Food care packages don’t have to be just for friends and family in the military. We’ve got Christmas care package ideas for students and other loved ones!
The holiday season is a time for togetherness: time for families and friends to unite and share joy, goodwill and camaraderie. And for a loved one who can’t be there with everyone, it can be a lonely time.
Maybe you have a family member in the military, or a college student who can’t get away. Or maybe you’re the one who can’t be there with everyone else, and you want them to know you’re thinking about them. Sending a heartfelt care package—especially one containing food—can help make up for the distance and bring friends and family closer together for the holiday season. We’ve got some Christmas care package ideas that will hopefully inspire your holiday shopping (and make it easier!).
Food Care Package Ideas
If the holidays are about time spent with family, they’re equally about food. Whether it’s a tray of cookies for carolers or a tree-trimming party, a traditional dinner with ham as the centerpiece, or a hearty Christmas morning breakfast, food is the catalyst that brings people together in celebration.
There’s also a scientific reason food is one of the best Christmas care package ideas: the senses of smell and taste are closely linked to memories and emotions. Everyone has fond memories of a special dish at Grandma’s, and the tiniest taste can trigger those memories and the emotions associated with them. The sense of smell influences taste more than any other, and it’s been proven that smell (via olfactory nerves from the nose to the brain) is the most direct route to the limbic system: the part of the brain where memories and emotions reside. This is the reason aromatherapy works.
So what kinds of food should you send? Well, that depends…Here are some food care package ideas for different people on your list:
College students: If there’s one thing college kids love to do, it’s snacking. Whether they’re cramming for exams, relaxing with Netflix or moving from class to class, snacks are king at college. Include items such as:
…and since college students almost never treat themselves to indulgent desserts, give them one they don’t have to cut and is easy to nibble at or share: petits fours.
Healthy/active people: People who exercise love to snack, too—and their higher metabolism lets them snack more! Just remember that they will appreciate healthy snack options: things like trail mix or dried fruits. And remember to honor specific dietary needs, like sugar-free or gluten-free desserts.
Families: If you’re the one who’s far away and can’t get together with your loved ones, send a gift of food with your best wishes to help them remember you as they enjoy the usual holiday activities. An assortment of nuts and snacks as listed above will get them through the traditional tree-trimming party. Send an assortment of breakfast gifts so everyone can awake to those great aromas for gift opening on Christmas morning. Or if you really want to make an impression, they’ll save you an honorary seat at the table when you send the holiday ham for everyone to enjoy!
USPS Military Care Kit
No, we haven’t forgotten about our heroic men and women in the armed services. In fact, we have an entire article dedicated to care packages for soldiers (and sailors, airmen and Marines), and a category of gifts suitable for sending APO/FPO as military gifts. Read up on great military Christmas care package ideas and guidelines…and remember that the United States Postal Service offers free shipping supplies to help support the troops!
Cheese and Wine Gift Baskets
We all know the person who loves the finer things—and loves to share them through entertaining. What better than a care package to help them put on a wine and cheese party?
Of course, sending wine in the mail is not something a lot of us can do. There are online wine clubs and merchants with the proper licensing who can do it, but that’s a little outside our realm. That’s OK, though…because there are plenty of “just add wine” Christmas care package ideas that will do just fine.
If you know the kind(s) of wine your giftee prefers, let that determine what kind(s) of cheese to add to the care package. To help you in your wine and cheese pairing quest, our friends at Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board have a handy tool called Wisconsin Cheese Cupid.
You’ll find that Cheddar cheese goes with almost anything, and Swiss cheese provides an excellent contrast in both taste and appearance. (Plus, both are superb with Christmas ham, either at the table or with leftovers.)
Speaking of meat, summer sausage is a fine complement to cheese and wine gift baskets, and belongs in any care package for the wine and cheese party. To make it super-easy, pick an ready-to-give assortment from a selection of meat and cheese gifts, toss in a cheese board and slicer to make serving easy, add a nice wine opener or aerator, and include a gift card to a wine shop in your giftee’s area.
A cheese and wine gift basket is just one of many Christmas care package ideas that will make the holidays merry and bright for someone even when you can’t be there.