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College Care Package 101

Baking tips, mailing snafus and everything in between


Getting ready to mail a care package to your favorite college student or loved one far from home? Here's everything parents need to know, from baking to packing and mailing.

1. Mailing Tips

Wrapped parcel with string, scissors and stickers
Peter Dazeley/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images
The best care packages include baked goods, but finding recipes that are sturdy enough to travel can be a challenge. Between the lag time in the college mail room and the delay until your child finally gets around to reading the school's e-mailed announcement that there's a package waiting - and goes to pick it up - it can be days before those lovingly baked goodies are finally opened. Check out packing and mailing tips here.

2. The Perfect Package

Office Playground
Wondering what to pack? The best care packages are laden with cookies, whimsy and plenty of love. Here's a list of suggestions, from cozy socks to silly (but practical) toiletries and quirky gifts. And, of course, cookies.

3. A College Care Package Gift Certificate

Graduation gifts
Photo by Jackie Burrell
If you're looking for a perfect graduation gift, the promise of care packages adds charm and love to any gift. Tuck a couple of these DIY postcards - each redeemable for a college care package - into your favorite new graduate's gift bag, along with a laptop sleeve, for example, and a great college survival guide.

4. A Finals Week Package

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Finals week needs a different approach. Instead of sending cookies, which send blood sugar skyward, then crashing to earth, send a healthful assortment of things. This list of suggestions includes plenty of protein, complex carbs and fresh fruit to boost brain power

5. How to Host a Care Package Cookie Exchange

Courtesy Rose Design, Stock.Xchng Photos
When you host a "Care Package Cookie Exchange," you're not just getting pretty treats, you're socializing with friends going through the same empty nest/emotional leave taking. And for college kids, the box that eventually arrives on campus says it's not just you who misses him. It's the whole neighborhood. Here's how to host one.

6. Birthday Cakes & Dorm Deliveries

Photo courtesy of the University of Delaware
You may not be there for your child's first birthday away from home, but that doesn't mean you can't send a celebration. Here's the scoop on how to ship birthday cakes or arrange for a mascot visit.

7. A DIY Fleece Blanket

A DIY Fleece Blanket
Photo by Jackie Burrell
Help your college kid turn his dorm room into a cozy nest by whipping up this simple, fringed, DIY fleece blanket. It will keep him warm and cozy, and remind him of home. A fleece blanket is a great project for younger siblings to make too - and it offers plenty of calorie-free comfort when exams loom.

8. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

Jackie Burrell
Beat mail room delays by packing sturdy, long lasting baked goods and quick breads. A moist little loaf of pumpkin-chocolate chip bread will arrive looking - and tasting - as perfect as when it left.

9. Berry Blondies with Chocolate

Photo by Jackie Burrell
These berry-filled, chocolate-kissed blondies are just the ticket for college care packages. They're moist enough to delight, but sturdy enough to withstand the three or four day trek from your loving hands to college mail room and dorm.

10. Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Photo by Jackie Burrell
This sturdy, care package-perfect cookie packs plenty of chocolate punch, but it's also easily adapted for different holidays. Use white chocolate chips and candy corn for Halloween, mint chips for St. Patrick's Day, or dried cranberries for Christmas or Valentine treats.

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