When a friend’s birthday rolls around and you can’t be together to celebrate, the next best thing is to bring the celebration to them with a birthday care package. Who wouldn’t love to find a happy birthday box at their doorstep? Care packages can be as fun and unique as the birthday person—the possibilities are endless.
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Show you know them with a just-for-them birthday care package.
The best way to get creative ideas is to focus on the birthday person. What are some of their favorite things? What are they into? What unforgettable memories do you want to remind them of? These thought starters might spark something for you:
1. Color-ific Care Package
Do they have a favorite color—maybe the colors of their school or favorite team? Fill a box with things of that color. You can start with one really special gift (like a scarf or candle), a star item with supporting players (like a mug and candies) or a bunch of fun little things (we love dollar stores and candy shops for this). Wrap each item in coordinating shades of tissue paper and tuck it all in a gift bag or wrapped box.
2. Hobbies They “Heart”
If they’re into sewing, you could pack a box with thread, fabric and other notions to inspire their next craft-venture. If they run, you could fill it with fun socks, mid- or post-run gels and snacks, accessories like race belts or safety lights and encouraging notes for their next race. If their gardening game is strong, send seeds, gloves, plant markers and other green thumb accessories.
3. Friends Forever
Been friends for a long time? Break out some vintage photos of the two of you and make a birthday care package that’s a blast from the past. Fill it with nostalgic snacks, a link to a retro playlist, a card that recounts your favorite memories together and maybe even some BFF jewelry.
4. In the Now
Each birthday finds us in a different place in our lives. Maybe your friend just had a big life change and needs some extra support. You might want to include things that bring them comfort, hope and encouragement. Maybe they just had a big win and they deserve extra celebration. Bust out the trophies, confetti and victory dance tunes.
If your friend can’t take that beach vacation they’ve been dreaming about, bring the beach to them. Include yummy-smelling sunscreen, a beach towel, sunglasses and maybe a postcard of their favorite ocean view.
6. Let’s Get Together
Maybe you can’t be in the same place on their birthday, but that doesn’t mean you can’t share some quality time. Start a shared journal that you can pass back and forth to keep a record of your lives and your friendship. Send a book you love, bookmarked with notes and highlights. They can send it back with their comments and favorite parts—it’s like a long-distance book club. If you’re feeling artsy, try a collaborative art or craft project and you can each add your special touch.
7. Local Love
If they’re proud of where they live, help them show off their love for their city or state with a box of their favorite locally made products, accessories and stickers. Another route you could take is to go nostalgic: Make a care package filled with reminders of good times in their hometown or college town.
Give a care package that makes a big deal of their special day. Grown-ups deserve to be celebrated, too. Turn up the fun factor with birthday-themed gifts.
8. Party in a Box
Give them everything they need to treat themselves—birthday style. Pack a cake mix, candles, party hat, birthday banner and don’t forget the birthday booze (mini bottles). Top it all off with confetti.
9. Make the Birthday Last
Unwrapping a gift is usually over in a hurry. Instead, make the care package unwrapping experience last a little longer. Tuck smaller packages inside of medium packages inside of bigger packages, like nesting dolls. Or if one day is just not enough to celebrate the special people in your life, celebrate their whole birth month with a card for every day or a calendar with a special message for each day. And if you want to build anticipation leading up to their birthday, make it a countdown with something for them to open each day with the most special gift on their birthday.
10. Scent-sational Celebration
Capture the scents of their birthday season. If it’s fall, you could include a pumpkin-spice scented candle or apple cinnamon tea. Maybe they’re into aromatherapy and essential oils. Choose scents that promote calm and relaxation or mood-brightening and energy-boosting.
11. Number the Ways
Age is just a number, but you can use that number to come up with special ways to mark the milestone. A 33rd birthday can be celebrated with a list of “33 Things I Love About You,” 33 pieces of their favorite candy or 33 wishes for the year ahead.
12. Birthday Time Capsule
Fill a box with fun facts about the year they were born. What was the hit song? How much was a gallon of milk? Who was the President? Include nostalgic treats or vintage finds from that era.
A care package should be fun inside and out. We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves for making that birthday box shine.
13. Inside Out
Switch things up by keeping the outside of the package plain and covering the inside with wrapping paper or fabric. It’s a little touch that adds that something extra.
14. Ship Shape
Fun fact: pretty much anything can be mailed through the USPS with the right postage, so feel free to think outside of the box and use unusually shaped containers for your care package.
15. Shellac Attack
Who doesn’t love a good collage? Mod podge pictures from magazines, photos, wrapping paper and other materials to make the inside of your care package a wild and wonderful work of art. Have a sticker stash you can raid? Turn the package into a junior-high-level sticker explosion.
16. Puzzle it Out
Use crosswords, word finds and sudoku puzzles to wrap the package. You could even challenge them to solve the puzzles before they open the package.
17. Festive Filler
Try these alternatives to bubble wrap or packing peanuts: tissue paper confetti, strips of paper with messages to the birthday person, feathers and mini pom-poms.
Not mailing the package? Make your care package a doorstop showstopper. You have extra options to go a little over-the-top (in a good way).
18. Party Over Here
Tie a helium balloon to the package so they can’t miss it when they open the door.
19. Band Together
Use a headband, friendship bracelet, bandana or other wearable accessory in place of a bow or ribbon.
20. Iconic Assembly
Wrap and stack or arrange boxes to create fun icons like a birthday cake or a cute critter.
21. Decked-Out Door
Hang streamers or ribbons to create a curtain over their door.
22. Birthday Blooms
Add a bouquet to the package and get creative: It could be flowers, but it could also be a bouquet of candy, craft supplies, gift cards, fruit or booze. If they’re more of a plant person, get them something that’s easy to care for.