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by Deb L.
Rated: E · Other · Young Adult · #1931676
When I told people what I was doing for my nephews, everybody loved this idea!
It was late 2007 and my oldest nephew Justin was in his second year of college.  His younger brother Josh was in his first year.  Both lived away from home in the college dorms.  When it came time to get Christmas gifts for them, I was clueless.  My son was in kindergarten, so I didn't know what to get college kids.  The previous year we had gotten my older nephew a gift card to a local store.  Since that year they were both in college, I wanted to do something different. 

I did a little research on the internet and found out that the best things you can get college kids are care packages.  What a great idea!  So, I called my sister Gin and asked her what her sons needed.  She thought a minute and said, "Well, they could always use school supplies, snacks,...".

I stopped her right there.  I told her she didn't need to go any further, because I knew exactly what I was getting the boys.

At the college that my older nephew attended, they had coin operated washers and dryers.  Of course he would wait until he had no clean clothes left to do his laundry.  The campus had a cafeteria that stayed open until they served dinner.  Once dinner was finished they closed for the night.  If my nephew got hungry after dinner and needed to do laundry, he would have to chose between doing laundry or going to the vending machine in his dorm and getting a snack.  I was going to make sure that he would save his change for the washer and dryer.

I went to our local Walmart and got 2 sixteen gallon plastic bins with latching lids.  Then I went to the snack section of Walmart and a couple local family owned grocery stores and got every snack I thought the boys would like. I got chips, pretzels, crackers, cookies, snack cakes, microwave popcorn and candies.  I also got cans of spaghetti, chili and other canned meals, ramen noodles, shelf stable microwave meals and a hand can opener.

Since the bins were somewhat clear, I lined them with tissue paper first, then loaded the bins to the very top with the snacks. I put another sheet of tissue paper over top of the snacks and then snapped on the lid.

We went to Gin and her husband Bobby's house for Christmas and my husband and I brought out the bins. Everybody's eyes got big and they ooohed as they saw these large bins.  We set them in front of my nephews and they just stared at them.

Josh opened his first. I snapped several pictures as he opened it. He was sitting beside Bobby and as soon as he took off the top sheet of tissue paper, his eyes widened and he called for Bobby to look.  He carefully moved boxes and bags around in the bin to see what was in it.  Bobby looked in the bin, smiled brightly, then looked at me and said that was the best gift for a college kid he'd ever seen. Then he proceeded to take a box of chocolate covered peanut butter snack cakes out of the bin and tell Josh they were his!

Justin was sitting next to Gin on the other side of the room and didn't see Josh open his bin. When he opened his, I was again taking pictures. His eyes also widened when he saw all the snacks. He yelled for my sister to look and then proceeded to empty the entire bin and look at each item in it. My Dad and Mom watched and laughed as he got more and more excited with each snack!  My Dad looked at me and also told me that was a great gift and he had never thought of such a thing.

The next Christmas we decided to refill the bins with more snacks.  We did that every Christmas until they each graduated.  They loved getting the snacks each year!
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