By COLLEEN SULLIVAN
While at college, it may seem difficult to connect with old friends from home, especially when maintaining a busy schedule. Texts and phone calls, though efficient, can be impersonal and rushed. To show a friend that distance doesn’t change a thing, sending a care package is a simple gesture that will brighten someone’s day. The highpoint of creating this gift is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be filled with store-bought baubles; there are many easy crafts one can do to create a personalized and unique care package.
A basic component of any care package is delicious food. The process of deciding which snacks to include in the box can be simplified by fulfilling categories, such as: sweet, salty, crunchy and “to-go” foods. For example, cookies, popcorn, pretzels and granola bars are some of the many possible combinations. Be sure to bear in mind your friend’s preferences. Also, coupons are great to keep costs down when shopping for this part of the package.
Crafts and DIY projects are an important part of any care package. The time spent creating things for the box can also be used to unwind from external stress. Crafts do not have to be perfect, after all, it really is the thought that counts. One simple idea is to create a map depicting the two cities occupied by friends. For example, one friend may be in Blacksburg, VA, so one could print out a map of Fredericksburg and Blacksburg. From there, it’s just a matter of cutting the maps into the shape of a heart and then mounting them onto a decorative sheet of paper.
Another fun craft to include is a photo collage. These are incredibly simple to make, even on a smartphone. One app that works particularly well is, “A Beautiful Mess.” It allows you to arrange multiple photos into an appealing collage as well as place words or sketches on to the final product. Photos are a great memento to have and can help add a little bit of cheer to a dorm room.
The inside of a packing box can be quite drab. With the help of a printer and creative thinking, a lackluster interior won’t be an issue anymore. Try lining the inside of the box with an activity your friend enjoys, such as coloring pages, Sudoku, connect-the- dots or maybe crossword puzzles. A strong adhesive isn’t necessary for this; a single piece of tape for each activity should do the trick. By doing this, the care package also serves to encourage a friend to take some time for his or herself.
As with any gift, creativity is a must. There is no precise blueprint for creating a care package, but hopefully the above description will spark an idea or two.