The classic care package was all about the foods we call home.
A stash of Mom’s chocolate-chip cookies or Grandma’s pickled carrots could transport us from wherever we were—summer camp, a university dorm, a term abroad—right to the kitchen tables where we grew up.
Now that it’s my own son that goes away to camp for two weeks, I find myself at a bit of a loss when it comes to the care package for which he hinted heavily before leaving. Because of concerns about food allergies, and, I’m sure, keeping critters out of cabins, we’re not allowed to send homemade baked goods or any other food items. That’s a good policy, I think. My own son has a peanut allergy and I don’t want him inadvertently eating a cabinmate’s peanut-laced cookies from home.
Still, without favourite snacks, what goes inside a care package, especially if you want to avoid a lot of dollar-store junk that’s sure to hit a landfill before too long?
I feel like this would be easier if I had daughters instead of sons, though who knows. (Sometimes I’m guilty of romanticizing that mother-daughter stuff.) Still, I can’t help but think I would send a preteen daughter easy-to-ship non-food items like personal care products, hair accessories, a beaded bracelet, a pretty notebook, etc.
With our son, well, we’re hopeful he’ll crack open the toiletries we sent him with and perhaps brush his teeth more nights than not. As for notebooks for writing home, let’s just say that I optimistically sent him with a slightly crumpled self-addressed-stamped-enveloped rescued when unpacking his camp stuff two years ago.
Anyway, here’s what I came up with for this year’s care package:
A tiny magnetic chess board and a word search pad, both $1.99 on sale at my local stationary shop.
A little foam “indoor boomerang,” which was less than $3.
I figure he’ll be running out of clean ones about now.
If you’ve got kids in camp, do you send care packages? If so, what do you put in them? I’d love to steal your ideas for next year.
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