1. Homemade Cookies
Chocolate chip cookies, molasses crisps, Devil's Food stuffed with peanut butter chips and toffee bits - a box of homemade cookies not only gladdens the heart and taste buds of students subsisting on dorm food, it makes them really popular with roommates too. Bake up a dozen or two of his favorite kind from scratch or grab a package of Nestles or Pillsbury refrigerated cookie dough at the supermarket and crank up the oven.
Brain freeze is an inevitable part of the college experience, and a common fear when midterms roll around. Stash an extra, inflatable brain in that care package and it should get a good laugh, at least. Plus, in the event of a zombie attack, an extra brain may buy your favorite college student a little extra time to get away.
6. "F in Exams"
We've all been there, faced with an impossible exam question as panic descends. But this book, subtitled, "The Very Best Totally Wrong Answers," celebrates the lighter side of failed exams with a collection of the most, er, creative, test answers ever. (The main industry in Persia? Why, cats, of course. Highest frequency audible noise? Mariah Carey.) Need more ideas for silly, funny books? Compare prices for Graduation Mad Libs, Zits and the online site-inspired "F My Life" by following these links.
Remember those Magic 8 balls? Let Dr. Freud's therapy ball answer those stress-filled questions - "Doctor, how will I do on my midterm?" - with non-committal replies, such as "Hmmm, how does that make you feel?" (Think Geek also offers a Magic Geek Ball version that answers questions with "Fail," "LOL" or "Meh.")
Toothpaste, vitamins and first aid supplies are no fun to buy on a frugal student budget, but they're essential so the occasional tube of toothpaste or box of floss is a welcome addition to any care package. Make it a tube of Spongebob Squarepants toothpaste, and you'll get a laugh. (Caution: children's toothpaste tends to be sickly sweet, so you might opt for a travel-sized tube and follow up with a large tube of the regular minty stuff.)
9. Cozy Socks
Snuggly chenille socks make studying that much cozier, always a help in the far-from-home environment of a dorm. Try a pair in soft pastels, argyles or Fair Isle patterns, or more manly shades.
10. Hometown Newspaper
Cross country championships, a profile of a beloved teacher or the latest scandal to hit your town - keep your child up to date by tucking the occasional copy of your hometown paper into the box. (Just don't go overboard - no one wants to read piles of clippings!) Or use the comics pages as entertaining stuffing to keep the contents from shifting.