Friday, November 21, 2014

How to Make an Autumn Care Package!

Make Someone You Love THIS happy! Send a care package! Great gift ideas for stocking stuffers and gift baskets, too!Christmas is coming soon with all of the gifts and cards and well wishes, but that doesn't mean that you have to wait to send a care package to someone you love.  
It's a great time to show someone that you are thinking of them!  Sending a care package before Christmas can show that you don't just want to give them a gift because society dictates that you should.  A non-Christmas gift can feel extra special and be uplifting.  A lot of people tend to get depressed near the winter holidays because they can't be with family or friends, they can't spend as much on gifts as they'd like, or they have Seasonal Affective Disorder.  
An uplifting little "I'm thinking of  you" gift basket won't take away those difficulties, but can sure show your support.

Do you have a child, sibling, or friend in college; a loved-one stationed away from home in the military; or know someone who lives alone?  They'd be so happy to check the mail and find a care package from you!  I'll share some of the methods I use to choose good items to include.

It's fun to make an autumnal-themed box, but think outside of the box!  Fall can be grey and cold; a reading box with books and a cozy throw for a book-lover, or a gourmet food box for the chef would warm the soul and the chilly bits :)

Try to pick things that the recipient might not buy for themselves.  Try to include useful items, not dust-catchers! 

The gifts do not need to be expensive, but keep your recipient in mind so the package can be tailored exclusively for them. Imagine them opening it and knowing that you made it JUST for them!

Gifts: Here's a list of things you can mix-and-match to create the perfect gift!
  • Candle with holder. It can be as small as a tealight or as large as a pillar.  You can pick a scent you know they enjoy or a scent or color that goes with the theme for the box. As a bonus, it will help your package smell good when it's opened!
  • Music or personal message.  A modern version of a mixed-tape can be fun.  This doesn't even have to cost money!  You can make a mixed CD from music you already own or even make a playlist on a streaming music site like Spotify.  Just send a little card with how they can access the music. You could even include instructions for them to open the gift while listening to the music.  Another option is to record yourself singing or talking to them and include it in the box.  A YouTube video would work, too!  Do you both have Facetime or Skype? It would be so much fun to feel like you are right there watching them open the gift!
  • Beverage and accessories.  A nice container of tea bags, a bag of coffee beans, or even a bottle of wine make a cozy gift.  Including an appropriate mug or wine stopper would make it feel complete.
  • Snacks.  A homemade treat brings a touch of home to the gift.  Be sure to wrap it properly so that it will be just as fresh when they open it as when you made it.  If cooking's not your thing or you need a shelf stable alternative you can include their favorite candy, something exotic, or indulgently expensive.  It doesn't have to be sweet either! A smoked meat stick, crackers, jelly, chutney, etc. are great, too.  Stay away from anything that won't ship well like chips.  Consider the temperature before sending something that might melt (like chocolate).
  • The main gift.  It's the main event and it can go with your theme if you have one. 

Presentation: Finishing touches add excitement to the gift and turn a "box of stuff" into a present. 
  • Include a hand-written letter expressing your feelings.  Share some details about current personal happenings.  Ask for details about their life.  Include contact info if you haven't been in touch in a while.
  • Wrap some items individually, or personalize them with a stamp.  Colored tissue paper works, too.
Shipping:  Be sure anything breakable is packed securely.  If anything would be damaged by water or would leak, pack it in a plastic zip bag.  I like to photograph the collection of items right before I pack them that way I have an inventory of what's sent if I want to reference it for later gifting or for insurance purposes.  When mailing, consider getting delivery confirmation/tracking and insurance.

I just sent my mother an Autumn Care Package.  She lives several hundred miles away so sending these care packages to her is my way of staying connected and letting her know I'm thinking of her always.  Hubby and I included some great things for her this fall:
A note which was placed on the very top so it'd be the first thing she'll see.  It read:
 
Surprise!

Get your tea kettle going and then come back.

Ready?

Seriously, go get some water boiling.

Now that you have your water boiling (you do…don’t you?), you can dig in to this awesome autumn care-package!

  

~Snuggly fleece pajama top
~
Autumn Sky Openwork Crochet Scarf ombre net design by TheHuntshire
Scarf that I crocheted (You can buy one like it from my Etsy Shop: TheHuntshire!)
~Croc shoes.  I wrote in permanent marker on the bottoms, "Bless Your Sole!"
~Tervis 24 oz tumbler with a handle accessory
~Assortment of tea bags
~Bath & Body Works Twilight Woods set (shower gel, body cream, and fragrance mist)
~Ball brand Pectin (because she wanted to can some Muscadine grapes, but said pectin was hard to find inexpensively where she lives)
~Belt case for her cell phone
~Scrub Daddy (because these things are awesome!! ...and kinda cute :) They make me smile)
~Yankee votive candle in Spiced Pumpkin
~Lancaster vanilla caramel cremes
~Handwritten note
I stuffed the smaller gifts inside of larger ones to help it ship in a small-ish box and to protect everything.

I hope you take the chance to brighten someone's day by sending a care package!  What are some of your favorite things to include in a gift basket or care package?

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