Anytime someone you love is going through a challenging time, it can be difficult to figure out the best way to show your support. Some people don’t feel like socializing when they’re sick or grieving. That’s why many people keep their distance when they aren’t sure how to appropriately comfort someone without overstepping their boundaries.
Distance may also constrain you from reaching out and giving a hug to someone who could use it. When these situations prevent you from comforting someone you love, a care package is the perfect gift.
A thoughtful care package makes an excellent gift for all types of occasions. One of the best things about care packages is that they’re so easy to customize. All you need is a little personal information about the gift recipient (such as hobbies, talents, favorite foods, etc.) so you can put together a happy box full of all their favorite things. A well-crafted care package is a gift that won’t be forgotten soon.
Whether you want to brighten a sick friend’s day or send a reminder of your love to a child who has suddenly grown into a college student, a care package is the next best thing to a warm hug. Here’s everything you need to know about sending care packages to a loved one.
What Is a Care Package?
If you’ve never heard of a care package before, you’ve probably heard of a gift box. Well, those two things happen to be the same. Like gift boxes, care packages contain various items for easy gifting, anything from treats to lip balm (and everything in between).
Customization is the name of the game when it comes to choosing the perfect gift box for someone you love. You wouldn’t want to send a box full of delicious gummies to someone on a sugar-free diet, but that same person might adore a gift card and a box full of different varieties of coffee. When you put some thought into selecting care packages full of items your friend or family member loves, it’s the perfect way to show you really care.
What Is the History of Care Packages?
The concept of special items in a care package or gift box is as old as time—we like to think being thoughtful is part of human nature. And we know a story or two that highlights the trend.
Back in 1914, small silver or brass tins were filled with gifts and distributed to the British Empire’s armed forces on Christmas Day. The little goodie-filled tins were referred to as “Princess Mary Gifts.”
Those early gift boxes were filled with things members of the armed forces surely enjoyed, such as squares of chocolate and tobacco. A public fund backed by Princess Mary was used to pay for The Princess Mary Gift Fund boxes.
Later, in 1946, the Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe (CARE) shipped boxes full of much-needed items to millions who barely got by in post-war Europe. Those boxes were aptly named “CARE Packages®,” and they brought great joy and hope to those who received them.
They contained various items such as margarine, whole-milk powder, medicinal supplies, diapers, school supplies, and fabric. Though these items may seem simplistic today, they were sorely needed at the time and made life much more bearable for millions of starving and destitute families.
Beyond formal care packages, gift giving has been practiced for thousands of years. Even cavemen most likely gave gifts to show affection and respect toward each other. Giving gifts during that time could have also been a symbol of status. The first gifts were likely things like unusual rocks, animal hides, and other natural items. Once tools were invented, gifts began to become more elaborate.
By the time the Egyptians came along, gifts were a symbol of wealth and were stored in pyramids with pharaohs. Good luck tokens were popular gifts during those times and were often used to show allegiance and earn favors.
Modern care packages are a lot bigger than the small silver and brass tins that may have marked the beginning of the gift box movement by Princess Mary. They may also be a bit less practical than the first CARE Packages® sent to starving families in Europe after World War II. And there’s no doubt that modern care packages are more advanced than the gifts cavemen used to give to each other. But despite their differences, today’s care packages are still a lot like their earliest counterparts because they are designed to bring happiness to those who receive them.
What Is in a Typical Care Package?
The best thing about a typical care package is that it’s not typically like any other. The best care packages are full of surprises and individual favorites. However, you’re likely to find that care packages contain one or more of the following types of items:
- Baked goods
- Toiletries (such as bath bombs and lip balm)
- Puzzles, word searches, and games
- Lotions and hand creams
- Books and magazines
- Stuffed toys
- Gourmet food
The list could go on and on. What you’ll find inside any given care box depends on the producer of the box and the target audience for the box (gift boxes for women, for example, may contain things like, toiletries, chocolate, and candles while gift boxes for men may contain things like whiskey, gourmet food, and beard care items).
What Are the Best Occasions To Send a Care Package to Someone?
A care package is a great gift for many occasions and situations. A college care package, for example, is an effective way to comfort and encourage a college student who has moved to a campus away from home. A corporate care package is a great idea for employees who have recently given birth, been promoted to a new position, or met their corporate sales goals. Here are a few more occasions when sending a box full of gifts to someone might be appropriate:
- Major holidays
- Illnesses (such as the cold or flu)
- Cancer treatments
- Military deployments
- Recent losses (such as the death of a family member or pet)
- Celebrations (such as adoption, the birth of a baby, or the purchase of a new house)
- Major life achievements
- New neighbors
- College students
- Women who are expecting
These are all great excuses to give someone a care package, but who says you need to have a reason to do something nice? You can send a care package to someone just because you want to brighten their day or show them how much you appreciate them. The world would be better if more people took advantage of opportunities to be kind “just because.”
What Can I Put in a Care Package for a Friend?
Whether you’ve given many care packages to people over the years or you’ve never heard of a care package until now, the sky is the limit when it comes to what you could potentially put inside.
To help get your creative juices flowing, here are several ideas for things you can put in a care package for a friend. Keep in mind that there may be some overlap of ideas in these different gifting categories.
Is your friend feeling blue because of a recent breakup with a significant other? Has moving off to college been more difficult than expected for a student friend? Maybe you know someone who recently lost a loved one to an accident or disease. Whatever the case may be, when your friend needs cheering up, you may want to fill a care package with some of the following comfort items:
- A favorite cookie
- A lighthearted book
- A feel-good movie
- Gourmet soup (ahem, Spoonful of Comfort has the OG soup gifts)
- Bath bombs, lotions, lip balms, and other pampering items
- A soft blanket or throw
- A scented candle
- A heartfelt letter
- Hot chocolate
These items are all very comforting for situations when life doesn’t go as planned or when grief is involved.
Get Well Items
Illnesses happen to the best of us, but sometimes they hit certain people a little harder than others. If you know someone who’s been knocked off their feet by an illness, sending that person a get-well package would be very thoughtful. Here are some ideas for creating a get-well package for a friend who’s stuck at home or in the hospital:
- Puzzles, magazines, and books to keep them busy
- A comedy movie (this one may not be the best idea for someone who’s recently had abdominal surgery, though!)
- A tea bag filled with therapeutic tea leaves
- A healthy snack
- Comforting soup
- Favorite cookies
- Fidget toys to help with stress (yes, these are fun for adults, too!)
- Epsom salt for soaking in a warm bath
- Cough drops
- Soft tissues
- Hand sanitizer
- Warm socks or slippers
- Comfy pajamas or a cozy robe
- A stuffed toy
- Dry shampoo (this is a great option for a friend who’s in the hospital for an extended period)
- Foot scrub
- Body lotion
- Chapstick or lip balm
- A scented candle
Your friend will be delighted to receive a care package with any of the above items when he or she is feeling sick. Feel free to add anything to the basket you would like to have if you were sick at home or in the hospital.
Has your friend recently graduated from college, landed a dream job, or decided to get hitched? For those big moments when a simple “congratulations” won’t do, here are some great care package ideas:
- Wine or other types of alcohol
- Gift cards
- A personalized mug
- A scented candle
- A favorite treat
- Fruit bouquets
- Gourmet foods (such as soup, charcuterie boards, nuts, etc.)
These types of items are a lot of fun to receive when you’re celebrating a big life achievement.
How Can I Customize Care Package Themes?
If you’re a naturally creative person, you can come up with your own customized care package themes. But not everyone has the creativity or the time to build a custom care package from scratch. For those who prefer to have someone else do the heavy lifting, choosing from pre-selected care package themes and customizing them with your choice of flavors or products is a convenient way to go.
Spoonful of Comfort is a care package service—our job is to make it easy to customize a ready-to-eat meal package (and more!). You can shop by occasion (such as “Sympathy,” “Let’s Celebrate,” and “Get Well,”) then choose from six delectable soups, four classic cookie flavors, and a variety of fun accessories. The result is a mouthwateringly delicious package that’s perfectly customized for your loved one.
Building a custom care package is one of the easiest ways to treat a friend or loved one. You simply select the items you think your friend will enjoy and send the package off. It’s as easy as that!
How Can I Ship Care Packages?
When you make a care package on your own from scratch, securing and shipping your package can be a cumbersome and expensive process. With shipping rates on the rise, you may decide that it’s not as cost-effective to create your own package from scratch as it is to order one online.
When you purchase a care package from a company online, you will typically pay lower shipping rates than you would if you were to box up a bunch of different items and ship them yourself. This is because companies often get a small discount on shipping rates due to the large volume of products they send out regularly. Companies will often pay it forward and pass these savings on to the customer.
When you order a care package through a company that makes them, you will typically be given an option to ship the package wherever you want it to go. Perishable packages (such as those from Spoonful of Comfort) cannot be shipped to PO boxes or internationally.
Spoonful of Comfort ships to all 50 US states and uses special packaging to keep the contents inside safe and fresh. Be sure to check the specific shipping details and policies of any company through which you purchase care packages to ensure your package can be delivered to the right destination.
Why Are Care Packages Such a Great and Versatile Gift?
Care packages make great gifts because they’re so versatile. They’re perfect for both men and women and can be customized to suit any occasion. Whether you’re trying to think of good corporate gifts for employees or gifts for your graduating grandkids, a care package is a thoughtful and meaningful solution. It can be both practical and fun, depending on what’s inside.
The best care packages offer an immersive, comforting experience to the person receiving them. Since few experiences in life are more immersive than enjoying good food, it’s no surprise that care packages involving food are usually well-received and appreciated.
If someone asked you to list the most comforting foods you can think of, soup would probably make it on your list. That’s because delicious, gourmet soup has rich flavors and scents that envelope the taster in warmth, comfort, and even nostalgia. For these reasons and more, Spoonful of Comfort care packages are some of the most satisfying gifts to send to the people you care about most.
What Are Some Ideas To Be Creative With Care Packages?
The best care packages are the creative types. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a genius to come up with a really great, unique care package. You can start with a pre-made gift box or a custom care package from Spoonful of Comfort and add your own delightful embellishments.
Start by listing some of the top things you know your gift recipient likes. Is he a fan of sports? Does she enjoy going horseback riding in her spare time? What’s his favorite movie? What’s her favorite type of music?
Once you answer these basic questions, you’ll have a decent list of themes from which you can glean gift-giving inspiration. For the sports guru, consider tucking football tickets into the care package. A horse enthusiast would probably love to receive a horse-themed picture frame or reservations for a local horseback riding tour.
If you don’t know the recipient of your care package that well, don’t worry! You can always add a few generic and delightful add-ons to your care package.
Why Is Gift Giving Important?
Researchers have devoted a lot of time to studying gift-giving psychology. No matter where you go, giving gifts is almost universally practiced. Even though some cultures may give different types of gifts than others, practically every human being on this earth has given or accepted a gift (or both).
The gift-giving industry is a billion-dollar one. And for good reason! Science shows that giving gifts is a very rewarding practice—and not just for those who receive. The gift giver also benefits from a heightened sense of well-being and purpose. Brightening someone else’s day inevitably brightens your own day.
Here are four great reasons to start being a gift giver:
- Happiness: Experiments have tested how people felt after giving gifts, and the results were overwhelmingly positive. Those who gave gifts to others felt better about their own lives. When you focus your attention outward, you don’t have as much time to focus on your life's frustrations and hardships.
- Better Social Connection: Anytime you give something freely to someone else, you feel a connection to that person. That connection might never have happened if you chose not to give. Communities and families that value the virtue of giving to others often feel a closeness that is not duplicated in communities or families that focus only on receiving.
- Improved Mental Health: If you feel like your life has diminished in purpose, try giving gifts to others. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on gifts to reap the mental health benefits of giving. Remember, gifts don’t always have to be monetary. Even giving your time to someone else can improve your state of mind and give you a greater sense of purpose.
- Improved Societies: Often, the simple act of giving a gift to someone else starts a chain reaction that the original gift giver isn’t even aware of. The recipient of your gift may decide to start giving to others. Then those people may decide to pay it forward, and the cycle can continue on and on (like the parable of the ripple of butterfly wings on the water). Negativity is contagious, but it turns out that positivity is, too!
In addition to all of these benefits, giving someone a gift is a wonderful way to show them you’re willing to be vulnerable so they know how much you care. That can be very meaningful and validating to the gift recipient.
What’s Included in Spoonful of Comfort Care Packages?
A soup-themed package is exactly what you’d like to receive if you were bedridden with the flu, grieving the loss of a loved one, or missing home. It’s not always easy to comfort someone who’s dealing with grief, illness, or frustration. When words are insufficient to tell someone how you feel, let a thoughtful care package do the talking for you.
A Spoonful of Comfort care package is full of delicious comfort foods that are just what the doctor ordered. Each ready-to-eat meal package includes the following:
- 6 scrumptious cookies (choose from 6 beloved flavors)
- 64 ounces of hearty soup (choose from 7 mouthwatering flavors)
- 6 hearty dinner rolls
- A personalized note card from you
- A shiny ladle
- Colorful packaging for an instant pick-me-up
You can also use optional add-ons to enhance your package and make it even better. Here are a few of the charming add-ons Spoonful of Comfort offers:
- A comforting throw
- Cozy socks
- Pure goat milk lip balm or hand cream
- Bake-at-home pie
- Raw honey and a dipper
- Herbal smudge kit
- Scented candle
- Necklace or bracelet
- Essential oils
- Healing After Loss book
All of these items are carefully selected to bring warmth, solace, and peace to the recipient’s life. They’re packaged up nicely in a brightly-colored box that can instantly cheer up a room and inspire excitement.
What Kind of Care Packages Does Spoonful Offer?
Spoonful of Comfort care packages aren’t just meant for those who are struggling in some way. They’re also perfect for saying “thank you,” “congratulations,” or “I really like you.” You can find a variety of care packages for practically every occasion imaginable—including sick days, birthdays, and regular days.
With over 30 different gift packages available, you have more than 30 amazing ways to show someone you care. Here are some of the top care package themes we offer:
- New Parent Care Packages
- Sympathy and Solace Care Packages
- Birthday Care Packages
- Just Because Gift Baskets
- Get Well Soon Gift Packages
- Thank-You Care Packages
- Housewarming Packages
- College Care Packages
- Employee Appreciation Packages
- Pregnancy Care Packages
If you’re sending a package to someone with dietary restrictions, Spoonful of Comfort offers specialty vegan and gluten-free soup package options. You can also click on the “Nutrition Label” selection for each food item in your customized care package to see what ingredients it contains.
No matter what the occasion may be, whether you’re celebrating an accomplishment or sharing in someone’s grief, a care package gift basket from Spoonful of Comfort is the most delicious way to show your love. Getting started is easy. Just select your preferred care package theme and start customizing your soup, cookie, and add-on options!