How to create a student care package

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Kirsty Prankerd, from photography gifting and keepsake retailer Write From The Heart, shares her top tips on what to include in a care hamper for a student who’s living away from home during the pandemic. 

There’s no denying that 2020 has been a very strange year for everyone. But, I think it’s safe to say that it’s been especially challenging for younger people, particularly university students. For many students, the first year of uni is all about the social life, but lockdown restrictions have put a stop to parties, nights out, club meetings, and other rites of passage. It’s certainly not the sort of lifestyle that many students would have pictured when they applied to university last year. 

If you’re currently a bit worried about a child, relative or friend who’s living away from home for the first time, why not send them a personalised hamper full of goodies? Sending a care package is the perfect way to show them that you’re thinking of them, and it will ensure they have all the essentials they need if they’re currently living under lockdown restrictions.

In this article, I’ll share my tips for creating a care package that will make your loved one feel truly spoiled, as well as some advice on how you can make it feel really meaningful and personal. 

Find a beautiful box to use as a hamper 

Of course, you could just use an old shoe box or biscuit tin as the basis for your package — but if you want to make it feel like a real treat, you’ll need to find a beautiful box to send your goodies in. I would recommend choosing a wooden box or hamper, and possibly get it personalised it with their name, or even a family picture. This way, they’ll be able to re-use the box long after they’ve finished all the treats that were inside, and it’ll bring a smile to their face every time they see it. 

Sweet treats and indulgent drinks

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No care hamper would be complete without a selection of sweet treats and other indulgent foods, so you’ll definitely want to include a few of their favourite chocolate bars, and maybe a small bottle of their favourite alcoholic tipple too. If possible, look for mini versions of their favourite wines or spirits in plastic bottles, as these will be safer to send in the post. If they’re not a drinker, then some luxurious hot chocolate, tea bags, or coffee is sure to go down a treat.  

Include mix of everyday household essentials…

Students are often on a tight budget at the best of times, so they’re sure to appreciate it if you include a few everyday necessities in their hamper. Detergent, washing up liquid, cleaning products, and everyday foods like pasta, tinned soup, and instant noodles might not seem like the most exciting gifts to you, but for those on a student budget, they can be incredibly useful and practical. They will also love receiving anything that reminds them of the creature comforts they’ve left behind, like the same kind of detergent or fabric softener you use at home, for example. 

…And some luxury goodies

Living in halls can be quite a shock if you’re used to the comforts of living with mum and dad. But, sending some luxurious pampering gifts and homeware can make their new place feel more like home. You could send some high-end toiletries, a scented candle, a stylish mug, or even some cosy slippers — anything that will make them feel really spoiled. 

Vouchers and gift cards for essentials

If you really want to push the boat out, you could also include a gift card or voucher that your child or relative can use to spend on essentials. Book vouchers and online gift cards will help them cover the cost of their textbooks and other study materials, while supermarket gift cards and Amazon vouchers can go towards the cost of everyday household essentials and groceries. If they’re currently under lockdown at their halls of residence or student house share, be sure to pick cards and vouchers which can be redeemed online, so they won’t have to leave their accommodation to spend them. 

Make it personal 

While sweets, chocolate, and other goodies are sure to be a big hit, it’s not just about the gifts: it’s also about making sure your loved one knows how much you care. So, be sure to include a few personal elements to let them know you’re thinking of them. A framed photograph or photo collage of family snaps is a great gift idea for a homesick student, or you could even include some home-baked biscuits or cakes. These will feel all the more special because you’ve put that extra bit of thought and effort into them. 

Package it with care 

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Lastly, be sure pack up your hamper with care, so it looks stunning. There’s nothing like unwrapping a beautifully presented parcel full of all sorts of treats, so really take the time to arrange everything so it makes a great impression when the box is opened. If you’re including any fragile items, you can use shredded paper, packing peanuts, and tissue paper to keep all your gifts safe and secure. Finally, be sure to include a hand-written note or letter so they know who sent it to them. 

Leaving home for the first time can be stressful enough as it is, without the added pressure of a pandemic to deal with! You can help your loved one get through it by sending a self-care package full of the items I’ve suggested above. 

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