I have a secret super power. No, it's not laser vision or the ability to fly—though that would be awesome—it's the power to put together a kick-butt care package. What's that you say? That's not worthy enough to merit super hero status? I believe my friends and family would beg to differ. In this era of instant, impersonal digital communication, nothing beats getting a good ol' care package (summer camp style) from a loved one full of goodies.
If you are interested in joining me in super hero status with your dearly beloved, click through to learn my tips and tricks . . . .
first tip | GET CRAFTY
I personally like to use care packages and holidays as an excuse to get my craft on. I am assuming you are equally crafty (you're reading this blog, right?) so this tip should be second nature for you. Whether it's something simple like a cute little sketch or more elaborate like a fun pop up card, add a special crafted gift to your package! These hints of your handiwork will really take your mailed gifts to the next level. Here, for my family valentine packages, I painted these tiny 3" canvases in fun colors with a hugs and kisses design using the craft paints I had on hand. Sweet, right?
second tip | EAT, PLAY, ENJOY
I also like to follow an informal rule of proportions for a care package, with the box divided in thirds according to activity . . .
eat | my go to is a batch of homemade cookies and a healthy dose of holiday-colored candy; wrap them up in clear bags sealed with some washi tape or a fun piece of ribbon. Delicious!
play | there is nothing more delightful than acting like a kid, even when your pile of bills puts you affirmatively in the adult column; I love adding packets of confetti (here heart themed, of course) and party blowers (what do you call those things?!) to tap into some much needed silliness; put the confetti in a vellum envelope and washi tape (plus a surprise message inside) on the blower. Instant fun!
enjoy | of course, no care package would be complete without a little gift inside; find a small token that you know the recipient has been eyeing (here a box of sea salt for my foodie sis-in-law) and pop it in. Delightful!
third tip | ALL IN THE (COLOR) FAMILY
Again, this may be obvious to those among you who join me in ultimate color nerdiness, but the key to a cool looking care package is picking a color palette and sticking to it. I facilitate this by stocking up on basic packs of tissue paper in bright colors whenever I come across them; this palette was inspired by a trip to the party store and Paper Source (both dangerous for me) where every display seemed to be covered with hot magenta and fire engine red. No need to match colors exactly here; if you pair wrapping materials in a similar tones it will look great!
fourth tip | PACK IT IN
Unless you are sending a bunch of really heavy things, I don't recommend using USPS flat rate boxes as they usually cost more than shipping via normal priority mail. Instead, spend a week or two before sending out your packages saving small cardboard boxes (Amazon book boxes—which I have a lot of, ha!—work perfectly) to repurpose. Line the box with a sheet of tissue paper as you would a shirt box (with tails on either long side) and fill the goodies in on top of it. This allows you to fold the flaps over at the end and facilitates the 'surprise' factor when your recipient opens it up. Cover up spaces in between goodies with some crinkle and top with a big bright card. Pro tip: if your box is just a little too big, either line it with crumbled up newspaper before putting in your tissue or stick a half-inflated ziploc bag on top as a makeshift 'air bag' to pad the box contents.
fifth tip | WRAP IT UP
Really want to put your box over the top? Get fancy on the exterior wrapping. Since the post office requires you to mark out all previous writing on recycled boxes, I usually wrap my entire box in butcher paper (this black roll was from Staples) as if it were a present, substituting scotch tape on the sides and bottom with heavy duty packing tape. Using black paper meant that I could practice my calligraphy skills with white ink but any colored matte ink could look cool here. If you don't have large rolls of paper on hand, you can also use brightly colored duct tape or packing tape or fun label sheets to decorate your box. You just want to communicate the joy of the goodies awaiting them inside and you can do that any way your heart desires!
So what do you think? Are you going to get your care package on sometime soon? Do you have any added tricks for the perfect present-by-mail? Let me know in the comments!