Editor’s Note: If you’re searching for a unique way to make someone’s day, the below article, originally published in August of 2020, is chock-full of care package ideas that will help you do just that.
I’ve found lately that some of the best moments in times of uncertainty are those that catch you by surprise (in a good way). They’re out of the blue blips of joy that take you out of your routine and out of the minutiae, that shift your circumstance for a little while. One way to do that for the people you love is through small but meaningful tokens of your affection… through care packages, if you will.
Care packages come in many shapes and sizes, and there are no rules for exactly what they need to resemble. They don’t need to be big or expensive; they’re simply a quick reminder that you’re there for the other person, that you’re thinking of them, that they’ve got a friend.
Care packages come in many shapes and sizes, and there are no rules for exactly what they need to resemble. . . . They’re simply a quick reminder that you’re there for the other person.
Whether the person on the receiving end is someone who needs a pick-me-up, someone who’s homeschooling their kids and working full-time andandand with no time to treat themselves, or someone who just hasn’t been feeling great of late (or all of the above?), it’s never a bad idea to send a little thoughtful something their way.
The next time you’re in the mood to make someone’s day (and why not do it this week??), these are are few of the many meaningful care package ideas that can bring a little lightness to the lives of the people you love most. Pick one of the ideas below, go forth, and spread a little joy.
20 Care Package Ideas
1. Deliver flowers to a friend. The next time you’re at the grocery store or farmers’ market, pick up a bundle for someone you know would appreciate them and drop them off on your way home. Easy peasy. (Hot tip: Make it a habit of jotting down your friends’ favorite blooms in the notes app on your phone (or… wherever) if and when the topic comes up in conversation. It’ll be a helpful little resource to have on hand for the future! And truth be told, this tip goes for most gifts.)
2. … OR have a plant delivered. We’re big admirers of Bloomscape and their wide assortment of plants. I’ve given two as gifts in the past few months and I would personally recommend them all-around!
3. Make them a handmade bracelet. If you were a child of the ’90s (hi, nice to meet you), you know that all you really needed to ensure a fun afternoon was an assortment of colorful string, a few strategically decided upon beads, a bit of tape, a pair of scissors, and that sweet, sweet friendship-bracelet-making knowledge that youths seem to be so quick to acquire. I’ve seen MORE than one person I follow on Instagram craft themselves a handmade bracelet recently, and the concept still looks as appealing as ever (to me, and maybe to you as well??).
4. Make someone a meal! If the cookware aisles at Target are any indication (does anyone know what I’m talking about??), there’s a high likelihood that most of us are cooking at home more than usual of late. Take the burden of prepping yet another meal off someone you love and do it for them. Drop it off at their doorstep and they’ve got a ready-to-go weeknight meal to make their life a little easier.
5. … Or put together a package featuring their favorite snacks.
6. … OR order them takeout from their go-to spot. (Clearly, I’ve got food on my mind, and you can’t go wrong with any of these options.)
7. Give them the gift of your presence. Reach out to a friend, set up a time to get together, and stick to it. If I’ve learned anything these past few years, it’s the incredible value of human connection. And if I’ve learned one other thing, it’s that just because someone isn’t reaching out, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to see you (and sometimes it means they’re the ones most in need of a little interaction).
8. Sign them up for a subscription to Headspace. Know someone in need of a mental health day? (Or a few minutes that support their mental health every day?) Give them the gift of Headspace. I personally have had the app for years and while I’m not always perfect about daily use, when I do use it regularly, I notice a definite difference in how readily I’m able to process stressors and let them pass right on through.
9. Put together a self-care package. I know, I know… self-care. It’s an overused sentiment, often proclaimed as an immediate and idyllic salve for whatever it is that’s ailing you. But there’s a reason folks keep using the phrase—because taking care of ourselves is actually important (like… really important) and it can make an honest-to-goodness difference, even if it’s not always immediate or idyllic. Include a face mask, a candle, a luxurious body oil, whatever it is you think they’d like most. It’s the perfect gift for anyone who needs a little relaxing (and don’t we all?).
10. Deliver a bag of grocery essentials. We’re talking eggs, milk, greens, apples, yogurt—a few of the essential items that most of us like to keep on hand (personalized for your giftee, of course). This is a great thing to give to anyone who’s short on time in their daily life.
11. Bring them wine. And why not add some cheese in, for good measure? Maybe some chocolate too? (I don’t know, this is your care package… you do you.)
12. … Or bring them craft beer, if that’s more their speed. And add in some beer snacks! Whatever beer snacks are! Pretzels? Chips? Dips to go along with the chips? That sounds about right.
13. … OR gift them the ingredients to make their favorite cocktail at home, plus a recipe card with the instructions.
14. Bring their favorite coffee order to their place on a weekday morning (maybe consider texting first to make sure they’re, you know, wearing pants and whatnot).
15. For anyone working from home right now, drop off some particularly pleasing-on-the-eyes office supplies—post-its, notepads, an array of colorful pens, the list goes on. While this idea may seem boring at first glance, I know of very few people whose home offices are fully stocked. And we can all appreciate a fresh stack of pastel post-its for doing and creating and scheming (but mostly scheming).
16. If you want to pay someone else to do the work for you, you could order a care package from local small business Minny & Paul. I love the looks of this Sweet box, which features a mini collection of local treats.
17. Give the gift of a book bundle, featuring a couple of books from their favorite genre. Not sure which books to include? Any of these fifteen books would make the perfect gift.
18. Print a few favorite memories and send the photos in a handwritten card. This is the package for the sentimental type (raises hand), and it’s pretty much sure to make anyone smile (as long as flattering photos of them are included… please don’t be that friend). While digital photos are convenient, sometimes it’s nice to have a photo of the physical variety as a tangible memento to keep in your home.
19. Bake them their favorite dessert for, you know, post-dinner enjoyment or a midafternoon snack (… or as a delectable breakfast replacement, or as dinner itself, because the world is their oyster and that’s perfectly alright).
20. Gift them a package filled with items that’ll keep them busy in the good old-fashioned way. We’re talking a puzzle, a book of crosswords, a deck of cards, or a classic board game. Because sometimes putting our phones and our Netflix accounts away and getting back to basics is a good thing.
Have you given (or received) any care packages of late? What items did they feature? How did it make you feel to give or get them? We’d love to know your care package ideas in the comments!
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