Summer is winding down and it’s time to think about prepping for the school year once again. After a lengthy period of enjoying home-cooked meals and snacks on demand, residential students of all ages may experience bouts of homesickness for those creature comforts. We have several ideas to make the switch to dorm life easy, homey, and delicious with boarding school and university care package ideas.

harry & david gift basket

Boarding school beginnings

For many students attending boarding schools, this will be their first time living away from the structure and comfort of home. For parents, the shift to your kids being on campus may be fast-tracking your empty nest syndrome.

If either of you are missing the other before the suitcases are even packed, consider sending your child a care package to arrive after their first few weeks of school. It’s a simple yet thoughtful way of saying “I’m thinking of you,” with a selection of items you know they like.

For the eater who likes a little bit of everything, an assortment of sweet and salty, fruity, and chocolatey snacks will hit all the right notes. Packed in a fir-wood crate with an affixed mini chalkboard, this prepared gift basket becomes the perfect solution for desktop storage, giving the recipient a convenient place to tuck away books and school supplies when the snacks run out.

Is your student crazy about popcorn? Send a trio of classic flavors — butter, cheese, and caramel — with a personalized message or family photo to show you care.

College and university life

While moving away for school may be an adjustment for any undergrad who’s spent the last 18 years enjoying homemade meals and sensible snacks (not to mention free laundry), the shift from home life to dorm life can be a shock to the system for incoming freshmen.

To help ease your first-year college co-ed into living on their own, arm them with wholesome snacking options with a university care package, such as fresh fruit and classic cheeses, to keep their energy up for long days and late nights.

As the days grow shorter and nights grow cooler, it’s increasingly important your child gets the nourishment — both physical and emotional — they need. This array of easy-to-heat, homemade-inspired soups will help stave off those seasonal colds and midterm blues.

And for those weekends when you wish you could be there tailgating together, send a celebratory snack box that says “Go team!”

Make their dorm feel like home

It can be hard to make a dorm room feel like home, so sending your child some home décor should brighten their living quarters.

Home goods

Personalized items are a must. From welcome signs to wreaths to picture frames, there are lots of ways to add character to their little home away from home.


Since most dorm rooms and apartment complexes won’t let you paint the walls or hang picture frames, students have to find other ways to add some color to their bedrooms. (besides the usual movie posters). That’s where flowers come in! Even a small bouquet can add new life and a pop of color to any room.

University care package with pink flowers in a bouquet.


In addition to flowers, plants are a great way to inject some vitality into a living space, and they’re also helpful for maintaining good air quality. Even if your student doesn’t exactly have a green thumb, you can still find them an option that requires little maintenance, such as a succulent or cactus.


University care package with a journal on a table.

Ask any college graduate about their time in school and they’ll probably tell you it was “the best time of my life.” Keep the memories they make in college alive and with them forever by jotting them down in a gorgeous gold-accented journal. Bonus: They can write five years’ worth of thoughts in it, so in case they end up staying on campus an extra year, they’re all good.

Something cozy

Winter is only a few short months away, and the walk to class in the cold and snow is no easy feat. Make their journey a little easier by sending a comfortable pair of Good Day™ Socks. With their signature message of “Gonna Be a Good Day™” inscribed on the toe, you can bet these socks will always make them smile — even during finals week!  And if they’re attending school in a city where the temperatures read below freezing, get them something to keep them warm.

Spa gifts

Dorm bathrooms aren’t exactly known for their elegance. But the right shower products can turn even a communal bathroom into a relaxing oasis. After a hard day of tests and projects, treat your scholar to a little relaxation with a premier spa gift basket in a number of favorite scents.

If sending a care package has you envisioning long lines at the post office and packing peanuts everywhere, don’t fret — we’ll do the heavy lifting for you. The, Inc. family of brands offers nationwide shipping, including next-day delivery on many items. If you plan on sending care packages throughout the year, the Celebrations Passport gives members unlimited free shipping for 12 months for a low one-time fee.


Jenn Bussell has worked as a writer, editor, and communications strategist for more than two decades. She’s the co-author & editor of “Have Fork Will Travel: A Practical Handbook for Food & Drink Travel Industry Professionals” and a contributing writer to Centennial Media’s “The United States Presidents: The Best and Worst of All Time | 2020 Election Special.” In addition to writing about food & beverage, travel & tourism, and political history, Jenn also covers fashion and personal style. Her previous work includes a style column for the Washington Examiner and content creation for The Working Wardrobe.

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