It’s been a few months since your college or boarding school students went off for fall semester and you’re probably missing them a lot. You may even be counting the days until that first Thanksgiving visit home.

But what can you do before then to show your homesick kids that you care?

A box of homemade cookies from mom always scores points. But now there are myriad subscription box services that let you relieve the tedium of campus food and dorm life with special deliveries such as gourmet treats, upscale beauty products or favorite fitness supplies. 

Though no one bakes like mom, until now no one has helped with the shopping, packing and shipping quite like the ever-expanding subscription box industry. If you haven’t checked it out recently, you’ll find that the array of choices has vastly expanded from snacks and sweets to nearly 2,000 e-commerce sites selling and shipping all sorts of specialized gifts and edibles that can become care packages for college students.

The tough part will be deciding which option to select.

Craig Kanarick, CEO of the artisan food gift service Mouth, knows that when kids leave home it presents challenges for them and their parents alike. So he designed Mouth’s gifts and subscriptions to be tailored to the needs of both.

“You can make sure they know you’re still out there, that you love and care about them, and that they eat well,” he said. And for your students, having a dorm room full of snacks is “a great way to make friends, especially on movie night.”

Here is a sampling of sites that sell various kinds of subscription boxes:

  1. Bulu Box: Sample-size products to facilitate a goal, such as train for marathon, build immunity, aid sleep or lose weight. Beyond edibles, boxes may include fitness gear or gym gift cards.
  2. Calmbox: Themed boxes contain five to eight items to inspire, de-stress and motivate, such as herbal tea, self-help books, affirmation cards, crystals or gemstones and healthy treats, like organic chocolate.
  3. Essence Beauty Box: Essence magazine beauty editors select five beauty products for women of color. Skin care, color cosmetics and hair care products address customers’ specific needs.
  4. Mouth: American-made indie food snacks—everything from artisanal cold brew coffee and peanut butter cookies to bacon pickles and lime popcorn. Offering a minimum of five snack selections in four student-themed categories such as “gifts to get ‘em through exams.”
  5. Nature Box: Choice of healthy chips, cookies, crackers, nuts, dried fruit, granola, mini meals and fruit and nut bars. Flexible subscription terms allow you to customize contents, frequency of delivery and the number of nutritionist-approved snacks in each box; pause, change or cancel membership any time; and replace any snacks you don’t like at no charge.
  6. Fabletics: Actress Kate Hudson co-founded this subscription service in 2013 as a resource for stylish women’s active wear. Subscribers take an online quiz so that the site’s curators can determine their sizes and shopping and workout preferences. The selection includes clothes tailored for yoga, running, cycling, gym workouts or a mix of all four, indoors or out.

Some subscription box services may offer discounts for longer terms, tempt you with add-ons and automatically renew unless you cancel. Never sign up for a subscription service without ensuring that cancellation can be done easily and quickly online or with a phone call.

Also, be aware that many services don’t reveal the contents of their boxes to better surprise the recipients. Steer clear of those if you are concerned about sending unnecessary or unwanted items or dorm-banned goods such as candles.

Of course, you can keep sending your special snickerdoodles, but if you want to give them another reason to visit home more often, keep the cookies as your only-at-home treat.

The foregoing information is provided as a courtesy to our clients and friends of City National Bank (CNB) for their consideration The information is provided without warranty and no recommendation or endorsement by CNB is intended or should be inferred unless specifically stated. The information and names provided in this article not otherwise attributed are also for general information from public sources and without recommendation by City National Bank.