graduation gift ideas–part II: gifts you can assemble/make
I am fond of gifts that demonstrate thoughtfulness and ingenuity, and my all-time favorite graduation gift has all of that. A few years ago, I stumbled upon this idea somewhere online (I apologize for not being able to cite the source), and I have made it my own: the care package coupon.
I created a card that explains the rules of the game and asks for pertinent information: school address, school email address or cell phone number, goodie preferences. I give it to the recipient with an envelope addressed to me and a stamp already affixed. (In the United States, with postage rates constantly changing, it’s best to use a Forever stamp.)
What is unique about this gift is that it acts through a series of exchanges: you give the student the card, he takes it to school and later fills it out and sends it, and you then follow through on your end of the promise.
I use a medium-sized Priority Mail box from the post office–it can accommodate a shoe box across its width (which works great for packaging a 1-gallon Ziploc-bag’s worth of cookies) and can then be packed with other treats: licorice, bag of M&Ms, a copy of the hometown newspaper, a goofy frig magnet, and any other fun stuff that will fit. I email the student to let him know the box is in the mail and that he needs to check the campus post office in two days. I have fun creating the personalized package and the student enjoys receiving a special package in the mail, knowing someone from home cares about him.
As for other gifts you can assemble, here are some more ideas:
laundry kit–laundry basket, laundry bag, roll of quarters, detergent, stain remover, box of fabric softener sheets. Purel 3-in-1 laundry sheets are great for laundry newbies–they contain both detergent and fabric softener and are easy to use.
tool kit–in a tool box, stash a screwdriver, hammer, needle-nose pliers,
picture-hanging stuff, poster putty, adhesive hooks, flashlight and batteries. An LED headlamp flashlight is handy for studying in bed and not disturbing roommates.
first aid kit–in a small plastic box, include Band-aids, Neosporin, Aleve, Benadryl, tweezers, and a thermometer.
sewing kit–again, in a small plastic box, assemble little scissors, replacement buttons, needles, thread and safety pins. I used this tutorial to make a small traveling sewing kit for Daughter #1, but there are many clever ones out there.