Students partial to parcels

Posted Nov. 12, 2008, at 7:43 p.m.

For college students, the weeks before Thanksgiving are among the toughest. This is the time for term papers and major exams. These demands can add up to the poor nutrition, low spirits, stress and the infamous all-nighters.

Parents and friends, you can make this time a little easier for students to endure with “CARE” packages. The secret of the perfect care package is to enclose a mix of items that will sustain your student nutritionally and emotionally, too.

Here’s a step-by-step guide.

1. Have fun. Wander around your hometown and pick up amusing Maine items, including magnets with strange Maine advice on them, postcards of local scenes and wildlife, and lobster-shaped lollipops. Remember, things that no Maine teenager would use to decorate a home bedroom can be very cool in dorm rooms, especially if your student lives out of state. Magnets reading “Beware of Attack Lobster,” signs that say “Lobster Crossing” and strings of lights with lobsters on them are a huge hit in dorm rooms.

2. Think “protein.” Pick up protein-laden snacks in the grocery store. Canned nuts and nut-laden or protein-fortified energy bars are great choices.

3. Think “high-energy.” Select raisins and other dried fruits for additional snacks.

4. Go international. Look for microwavable ethnic meals such as Indian, Thai and Asian foods. Many of these are packaged in sizes that are convenient to pack.

5. Provide a taste of home. Send bread, brownies or cookies that you’ve baked yourself. Consider adding a can or plastic bottle of Moxie. This stuff is often a curiosity outside of Maine.

6. Add something practical. Remember, no college student can ever have enough pairs of clean socks. Think about other things that your son or daughter typically ran out of at home, such as ponytail elastics, batteries and similar items.

7. Pack in some cleaning items. While the student may live in a dorm and dine in a dining hall, a certain amount of dishwashing must still occur. A new package of sponges and a new dish towel will come in handy not just in the dorm but in cushioning items or filling spaces in your parcel. What student ever thinks of buying these things?

8. Stock up your student for cold season. Send some microwavable soups, cough drops and minipackages of tissues, also useful for cushioning items in your parcel.

9. Pick up a “Large Flat Rate Priority Mail” shipping box from the post office.

10. Amaze yourself (and, ultimately, your son or daughter) with how much you can fit into it. Write “JUST BECAUSE I LOVE YOU” on one of those amusing Maine postcards. Tuck it into the box. Seal the parcel; address; and send.

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