Care Package Interview: Tips from an Expert!

Care Packages and Correspondence Badge, Step 2

To complete Step 2 of the Care Package and Correspondence Badge we learned from an expert!

Inspired by her designs on Pinterest, we reached out to Rachel from Countdowns and Cupcakes to see if she’d talk with us about care packages. We were delighted that she agreed. She shared care package tips, tricks, and even some mishaps. You can watch a video of our talk with Rachel below. 

Rachel is the chief care package maker at Countdowns and Cupcakes. She has an Etsy store where you can buy pre-made decorations for your care package boxes and a beautiful Instagram full of inspiring photos and tips.

Rachel started making care packages for her partner when he was deployed. Watch our interview with Rachel below to learn more about sending mail overseas, the dos and don’ts of care package contents, and to learn more about Rachel!

Great Tips From Rachel

  • Care Packages make both the sender and the receiver feel good!
  • Use USPS Flat Rate boxes. They cost the same if going to Utah or Uganda. They are available at the post office or online.
  • If shipping to another country be sure to check the countries custom restrictions before shipping. You can find a list by country online.
  • Timelines for delivery during the holidays are much longer.
  • Don’t send things that melt (chocolate).
  • Beware of smelly things that can spread to other items in the package!
  • Consider these unique low cost items: photographs, local news clippings, thumb drives full of photos or video clip messages.
  • Send extras to share (with those who don’t receive care packages).

Rachel also kindly sent us some images of her care package designs. The top one is perfect for fall!

My friend Kristin, a woman known to send a great care package, also gave us some tips and insights. Kristin makes care packages when there is a special event like a birthday or new baby, a wedding, or if she notices that a friend is feeling a little under the weather and could use a pick me up. 

Kristin mentioned that care packages can be difficult because they can very easily and quickly become very expensive. To keep the costs reasonable, she likes to make a blend of small items anyone would like. Small items might be candy or a scented candle along with items that are specific to that person’s personality and the event/time.

Kristin also makes the most adorable mobiles with hand sewn felt animals (see photo to right). These can be hard to pack safely in a care package, but can be sent on their own.

Kristin also finds dressing up the box can be half the fun. She reminded me that this can make the package seem more special but doesn’t cost anything to do.

Kristin’s Care Package Ideas:

Send a care package to a loved one that can’t join you for a holiday. Christmas, Valentine’s, birthdays… anytime it would be nice to remind them of home.

For a friend who kept getting ear infections and then ended up needing surgery, she picked out items that were cozy things for around the house. She made her friend a felt blanket (by tying the ends), packed teas and popcorn (which she know was a favorite snack for when she’s feeling under the weather). She then added things like a DVD of a childhood movie that I knew she wouldn’t purchase or rent on her own but would enjoy watching all the same. To balance the package she added a magazine or a small game book (e.g., sudoku or a coloring book). 

Another great idea she had was for a spa day care package. For her sister’s bday one year she made a spa day package complete with bath salts, face masks, and even a little art for the bathroom! She stenciled leaves on a canvas. The art was simple and waterproof so it could be used in the bathroom.

Another care package she made was for someone who really liked movies, so she made it movie themed. She popped in a few cheap DVDs, added the type of candy you’d get in a movie theater (in a box!), included microwavable movie theater popcorn, and cut out movie reel picture and glued it to the box so when they open it all 4 of the flaps were decorated. She wrote a sweet message on the flaps… something like, “Since I can’t be there to sit with you and watch this movie…”

Kristin also reminded me that some care package attempts are great successes and some are less so. My favorite part of talking with her about this topic was that she shared a story about a time she attempted to make me a care package and failed! She said: “I made two things and they were so terrible I didn’t send them to you.” She described what sounded like an adorable painting of Utah (where she lives) and Michigan (where I live) with dots to connect the two states. Kristin said when she finished the states looked like blobs instead of states! She also made me a black squirrel out of felt – where I live in Michigan we have a TON of black squirrels. She said it turned out looking like a “deranged rat.” I wish she would have sent it to me anyway! I would have proudly displayed the deranged rat! 🙂

For a new parent/baby, purchase a few things on the registry and have them sent to your own house (instead of sending to theirs). You can then build the care package from there. Kristin has made cute and clever one-of-a-kind onsies for babies by painting things on them. Bonus points if you can work an inside joke onto the front of a onsie! Super soft blankets are also nice to include in new baby care packages.

Kristin told me that putting together care packages are a good creative outlet for her. She enjoys picking out the contents and fitting them together. The process allows her to “make things” when she normally wouldn’t have an excuse to do so.  

Huge thanks to both Rachel and Kristin for sharing their care package wisdom with us!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s