I am a girl who loves to send a care package (love to receive them, too!). Nothing excites me quite like picking out a bunch of "I hope this makes you smile!" items, packing them up, and mailing them to someone I love. Except, of course, for the actual packing and mailing part. See, I love to CONCEPTUALIZE care packages, and buy things for them, but I'm less into the logistical aspects. And, sometimes, I just can't seem to get it done at all.
So, I started to poke around to see if someone else was doing it for me. I envisioned a company making up and sending out care packages that could be customized, little gifts that would let my family or friends know I was thinking of them, without my ever having to do so much as find my packing tape. And there are a number of these companies, so I thought I'd build a list (because if there's something I love as much as a care package, it's a list) for my own reference, and for your information. This is what I found:
Carepackages.com: Focused on packages for college students, including specialty packages for holidays and themed packages like "healthy options" and "graduation." Packages range in price from $20-$85 (and a few non-college student centered options are included) plus S&H. Most packages seem to consist largely of name brand junk food.
GourmetGiftBaskets.com: The care package section of the site features various food-based care packages for intended recipients including college students, service members, and children away at camp. Packages range from $34.99-$59.99, plus S&H. Focus of most is on junk/snack food, though the children's options also include games, toys, and art materials. The rest of the site, however, includes gift baskets for every imaginable intended recipient, from "mini-baskets" for under $25 through huge executive gift hampers for up to $250.
Care4Troops: Though the focus is on care packages for service members, there are also options for college students and friends and family members. Packages start at $28 and go up, and there are options to design your own packages. Items available include candy, snack foods, and small toys/gifts. S&H is included in package prices.
Ultimate Party Animal Package from Custom Care Packages, $37.79
Custom Care Packages: This Utah-based company focuses on care packages for students, military members, and missionaries, as well as a few corporate offerings. Packages range from $15.49-$62.66, plus S&H, with various add-on options also available. The usual candy and snack options are included, as are a variety of homemade baked goods. A "party animal" package also includes party fixings like streamers, a mini pinata, balloons, and a mini disco ball.
Get Well Sooner Care Package from Hip Kits, $49.97-$59.97
Hip Kits: Hip Kits is another company focused on care packages for college students. Packages are available for holidays, exams, or "just because." Prices range from $19.97-$73.97, plus S&H, with most packages available in two sizes and at two price points. Again, the packages are largely junk food-based, but other options are also available, including a healthy snack options package, a "pampering" package, and a "now what??" graduation survival package.
Beyond Bookmarks: Affiliated with Hip Kits, Beyond Bookmarks offers the same types of packages, but also has offerings for kids at camp, service members, and corporate recipients.
Care Package Cafe: Once again, focused on college student care packages, mostly of the junk food variety. Prices range from $39.95-$49.95, plus S&H. They do offer two "healthy snack" options.
Mommy's Hospital Overnight Bag Care Package from Minimus, $39.95
Minimus: Minimus has the most extensive offerings I found. They offer packages, called kits, in categories as broadly ranging as Baby & Family, Camp & Outdoors, Romance, Office & Work, and "The Bachelor Guy." Prices are extremely wide-ranging, from a few dollars for basic shaving/toiletry kits to several hundred dollars for train cases full of fancy toiletries. It seems you can find almost anything here. Some of my favorites include the Office Survival Kit (how great as a congratulations present for someone with a new job!) and the Al Naturale Mom-To-Be Kit (maybe as a gift for a pregnant lady about to go into labor?). They also offer an impressively wide variety of military-specific kits and really cool looking care-package-of-the-month clubs for college students and service members.
Movie Break Package from Semper Finest, $46
Semper Finest: Semper Finest is intended for sending care packages to Marines and other members of the military serving overseas, and also has options for overseas service members to send care packages to their families at home. Packages range from $30-$67, plus S&H, and can also be customized. Offerings are not all food based, with packages including a "Just for Girls" self-care package for deployed women and the heartbreaking "You're a Dad!" package for men whose children are born while they are overseas.
Package To Go: Package to Go is another site focused on care packages for college students. Packages are available on themes or "just because," and most are snack/junk food. Prices range from $35.50-$69.50 and include USPS Priority Mail shipping.
Show Ya Care: Show Ya Care offers packages for college students, campers, and service members, as well as "baby and home" and "just because" packages and seasonal offerings. Prices range from $38-$49.99 and include shipping. Most of the packages are the same type of junk/snack food offerings found elsewhere, but also include small toys, games, and other items.
Sealed with a Kiss (SWAK): SWAK focuses on packages for kids at summer camp. They offer ready-made packages from $25-$62, or customers can build their own for $35-$100. Shipping starts at $11.95/package. Most packages are NOT food based, but rather include toys, games, kids' beauty products, art supplies, etc.
My Care Package: My Care Package offers packages for campers, college students, and wedding guests. Packages range from $51-$69 for campers, with other offering priced not listed on the site. The packages shown on the site are not food based, but rather include toys, art supplies, etc.
Detox-O-Box from Box-O-Box, $49.99
Box-O-Box: Billing itself as "the world's greatest care package," Box-O-Box focuses on college student packages. Themes include "Movie Night," "Pamper Yourself," and "Detox-O-Box," and seasonal boxes are also available. Prices range from $39.99-$59.99 plus S&H and are largely food-focused, though they do include other things as well.
Camp Pacs: Camp Pacs focuses on packages for campers, with options ranging from $35-$50, plus S&H. There are also smaller, $10 packages available for your child's bunkmate(s) and/or counselor(s). Each care package is customized by age, gender, favorite colors, and likes and dislikes of the camper. There is also an option to create your own package.
The Wrinkled Egg: This one gets my award for most innovative company name! The Wrinkled Egg offers both pre-built and fully customizable packages for students and campers ranging from $35-$100, plus S&H, as well as the option to build your own package. The camp packages are full of toys, games, and supplies rather than snacks.
Old MacDonald Welcome Wagon from All About Gifts & Baskets, $105
All About Gifts & Baskets: This site offers snack-based care packages for college students and service members, ranging in price from $25-$75 (plus S&H), and also has a few less common options, including pet gift baskets ($40-$65), housewarming gift baskets ($39-$112), and tons of new baby gift basket options ($30-$195).
Care Package XPress: This is a service intended for campers or college students, featuring mostly snack-based packages. Packages range from $36.95-$46.95, plus S&H. One thing I noticed that was interesting was the offer of a gluten-free and kosher package.
Giddy Gift Box: Giddy Gift Box offers care packages for students, campers, and soldiers, as well as general boxes for men, women, kids, and families. Prices range from $9.99-$49.99, plus S&H, with the option to design your own package or add to existing ones. Most packages are snack-based, but the site does offer a few non-snack options.
Baskets by Rita: Baskets by Rita offers mostly care packages for professionals and guests, including a Bar Exam Care Package and a Tax Relief Gift Basket. Most are snack-based, but the caliber of the snacks is a bit higher than the college student-focused services. Prices range from $30-$69, plus S&H.
Kosher Care Packages: This company offers kosher options for all the typical care package types, including students, campers, and corporate recipients. They also do gift baskets for holidays and events and allow custom packages. Prices range from $25-$150 plus S&H. Some packages are available only in the US, others only in Israel.
Korean Japchae - Sweet Potato Noodle Dinner Kit from Destination Dinners, $35
Destination Dinners: These aren't typical care packages--Destination Dinners send packages called "Recipe Kits" of instructions, shopping lists, and pre-measured spices and specialty ingredients to help you create meals from around the world, with offerings as diverse as Korean bulgogi, Lebanese kibbeh bil-saneeyeh, and Creole-style jambalaya from New Orleans. The kits cost $30 each (plus S&H) and make enough for 6-8 adults. They also offer "Dinner Party Kits," which combine the recipe kits with flatware, table settings, and/or cooking utensils. These range from $40-$75, plus S&H.
Pleasant Surprises: Pleasant Surprises offers gift baskets more than care packages, but really, what's the difference? They have baskets for all manner of intended recipient, with prices ranging from $34.95-$169.95, plus S&H. The baskets feature a lot of slightly higher-end food items, as well as mugs, tea pots, and other small gifts.
Cherry Moon Farms: A general gift site, Cherry Moon Farms has an extensive collection of gift basket/care packages for all types of recipients. Prices range from $19.99-$129.99, plus S&H, and include higher end snack foods, fruits, cheeses, coffee and tea, and spa products.
Bath & Body Invigoration Basket from Gift Tree, $29.95
Gift Tree: Gift Tree is another gift site with a large number of basket offerings. Baskets range from $19.95-$899.95, and are intended for both personal and corporate gifting. Two that appealed to me were the Bath & Body Invigoration Basket, featuring Burt's Bees products and the Sweet Nostalgia candy basket, packaged in a retro lunch box.
1-800-Baskets: This is the gift basket arm of 1-800-FLOWERS, and they have a wide variety of baskets available in prices ranging from $19.99-$229.99. There are a lot of typical offerings--fruit, cheese baskets, etc, but also a few interesting things, including the New Baby Gift Pail Solution Station and the Award Winning Stubbs® Authentic Barbecue Gift Set.
Art of Appreciation: Art of Appreciation offers gift baskets for individuals and corporate giving, with a wide range of price points. There are baskets for children ($19.99-$69.99), teens ($19.99-$49.99), and adults ($19.99-$149.99). Gift baskets include the typical snacks, teas and coffees, etc.
Marathon Runner Gift Basket from Well Baskets, $79.99
Well Baskets: Well Baskets offers "healthy" gift baskets for recipients including children, college students, and various types of adult. They have international theme food baskets ($35-$95), baskets intended for cancer patients ($39.95-$165), and an extensive selection of vegetarian and vegan baskets ($15-$425). Some unique offerings I noticed were the baskets for marathon runners ($55-$175) and the memory enhancement basket, which features foods thought to contribute to memory.
Nikki's Gift Baskets: Like the other gift basket sites, Nikki's offers a variety of baskets, for many types of recipients and occasions. Prices range from $19.99-$94.99, plus S&H. Many baskets are snack-based, others include baby clothes, bath supplies, etc.
Home Away From Home Care Package from Organic Stores, $49.98
Organic Stores: Organic stores offers a selection of gift baskets for babies, kids, pets, and adults (many of which are not made up of organic products, which seems strange). Prices range from $24.98-$137.79 (plus S&H). Most of the offerings looked pretty typical, but I did like the Home Away From Home care package, featuring laundry supplies as well as as snacks, and the Family Game Night care package, which includes snacks and games.
Carepackage.org: A bit different than the others on this list, but I couldn't leave it out. This site allows you to build a virtual care package for woman in need somewhere around the world. There are options to build individual or group packages, with contents including training health care workers, buying school supplies, and providing food assistance.