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recipe for a care package

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Care packages carry along their own special sort of magic. Anyone who gets one feels remembered, seen, and loved... 

There are all sorts of ways to create and curate these meaningful gift boxes. Each of us has a recipe we adhere to that is something like:

2 parts how-my-mom-did-it: 1 part pure instinct: 9 parts love

Though you undoubtedly have your own recipe, we thought we'd share ours... 

fia & brian's recipe for a care package

gathering the ingredients:

1. We only include things we love... everything we choose has been tested, tasted, and holds meaning and memory for us. Each gift, no matter how small, has to matter. 

In last year's holiday box, we chose a locally made raspberry vanilla jam. We must have eaten four dozen jars over the course of the year - on toasted kamut flax bread, with grilled peanut butter sandwiches, and straight out of the jar with a spoon... So we knew exactly how best to enjoy it. 

And when we found the pottery of Elaine Greenwood, an artist here in Bozeman, we bought a few pieces for us, fell in love with them, and we knew we wanted to include her beautiful work in upcoming packages...

2. We only choose items from local and small businesses that share our ethos of do no harm (to the planet and to one another). We not only have to love the item itself, we have to fully stand in support of the company as well. 

There are so many amazing craftspeople, bakers, makers, and artisans... but when we give a gift, we want to know the people we're supporting firsthand - or at least make sure we know the company's story...  We want to be responsible in who we support because our contribution, no matter how small, will help them continue to do what they do in the world.

3. We're always on the hunt for possibilities. No matter where we are, if we come across something unique that we get really excited about, our next step is to figure out if it's care-package-worthy (can we afford it, will it hold until we're ready to box it up, how will it ship across the country)

Warning: if you find something you enjoy yourself, be sure to either have someone you trust hide it away until you're ready to pack it, or be disciplined in your love for others to not eat their gifts... 

A few years ago we stumbled upon bourbon maple syrup at Trader Joe's... this was before we created our high(er) standards... We really liked it. We picked up 14 bottles when we were on a long road trip passing through Mt. Pleasant in South Carolina, fully intending to give them all away in our holiday boxes... but enough months passed that we kept "sacrificing" one bottle at a time until we'd gone through the entire stash... 

once you have the desired ingredients:

1. Wrap each gift. It doesn't matter how you wrap it (though it is nice if all the wrapping can be recycled or reused somehow...) but each item wants its own little fanfare. And it helps cushion everything, using less packing material.

It's something Yoshi taught us... he'd rather have several little treats than just one big one... it feels like a party

2. We put little notes attached to each gift. Sometimes they're instructions, other times it's a story about how we came across this particular item or why we think it's most perfect for them...

Last Christmas, we put numbers on each of the gifts, with an envelope with little wishes for how each might be of use in the coming year. A few opened the gifts in order, others chose to prolong the celebration by opening one gift a day. All of them told us they enjoyed the game of the gift as much as the gifts themselves... 

3. Keep in mind the person who will be receiving the gift. Yes it matters that you have a connection with each of the items you've chosen, but will they be of use to your loved one? Is this something you can see fitting in their home, will it be a gentle reminder or inspiration, a way for them to enjoy their mornings, or a little something that every time they see it, they'll remember they are loved... 

(or is it going to sit on a shelf as another thing to dust, or will it be pushed to the back of the cupboard, forgotten about it until there is a global pandemic and they find that same jar that expired 9 months ago... )

final steps:

1. Make sure the way you pack the box feels like part of the gift itself. 

2. First impressions matter. Do you want to handwrite the address? Print a label? Draw or color something on the box?

Remember: the gift begins the moment they see the package... and continues all the way until they separate out the packaging from the treasures... 

Whether you follow our recipe or create your own, we hope you are both the giver and recipient of such glorious acts of love... 

always in motion, 


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  • I really appreciated this- especially the wrap each gift part. Kind of reminded me of how anything I order from you guys comes individually wrapped and appears prepared with love.

    Andrea on
  • I found your words inspiring. We still need old fashioned love letters sent with fun stickers and silly tape on the back. Remembering to send the world my best in a care package, a small note or cartoon so we can laugh and remember that this too shall pass. Staying present to nature’s gifts in a sunrise or a yellow daffodil. Or reading your daily blog! Thanks from New Haven.

  • I have recently been on the receiving end of MANY thoughtful, kind, loving gifts sent to me to ease the pain of a loved one’s death. I realized that thanks for the love I’ve been shown in so much abundance can only be returned by my own giving spirit in the years ahead. I read the above ideas and it sure resonated. May we all show kindness to each other. I offer wishes of good health to all creatures great and small.

    Carol Naifeh on
  • Thank you!! I have been trying to figure out a way to take care of some special people in my life and this brought me joy today when I saw that you were sending care packages. I am sending one today to our yoga teacher. She found a way to teach us online and she wraps us in her light.

    Tracy Petterson on
  • Keep safe!! I love this idea and found it touching as if this morning I mailed out 25 masks I have made for family and friends to keep them safe. It will be a remembrance a long time from now.

    Nancy Griffis on

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