What to Put in a College Care Package - 16 Best Ideas for College Students

Article by BlissLights LLCMon, Apr 04, 22
stacked boxes with paper tag reading "just for you"

Although college can be an exciting adventure for the soon-to-be-student in your life, sometimes, being so far away from home can get lonely. Nothing about dorm life particularly feels like home without some comforting decorations, and there’s still nothing like a gift from Mom or Dad. Care packages for college students can be both these things—they’re almost like being there with your loved one in person. Below, learn what to put in a college care package.

What is a college care package?

A care package is essentially a box filled with a college student's favorite goodies. To create your own student care package, start with a roomy, empty box. Then, you can choose a theme for your package or add any random items that you know will make your loved one smile. Seal it shut, then ship it off and envision the joy you’ll bring to a dorm room far away.

The key to a heartwarming care package is to include thoughtful gifts that will make your favorite student feel loved and appreciated. It can also help to think about what you would’ve liked to get from a parent or loved one when you were in college. Maybe that means fun gift ideas like mood lighting or more practical things like money for groceries, new clothes, or cleaning supplies.

What do you write on a college care package card?

After filling your box with goodies, there’s one final step to completing your care package. Placing a handwritten card inside the box adds an emotional touch to your gift and makes it that much more meaningful.

But what do you include in your letter? The key is to write from the heart. Your message doesn’t need to be pages long; rather, a simple “thinking of you” or “I miss you” is a great start. Adding another line or two will go a long way.

notecard with heart

What do you put in a college care package?

Below are some college care package ideas that your friends and family members in college might love.

1. Laundry supplies

After living at home all their lives, some undergraduates might do chores on their own for the first time in their college dorm. Maybe they don’t remember everything they need for these chores. To help them out, fill your care package with laundry essentials. Laundry detergent, dryer sheets, and fabric softener can save your loved one a trip to the store and provide them with dozens of free washes.

woman loading laundry into washing machine

2. Gift cards

Once your kids are off at college, you can’t exactly keep track of their changing interests. You also can’t keep track of their expenses and spending habits. A gift card can be a huge help here, whether for a supermarket in the area or a video game store nearby. Gift cards for coffee, restaurants, or clothing stores might be well-appreciated too.

3. Blankets and slippers

If you’re thinking of creating a themed box, you can keep things simple with a cozy vibe. After all, many items can fit this theme, though college students might especially enjoy a nice pair of slippers or a cozy throw blanket. If you want to go the extra mile, top off the gift with a scented candle or one of their favorite movies.

woman drinking tea with gray plaid blanket

4. Reusable water bottles

For students who are constantly on the go between classes, the gym, and friends’ dorms, hydration may be the last thing on someone’s mind. Single-use plastic water bottles from the convenience store aren’t quite the solution—their costs add up over time, and they’re bad for the environment. That’s why a reusable water bottle is a great choice for a college care package. Your loved one will more than likely use it on a daily basis, and it’s healthy for both them and the earth.

reusable water bottle

5. Board games

For new college students living in dorms, a board game can be a great way to break the ice and meet new friends. That makes them great choices for care packages. Try to find a board game meant for big groups – the more people, the better. If you find that your package has extra room, send them everything they need for a full game night. That means a few games plus your loved one’s favorite snacks and a deck of cards.

board game

6. A personal note

Although usable presents are always nice, a personal note can be the greatest gift of all. A heartfelt note can make college students feel closer to home, especially if you share some details about how things are going over by you. Feel free to write about what you’ve been up to lately, so your loved one feels in on your life. Knowing that you’re doing well and that you care about them is a gift unlike any other.

blank notecard

7. Their favorite snacks

When finals draw near, many college students might begin to feel over-stressed. With little time for things other than schoolwork, your loved one will probably be grateful for a care package full of quick snacks and drinks. They can always just grab something easy from the box to get them through the hectic week. Items such as dark chocolate, nuts, or coffee, for example, are known as “brain food” that can be great for studying.

packaged chips

8. Stress relievers

Beyond a bunch of favorite snacks during finals week, a great care package includes actual stress relievers. These items come in so many forms, ranging from lotions and candles for a relaxing day off to putty and classic stress balls. A soothing scent or a few stress ball squeezes can release tension and get your loved one back on track for any project.

9. Hot cocoa

Hot cocoa is the perfect cold-weather drink – it’s sweet, it’s warm, and it’s easy to make in dorms, apartments, or any other home. Plus, with so many flavor options to choose from, you can easily surprise your loved one with a new take on a classic brew. To go the extra mile, pair the hot cocoa with a cute mug, tiny marshmallows, or some holiday decorations to pair finals with holiday cheer.

hot cocoa

10. Skincare items

In college, when students are constantly dealing with stress and lack of sleep, their skin can show it. Good skin care products can help keep skin healthy, fresh, and appearing stress-free. Sending your loved one a few skincare products can help them look their brightest even at their most tired, and that’s a true gift. Plus, college students who aren’t exactly flush with spare cash might not have the money for skincare. Affordable cleansers, moisturizers, and serums can do wonders without affecting their wallets.

woman applying eye masks

11. Shower caddy

Dorm life means shared showers – as in, not leaving shampoo and body wash behind to take up space for someone else. A shower caddy is the answer here for your loved one. It’s easy to carry, and it’s how college students make sure they and only they are using their products. You can include a loofa, soap, shampoo and conditioner, and a few razors if you want to ensure their caddy is fully stocked too.

12. School supplies

If you’re sending care packages around the new school year, now is the perfect time to include supplies. That’s especially true if the person getting your package tends to buy their school supplies after, not before, starting classes. This year, you can take the initiative and keep them well-stocked for their first day of school by sending them notebooks, pencils, and a planner, especially if your student likes to take notes by hand.

college supplies

13. College-branded clothing

Buying clothes for others can be risky if you don’t know their style. However, you can’t go wrong with buying clothes that represent the university. A simple t-shirt with the university’s logo is great for college game days or as an everyday shirt. Try to aim for clothing that’s more simplistic so that, as trends and seasons change, your loved one can continue representing their school.

14. A book

Although college students spend much of their time working through textbooks, reading can still be a pleasure too. They’re great for the train back home or staying entertained indoors on a rainy weekend. They can also be great to enjoy during a study break. If your loved one has a favorite author, sending them that author’s newest book is nearly certain to please.

an open book on a bed

15. Ambient mood lighting

Dorm rooms aren’t exactly the most inspiring atmosphere. Barren walls in a pale white shade, glaring overhead lights – nothing about it welcomes artistry, let alone guests. And that brutal fluorescent bulb above can lead to headaches while studying. You can change that with ambient mood lights that fit right atop your loved one’s desk, dresser, or nightstand. These lights can change colors and effects to set the right mood for studying, lounging, or so much more.

The BlissRadia is a great example – it’s compact, but it can completely transform any more. It diffuses colorful, gentle lighting, and your college student can change things up right from their phone or via voice control. They can instantly switch from soft red during a movie night to purple for creative projects. Or they can just sit back, relax, and watch the effects to take themselves miles away mentally, all without leaving their dorm.

blissradia smart ambient mood light in grassland green
blissradia is an led ambient light with app control that shines in multiple colors

BlissRadia Smart LED Mood Light


From desktop to bedside, light the way to concentration, stimulation, or relaxation.

Bring light into a student’s life with BlissLights

The best care packages include gifts that last well beyond college. BlissLights’ color-changing mood lights and LED strips, for example, instantly transform dorm rooms, off-campus apartments, and full-on homes. They give the gift of your presence and thoughtfulness – not to mention immersive lighting – today, tomorrow, and long after. Browse the BlissLights collection now for care package gifts that make college feel like home.

About BlissLights

BlissLights has been a leader in the laser lighting industry since the company was founded in 2006. Our team of experienced engineers and technicians helped create award-winning special effect lighting for major theme parks before minaturizing ourpatented technology for home use. BlissLights is dedicated to laser safety and education, and is registered with the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH).

View all articles by BlissLights LLC

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