Can I tell you a story?
My husband’s favorite candy is a peanut butter cup and unfortunately, because of my severe nut allergy, he can’t have them at home. So when he’s deployed or TDY, he likes to indulge in them. Being the excellent and supportive person that I am, I immediately chose to send them in my husband’s first care package. I figured I nailed this whole military girlfriend thing. Score!
When I asked him how his care package was, he hemmed and hawed a bit before telling me that they were good, but had almost completely melted by the time they made it to him. A night in the fridge helped them solidify, but they were essentially one giant peanut butter cup.
It wasn’t quite what I had in mind. It was my first care package and my first care package blooper.
I quickly learned some valuable lessons about care packages. Chief among them: care package bloopers are going to happen, but you can do a few things to reduce their effect.
Care Package Bloopers
I sent hard maple candies in a box to my husband, and they melted and burst out of their package in transit. They were stuck to the box by the time he got them. – Amanda, Away We Run
Sent a bag of Almond Joy bites and Dove chocolates in a package to the deployed submarine. Not only had the bites all melted into a ball, but the Dove wrapper said on the inside, “promise yourself more moments like this.” Not exactly what hubs wanted to hear! – Kara, Kara Ludlow
Poor Amanda and Kara experienced the same thing I did: most candy is no match for the heat of a summer in certain parts of the world. Some people say to freeze chocolate or other meltable candy before shipping, but honestly, that doesn’t really help. I’ve yet to find a way to get chocolate overseas without it melting, no matter what time of the year it is. Consider sending chocolate-flavored items (hot cocoa mix, cake or brownie in a mug) instead of chocolate itself. If you are going to send something that melts, definitely put it in a plastic baggie (or even a plastic food storage container) so the mess is contained. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of candy bursting out of their package before!
Crushed crackers! – Sue
You know all the love and care you put into your care package? Yeah, not everyone else treats it with that same level of attention. No matter how well you pack your box or how sturdy it is, it’s entirely possible for items to be crushed during shipping. Keeping things in their original boxes (like a sleeve of crackers) can help, although it’s not 100% effective. Keep heavier items on the bottom of your box and nestle more fragile items in between things that will protect them. But ultimately, your care package’s fate is in someone else’s hands.
I packed cookies in the same box as a few bars of Irish Spring. After who know how long in the heat, hubs ended up with minty soap tasting cookies. – Alejandra, Three Little Ferns
Any time you send something with a strong scent, there’s the possibility it can leak into other items, especially food. I will always advocate shipping toiletries like soap in a completely different care package than edible items, but if you have to ship them together, double bag everything. Keep the soap in the original packaging (including the plastic wrap that covers the outside) and put it in at least one plastic baggie, if not two. Package edible items in a similar fashion to avoid the scent seeping into the softer materials.
The first time I sent hubs some cookies, they arrived hard as ROCKS….he nearly broke a tooth on them. He said, please, next time just send store-bought. – Casey
Homemade baked goods are just as tricky as chocolate when it comes to care packages. While I’m all for avoiding preservatives, they’re in pre-packaged food for a reason: ensuring freshness. Very few Pinterest-popular tricks (cakes in canning jars, individually wrapped cookies or a slice of white bread on top of brownies) are a match for the long shipping times care packages face. I know it’s really tempting to send your loved one homemade cookies or their favorite bread, but if it arrives and is inedible, it’s even worse than not getting it at all. Definitely stick to store-bought items!
A friend sent an iPod (this was a long time ago) with naked photos of herself on it to her husband in Afghanistan… and the iPod never got to him. God only knows where those pictures are! – Jennifer
Ok, first off, no judgment here whatsoever. If sending racy photos to your loved one is your jam, go for it. But here’s why it may not be the greatest idea in the world: you never know who will end up holding those photos. Unfortunately, items go missing from care packages more often than we’d like to think. Something clearly valuable like an iPod may be the first thing to disappear. Never send anything in a care package that you’ll be a) devastated not to get back or b) mortified if someone else saw it.#carepackage bloopers are real life. Here's how to fix some of the most common ones. Click To Tweet
Let’s be honest here: bloopers are real life. Perfection may look nice on Instagram, but it’s not actually how any of us go through our lives, including when we send care packages to our loved ones. So whether crushed crackers or leaking toiletries are your problem, give yourself a break, learn from your blooper and fix it for next time!
Have you ever had a care package blooper? Share it with me below!
Want even more care package ideas? I’m giving away 165+ ideas (plus what to put in them) here.