Your young adult may be long past the days of "B Mine" Valentine cards and chalky candy hearts, but that doesn't mean you can't send your college kid a little Valentine happiness in a box. It's not just a box of sweet Valentine treats and surprises, it's a little long-distance love and support too - and that's sweeter than any chocolate. So here are a few ideas for what to tuck in that Valentine's Day care package:
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A heart-shaped box of any size will please any Valentine, of course. Go the classic See's route, or choose high-end truffles if your kid is a gourmet chocoholic. Or, grab a heart-shaped box at the craft store, line it with food-safe tissue or parchment paper, and fill it with red and white M&Ms.
Tip: Most grocery stores carry baking parchment paper in the foil and baggie section, and the Container Store, Sur la Table and many foodie boutiques carry tissue paper that's intended for... wrapping food.
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Valentine's card with a gift card enclosed
Get a mushy - or funny - Valentine card and tuck in a gift card for iTunes or Starbuck's, or send a prepaid Visa card and let your young adult choose how he or she would like to spend your gift.
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Coloring book and colored pencils
Relaxing activities can be hard to come by living in a dorm or with multiple roommates, so a coloring book and colored pencils can be just the thing to distract and calm a frenzied college student.Continue to 5 of 15 below.
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Earbuds or Headphones
A new set of earbuds or headphones can only enhance the relaxation experience. Everyone can use an extra set or two to keep in a backpack, a handbag or a nightstand drawer.
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Home baked treats
Send your young adult a delicious reminder of home by baking his or her favorite treats and sending in a Valentine's Day package. Make sure to bake enough to share with friends, since most college kids miss home cooking.
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Framed family photo
Your young adult probably has lots of photos on his or her smartphone and maybe a few hanging on the walls, but why not send a photo in a beautiful frame of your family? It will be a nice reminder of home and the people that love him or her.
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Framed pet photo
Depending on your college kid, a photo of the family pet may be even more beloved than one of the family.Continue to 9 of 15 below.
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If your young adult is a night owl who studies until all hours, a book light makes a great gift, especially for those who are sharing a dorm room. Burning the midnight oil is easier with one of these.
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Stinky dorm rooms are always a problem for college students. Two people in one room makes it a challenge to keep things smelling fresh and clean, especially in cold winter months when windows are shut and there's little fresh air circulating. A diffuser will provide a nicer scent for your young adult.
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Personal care items
Running out of personal care items and borrowing from friends and roommates happens all the time in college. With money low and time at a premium, shopping for necessities can be a low priority. Include a few things that may be running low mid-year, like soap, shampoo, razors, etc.
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Personal indulgence items
Don't stop with the basics of personal care. Be sure to tuck in something a little indulgent - a favorite body lotion, cologne, dry shampoo or expensive shave creme.Continue to 13 of 15 below.
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Light sleepers are often at a huge disadvantage when living in dorms or apartments. Noise travels up and around and in and out, with people living on different schedules and different levels of respect for their neighbors. A sound blocker for the door can be a huge help.
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Staying healthy in college can be a challenge, especially freshman year. It's easy to get into the habit of late night snacking and sleeping all weekend, unlike in high school when activities and sports kept kids moving and energized. A FitBit is a great way to encourage healthy habits without being a nag (are you eating any vegetables???).
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A trip home
If you're really missing your grown-up girl or boy and would like to see him or her, why not indulge yourself with a round trip ticket home, whether by plane or train or bus? Leave the date open and let your young adult decide when he or she would like to come for a visit. Valentine's Day happiness for everyone!