Care packages can obviously be super terrific. Putting them together can be endless fun, and who doesn't love getting a box of goodies in the mail? It is a fantastic way to show a loved one that you care. Unfortunately, fun as they are, care packages and gift baskets are often synonymous with junk. Inexpensive plastic items destined for the trash. Trinkets that are colorful but useless. Foods so processed and chemical laden that they aren't fit for consumption.
I don't think kindness has to be cheap and disposable.
Most of us desire the same things for our society--good jobs, fair pay, quality goods, and physical health. Unfortunately, the average gift basket promotes the exact opposite of these things. A majority of the things we include are imported, which typically means poorly made items we don't need. These are the types of things we throw out soon after--they've already broken or it serves little purpose. To add insult to injury the workers who made these are very often not paid a fair wage and work in poor conditions.
What if our care packages included consumer consciousness?
My care packages have around six small gifts for the recipient. That gives me six opportunities to shop small, support fair trade, and promote a healthy lifestyle. That's six chances I can financially support an ethically conscious company, a local artist, and responsibly sourced items.
And I get to surprise someone? It's a win-win.
This is what I put together as a birthday box for a cousin who is in college. I made purchases from four small businesswomen--two soapmakers, a health store owner, and the owner of a chocolatier. And included three fair trade items.
1. Printables. I downloaded these for free. A pretty Scripture print can be used as dorm room decor or a bookmark. You can also scour Etsy for instant downloads for just a few dollars. Find lots of free printables on my Pinterest.
Cost 36 cents (to print).
2. Fair Trade Organic Tea. Because you know your college student is consuming way too many sugar laden beverages as is. I knew an entire box of tea wouldn't fit in my box so I included a couple from my stash at home.
Cost 40 cents.
3. Locally made lip balm. I purchased this from a local health shop so I got to support both at once.Cost $2.50.
4. Fair Trade ring. There are all sorts of price points for fair trade jewelry and much of it is surprisingly affordable.
5. Locally made raspberry chocolate bar. I know this isn't health food but it is miles ahead of the junk food in most care packages. Dried fruit would be a healthy snack idea to include. You can find many dried fruits such as pineapple, mango, and banana certified fair trade.
6. Succulent. I potted this succulent from my yard in a quarter pint mason jar I had.
7. Lemon eucalyptus essential oil. Not all essential oils cost a fortune. This is a great way to freshen up a dorm room and helps keep your immune system in top shape.
8. Fair Trade note pad. This was markdown at Ten Thousand Villages.
9. Locally made four thieves lotion bar. This is a natural alternative to hand sanitizer that is also moisturizing. Cost $5.00.
10. Locally made lavender soap. This actually didn't make it to the birthday girl because the box ran out of room, so I am cheating a bit by including it. But it was handmade and made a great gift for my mom. :)
What do you love to get in the mail? Share your ideas below. :)