Even grown-up kids get the homesick blues. Here's how parents of college students can pack the perfect care package, one laden with cookies, whimsy, and plenty of love.
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Chocolate chip cookies, molasses crisps, Devil's Food stuffed with peanut butter chips and toffee bits - a box of homemade cookies not only gladdens the heart and taste buds of students subsisting on dorm food, it makes them really popular with roommates too. Bake up a dozen or two of his favorite kind from scratch or grab a package of Nestles or Pillsbury refrigerated cookie dough at the supermarket and crank up the oven.
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DIY College Bookmarks
These whimsical little bookmarks go together in a flash, and they'll add pizazz to even the dullest textbook. They're infinitely customizable too. Use the college logo, a snippet of campus map or any quirky photo. A little Einstein for that physics book, perhaps?
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An Inflatable Brain
Brain freeze is an inevitable part of the college experience, and a common fear when midterms roll around. Stash an extra, inflatable brain in that care package and it should get a good laugh, at least. Plus, in the event of a zombie attack, an extra brain may buy your favorite college student a little extra time to get away.
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A cozy fleece scarf will keep your favorite college kid warm at any football tailgate, campus bonfire or chilly stroll through the quad, for about a buck and a half. And it requires zero sewing skills.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
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'Gloom,' a Hilariously Miserable Card Game
Board games make such great icebreakers for dorms that most college RAs keep a stash - Quelf, Apples to Apples and other great games - on hand. Gloom is a hilarious card game for grown-up Lemony Snicket fans, who compete to make their characters as miserable as possible. It's the perfect game for a pair of stressed-out roommates - or a quartet of them - to play, and it's sized just right to tuck in a care package.
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"F in Exams"
We've all been there, faced with an impossible exam question as panic descends. But this book, subtitled, "The Very Best Totally Wrong Answers," celebrates the lighter side of failed exams with a collection of the most, er, creative, test answers ever. (The main industry in Persia? Why, cats, of course. Highest frequency audible noise? Mariah Carey.) Need more ideas for silly, funny books? Compare prices for Graduation Mad Libs, Zits and the online site-inspired "F My Life"... by following these links.
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Dr. Freud's Therapy Ball
Remember those Magic 8 balls? Let Dr. Freud's therapy ball answer those stress-filled questions - "Doctor, how will I do on my midterm?" - with non-committal replies, such as "Hmmm, how does that make you feel?" (Think Geek also offers a Magic Geek Ball version that answers questions with "Fail," "LOL" or "Meh.")
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Ridiculous (But Practical) Toiletries
Toothpaste, vitamins, and first aid supplies are no fun to buy on a frugal student budget, but they're essential so the occasional tube of toothpaste or box of floss is a welcome addition to any care package. Make it a tube of Spongebob Squarepants toothpaste, and you'll get a laugh. (Caution: children's toothpaste tends to be sickly sweet, so you might opt for a travel-sized tube and follow up with a large tube of the regular minty stuff.)Continue to 9 of 11 below.
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Snuggly chenille socks make studying that much cozier, always a help in the far-from-home environment of a dorm. Try a pair in soft pastels, argyles or Fair Isle patterns, or more manly shades.
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Cross country championships, a profile of a beloved teacher or the latest scandal to hit your town - keep your child up to date by tucking the occasional copy of your hometown paper into the box. (Just don't go overboard - no one wants to read piles of clippings!) Or use the comics pages as entertaining stuffing to keep the contents from shifting.
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Anything that fits in a holiday stocking makes a great addition to a care package too, though you might want to swap out the Christmas boxer shorts for something less ... seasonal? Click here for more than a dozen great stocking stuffer ideas.