pads, toe separators, foot lotions, polish, and cotton balls.
5. Craft Lover
Glitter and glue and ribbon – oh my! For those whose fingers twitch at the sight of paper and scissors, a care package full of crafting necessities is the greatest thing in the entire world. If there’s a specific craft they hone, like knitting or jewelry making, do a little research to find out what kinds of tools they use frequently, like yarns and beads. But for people who are just really into DIY and creating in general, the dollar store will most likely provide a one-stop shopping extravaganza for your care package. Look for different kinds of adhesives, foam shapes, markers, scissors, scraps of fabric, and papers – it really doesn’t matter. Someone super creative will eventually find a use for anything you send, so have fun shopping!
Sending eats to a foodie may sound like a daunting task, but you can go ahead and shelf your stress. With these few tips, you’ll have it in the bag…or box. The first thing you want to do is find a cookbook. This will be the starting point for everything else that goes into your care package. Do a little research to find out what books and recipes are new, get them, and then head to a specialty shop for unique, interesting gourmet products to add to your gift box. You’re trying to find items that don’t require any special attention when it comes to shipping, like pastas, chocolates, dried herbs, etc, and maybe even some that are used in the recipes you’re including. Lastly, make your gift super cute with the addition of matching kitchen towels, oven mitts, and/or kitchen utensils. Buon appetite, lucky recipient!
7. Movie Lover
Lights, camera, care package! For this particular gift, you’ll need to come up with a sub-theme by choosing a certain actor, actress, genre, or director to base your gift around. You’ll want to include a few different movies and a lot of times, you can find more than one movie on a disc, which not only saves space in your gift, but also makes it lighter, so you save on shipping too. And don’t forget that watching a movie is never fun without snacks, so make sure to include some yummy eats in your gift box. Choose from different styles of popcorn, an assortment of seasonings, and their favorite candies!
So your friend salivates over a spicy Shiraz and constantly craves creamy chardonnay…in other words, they kind of sort of really like wine? We totally get it. With this care package, you’ll first need to decide how much you want to spend because not only does wine get pricy, but so will shipping, depending on the weight of the bottles. For that reason, you may want to check out sending small bottles of vino or even boxes (they’re not so bad anymore, seriously). And don’t forget to add some food to your wine gift packages too! Look for shelf stable hard cheeses and cured meats because they don’t need any special shipping attention, like a cold pack, and pair well with bold red wines, such as a Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon. To complete your gift, add in a corkscrew and perhaps a small cheese board!
9. Under the Weather
Since when has being sick been fun? Since never, but you can certainly help make it more tolerable with a care package! For recipients who are in the hospital, you probably don’t want to include food items, because their recovery may hinge on a specific diet that you’re not aware of. That said, many hospital care package ideas include items like magazines, word puzzles, and books, which keep a patient’s mind busy from thinking about recovery. For a person who’s not feeling so hot and is at home, one of the best gifts you can send are comfy pajamas that you’ve taken the time to launder (since they’re not going to want to do laundry and they’ve probably been wearing the same sweats for like a week straight). Add in a good movie and some yummy comfort foods too, like healthy soups and hearty stews, and make sure to include a bowl! As for shipping, if you’re sending a hospital patient care packages, make sure to call ahead and find out if there are any special steps you need to take to ensure it gets where it needs to go.
So, there’s a special someone who’s not home? Whether they’re away for a birthday, an anniversary, or you’re just feeling a little extra sappy, it’s easy for you to say “I love you,” with care packages! As with all care packages, where you’re shipping it to obviously dictates what you can include in it. For example, if you’re sending a romantic gift overseas, chances are good that you’re not going to be able to include wine, so check first to be sure! Things you can send no matter where you’re shipping to include coffees, aromatic candles, scented lotions, and, of course, personal things, like photos of the two of you.
Volunteering time out of the country means making many sacrifices – including not knowing what’s going on at home. That’s why Red Cross and missionary care packages should include not only their favorite nonperishable food items, but news publications too. Chances are they’ve been kept fairly up to date on major headlines, but when it comes to your local gossip, they’re totally out of the loop. So start collecting your local papers or – if you have the time to spare – create your very own publication, with headlines tailored to what you think your recipient would find interesting.
Hit the nail on the head with a perfectly rugged care package! While a lot of important handy tools are anything but small, there are plenty of items that are just the right size for your gift! Supply him with a selection of sandpapers (unless you know specifics about what he’s working on), disposable dust masks, and safety goggles, as well as some snacks to keep him going. For after a hard day’s work, be sure to include manly soaps that are almost as tough as he is to get those burly hands free of grease and paint!
13. Beer Lover
Instead of sending the usual snack gift box, go ahead and add in their favorite drink too! Stop in at your local specialty beer store and arrange a totally unique 6-pack of microbrews that are native to your area. (Or, if you know their absolute favorite kinds, get those instead.) Since it’s a care package and all, you’ll want to add in other items to go along with the beer and snacks. Be on the lookout for nifty coasters to include, along with a bottle opener, beer cozies, and a beer notebook, so that they can jot down the brews they like most!
14. Technology Geek
Your friend is a real geek (it’s okay – you didn’t say it, we did). While care packages for others may be filled with gourmet foods and snacks, the geek in your life knows that nothing is more satisfying than technology. So in their gift, you’ll want to include small gadgets and gizmos, as well as accessories for ones they already have. Look for items like phone cases, USB organizers, ridiculous paperweights (that only they’ll love), and other somewhat useful, totally geeky things.
15. Guitar Player
It doesn’t matter what they’re into – metal or punk, indie or country – every guitarist needs the same basic equipment to create their music! If you head to your local music store, you’ll find everything they need including picks of varying thickness, pitch pipes, and callous builders. And because all that rocking out can take a serious toll on an instrument, products like cleaning sprays and specially designed cloths are great to include too!
16. Workout Fanatic
Creating the perfect care package for your favorite workout fanatic is about to become no sweat! While socks aren’t the most fun items to purchase, people who work out a lot go through them quickly, so they’ll certainly thank you for them (along with everyone else in the locker room). Other things to include are sweatbands, workout DVDs, and a water bottle. Small gym bags are also great, especially when you’ve taken the time to pack it with travel-sized containers of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and deodorant for after they’ve completed their workout.
17. Rainy Day
With the right gift, they’ll be wishing the rain won’t go away…and maybe that it will stick around for a day or two longer. Firstly, clearly write on the package that it’s not to be opened until a dull, dreary day of rain comes along. If you have the time (and/or the imagination) to dedicate to a bit of a project, nothing – nothing – is ever better on a rainy day than an adventure. Play into the subjects that they’re interested in, like a history mystery (oh, it rhymes, too), and create a scavenger hunt around their house. Include hot cocoa and, if you’re not into the whole creating an adventure thing, some classic board games and the makings for a movie marathon ought to do nicely.
18. Class Clown
Two guys walk into a bar and… just kidding. Some people are funny (and original) and they should be celebrated with gifts that enable them to make more people laugh. (Because everyone needs a good laugh now and then.) Instead of going with a lame plastic chicken, up the game with self-inflating whoopee cushions, classic stink bombs, and fake pimples. The great thing is that jokester items are generally pretty inexpensive, so you can purchase a lot of things and still have enough room in your care package for a good book of jokes too.
19. Outdoorsy Types
There ain’t nothing like the great outdoors! Send them the things they need to spend more time outside, enjoying that fresh, clean air…and less time in a stuffy store shopping for their next adventure. In your care package, equip them with a handy aluminum water bottle, a rain poncho, compass, first aid kit, emergency matches, and socks (you can never, ever have too many socks). To give them energy on their travels, be sure to include some quick, handy eats, like trail mixes, energy bars, instant oatmeal, and granola.
20. Study Hall
Being away at school is fun and all, but it’s a lot of work too. All that studying and going to class and doing homework takes up a lot of time…and energy. That’s why it’s always nice to fill care packages for students with their favorite snacks and treats so that they can devote their focus to learning and not to their rumbling tummy. And along with yummy snacks, pack in some of those study essentials they’ll totally need, like notebooks, erasers, and folders to keep them organized.
About the Author:
Katie Straw is the Gourmet Scribe at GourmetGiftBaskets.com, one of the top suppliers of gift baskets in the nation, and currently resides in Manchester, New Hampshire.