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Prepare and Ship a Great Holiday Care Package

Two hands placing a beautifully wrapped green holiday package with a bright, red ribbon inside a shipping box filled with white packing pellets.

Whatever the celebration, sending a holiday care package at the end of a long year is a wonderful way to show loved ones, friends, and even colleagues how much you care.

From Christmas and Hanukkah to Kwanzaa and more, here are practical ideas for preparing and sending care packages to those you may not otherwise be with during the holiday season. 

Why Send a Christmas Care Package?

At this time of year, it’s more important than ever to show you care. A Christmas care package lets a special someone know you’re thinking of them, even if you can’t be together.

Whatever’s inside the package, your delivery will send a smile at a time when well wishes are always welcome.

Christmas Care Package Ideas

Exactly what you include in the package will depend on the person you’re preparing it for. The items you send a grandparent will likely be different from those you pack for a close friend. 

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. THINK SELF-CARE: Personal care products such as fragranced soap, lip balms, and moisturizers or small items like tweezers and nail files are always appreciated.
  2. KEEP THE COLD OUT: Find things, such as thick socks and hats, that guard against the winter chill. For those in sunnier climes, switch it up for the weather.

  3. PASTIMES ARE PRECIOUS: Think of the hobbies and pastimes that your special ones enjoy, from sewing supplies and model kits to crossword books and jigsaw puzzles. Packs of playing cards and parlor games will enliven any household.

  4. UNPLUG, UNWIND: In our always-on age, help rediscover the joy of paper with writing materials such as diaries, calendars, and pens—or simply share the pleasure of a good book.

  5. SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL: Perhaps it’s snow globes with festive scenes or miniature wooden toys. Just be careful when packing glass and items containing liquid.

  6. TIME FOR TREATS: From delicious candies to freshly baked cookies, you can’t go wrong with a sweet reward. Buy in or bake them yourself for freshness.

  7. SURPRISE, SURPRISE: Throw in a little something for others in the household. Fido will love that bone.

Preparing a Hanukkah Care Package

Similar to Christmas, the Jewish festival of Hanukkah is another celebration when you may wish to send a holiday care package.

Hanukkah, which traditionally accompanies the lighting of a special candelabra called a menorah, typically falls in December and lasts eight days. Actual dates change from year to year depending on the Jewish calendar.

Many of the ideas listed above will work well in any holiday care package, whatever the celebration. For Hanukkah care packages, items such as holiday candles and gelt -chocolate coins wrapped in foil - will lend a traditional touch.

Add kitchen items such as canola oil for frying and apple sauce for sweetening Hanukkah potato cakes, known as latkes.

Prepare your Kwanzaa Care Package

Kwanzaa, which means the “First Fruits of the Harvest” in Swahili, is an annual celebration of African-American heritage that runs for seven days from December 26 through January 1.

Each day of the festival focuses on a core value - from unity and creativity to purpose and faith - with a candle lit on each day. The seven candles reflect the colors of Kwanzaa—red for struggle, green for hope, and black for the African people.

Educational and artistic items, like books and craft sets, capture the spirit of the celebration and make great inclusions in your Kwanzaa care package. Offer pantry staples as your contribution to the feast that is traditionally held on the sixth day.

Dress up your package with Kwanzaa flags and go heavy on the customary reds, greens and blacks. Slip in a handwritten note, or even a poem reflecting on one of the holiday’s core values, for that personal touch.

Packing a Holiday Care Package

Whatever you’re shipping, you’re only as good as your box.

Reuse a container if you have one handy - just make sure it’s in good condition and don’t forget to remove any labels before adding your own.  If you don’t have a box that works, stop by your local The UPS Store® location and pick one up.

Next, get packing:

  1. Arrange the contents in your box, placing heavier items first. Add a layer of packing material to the bottom of the container.

  2. Bubble wrap anything fragile. Use soft items in your care package, such as a winter hat or socks, for additional cushioning. As mentioned, apply particular care when shipping glassware.

  3. Exercise caution with liquids. Tightly tape caps and insert bottles in plastic wrappers to prevent leakage.

  4. Pack the box until its contents are snug and won’t slide around in transit.

As you build your care package, aim for a seasonal look. Holiday decorations like baubles, ornaments and a customary sprig of foliage, will lend a festive feel.

Before you seal the box, include a handwritten card with a family photo or other personal touch. 

How to Send a Holiday Care Package

Simple rate shipping with UPS is a great option for your holiday care package.

With UPS®Simple Rate, ship packages up to 50 lbs. anywhere in the United States for a simple, predictable rate. Simply determine your box size by multiplying its width, height, and depth for total capacity in cubic inches.

Select from a range of delivery options, depending on how quickly you’d like your package to arrive. If you’re sending a care package with a particular holiday in mind, check the UPS holiday schedule for recommended last days to ship.

For international deliveries, choose from a range of service options - just remember to complete the necessary customs forms. UPS’s online wizard will guide you through the process.

Shipping Holiday Care

A holiday care package is the perfect way of showing someone how much they mean to you - especially when you can’t be with them at this special time of year. Let someone know you care and get shipping your holiday care package now. 

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