Crafting and Packaging Care

I have always enjoyed the role of (unpaid usually) joymaker.  I love writing (yup, hand written) cards and letters to friends and family.  I also love sending care packages to them at unexpected times to show them that I’m thinking of them.  That is, after all, the point of a care package – to show that you care.

My good friend has requested that I write about how to create such care within a package.  In order to better write, I went ahead and crafted some care packages to help myself really think about it.  And because it’s always a good time to remind others that you are thinking of them.

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[This care package is for that good friend who requested/inspired this post.  She is a writer, a lover of St. Patrick’s Day, and an all-around awesome woman. The intention: relax and feel pampered.  I almost always throw in something goofy because that’s just me.]

Step one: Care.  Care about people.  Care about how you are as a friend or family member.  Care about what other’s like, enjoy, and are trying to achieve.

Step two: Keep an eye out for things that remind you of that person (you may send a care package to someone in the next month or so).  Personally, I keep a box where I put gifts in, so when I stumble across something that I know someone will love, there’s a place I will store it (and not forget or misplace it).  Then when I want to make a package, I review what I have and contemplate what else I could add.

Step three: Set an intention.  What kind of caring do you want to show?  I usually include something for a friend to relax and something delicious for them to enjoy.  I usually want my friends to feel loved and a little pampered.  I usually want my family (especially my grandma and great aunts and uncles) to feel loved and remembered.

Step four: Actually collect, find, and/or buy things to put together.  You don’t need to spend a lot of money to make a nice care package.  I buy things when I see them on sale and save them for when I’m making care packages.  Sometimes I find free samples to include, which make a nice edition.

Step five: A care package wouldn’t be complete without a handwritten note or card from you. It can be short and sweet if you’re not interested in writing a lot.  Just convey that you care.  That they are awesome.  That they are loved.  And that they deserve this nice gift.

Step six: Put it all together.  For a care package to really show that you care, you need to actually put the items together in an envelope, seal it and slap a sticker or draw some hearts on the package.  Maybe write fragile so it doesn’t get tossed around.

Step seven: Remember to mail this!  I know this is the age of instant gratification, where we can click a button and have something delivered in two to five days to our door at no cost other than perhaps a membership.  That’s nice and I’ve tried to send friends gifts this way, but usually, they are confused and don’t even see the free note that they’ll add if it’s a gift.  It feels more personal and that you took the time out of your day to put it all together and actually mail the item.

Step eight: Know that you have made someone’s day.  You may not hear back from this person; in fact, plan on not hearing from them.  Today people are busy and don’t always say thank you (or don’t for a while).  This doesn’t mean that the care package wasn’t appreciated or that you didn’t bring your friend or family member a joyful reminder that they are a great person.

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[This care package is for a friend who is experiencing some health issues.  The intention: Feel better. Relax.]

Tips for free and low-cost items:

  • Find free samples when you’re out shopping. I sometimes just go to Whole Foods to treat myself to one small item and get a few free samples while I’m there.
  • Maybe you found a fun fact and wanted to include it. Do it!  Free literature?  Yes please.
  • Literally find things. Pick up a rock that looks like a heart.
  • Did someone get you something that is nice (and small) but you’re just not going to use it?  I don’t see the problem in passing it on to someone who would really enjoy it.
  • Buy things on (especially really great) sale that strike you as something nice for someone even if you don’t have a care package intention yet.
  • Dollar stores!
  • Actually print your photos and write descriptions on the back. Photos are always a nice gift.  (Pair it with a frame if you want more impact).

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[This care package is for a mother-to-be.  The intention: Feel pampered, relax, and take some time for yourself before you don’t have any.]

Ideas for gifts to include:

  • Chocolate
  • Cards/Stationary (why not invite them to write you back? Or spread their own joy to others)
  • Postage stamps (especially if you include the above or know they like to mail things)
  • Bath products – thin and light (if possible). This is where free samples come in hand.
  • Photos or even a photo album (don’t forget to write on the back of each photo what’s going on when it took place).
  • Seemingly random literature with a note (or not and just make them think). For instance, if you found a great restaurant, take one of their flyers home and put a note on it that you’d love to take them here next time you see them.  Or that this place reminded you of them and another place you used to go to eat with them.
  • Snack items. Most everyone enjoys a delicious treat.
  • Something small that they would actually appreciate. This is where personalization really is key.  Maybe it’s a bookmark your made or bought with a book (or even just add in your note a book you recommend), jewelry (it’s small and easy to make, or buy it on sale), chapstick, a photo gift (maybe return address labels with their photo, a magnet to remind them of something fun or a beautiful moment, etc.), a joke, an article or recipe you enjoyed, etc.

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[This care package is for a friend is health conscious (mostly) and who does a lot.  She keeps very busy with work, hobbies, continuing education, etc. The intention is: Relax and enjoy.]

I hope these ideas inspire you.  May  one day you receive such a lovely gift.

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