The Tiffin Tin

What\’s in your lunchbox?

Lunchbox Notes

with 8 comments

A few months ago, when I was in the cafeteria with my youngest son, I noticed a post-it note stuck to the side of a juice box in someone’s lunch. It said, “You’re sweet. Love, Mom.” My mother never did this, but it seems like a lovely thing to do, a nice way to remind your child, especially a young child, that you are still present, even when you’re not physically with them.

And so, as it often happens, an entire industry has sprung up around this simple idea. In this case, an industry dedicated to relieving parents of the burden of actually thinking of what to write on these notes. I checked them out on the web. Here’s a sample. And another.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that most of these notes-for-sale (and even for free) aren’t anywhere nearly as good as ones you can write yourself.

So, Ms. Smarty Pants, you ask, what would you like to find in your lunch?

When I was a kid, and even now, i like my mom’s handwriting. I’d take pretty much anything she wanted to say, as long as it wasn’t insulting. As for my own children, beyond something yummy, I’m betting what they’d most like is a joke. The dumber the better. Find a joke on the web, print it out or write it down, sign it or add a word or two of your own and stick it in the lunchbox. Same with cartoons. Or use a post-it note, like the one I saw. That seemed to be working just fine. There are other ideas on this Tiffin Tin page, which is updated regularly with examples from the lunches packed for my children.

In a pinch (actually — an emergency so dire you probably wouldn’t be packing lunch anyway), you could try one of these.


Written by bloglily

June 22, 2006 at 5:17 am

Posted in jokes, lunchbox notes

8 Responses

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  1. Hard not to see the joy in putting a “handwritten” note in with the lunch. Problem is there comes an age when (at least for me this was true) it isn’t the parent who makes the lunch–it’s the kid. I was happy when mom would pack the lunch (and not me)…that was caring enough.
    Can you believe a mother would put a “store purchased” note in a child’s lunch? Imagine what it would be like if ….hmm…adults bought each other notes/cards etc where the message is already printed…guess that is where we fall back on “it’s the thought that counts”…


    June 22, 2006 at 2:19 pm

  2. I remember a year of hot dogs. Circa 1967. We were in Glen Burnie, Maryland. Dad had decided to start buying things in bulk. So I had a hot dog every day in my lunch for a year. (Or at least until I started to complain about it.)

    Tom, did Dad ever do the lunch thing for you? I was only home a year by the time he retired and Mom went back to work at JC Penney.

    My kids all got free lunches, so I never packed a lunch except when Matthew was in a Christian school for 3 years. I used to go to the grocery store to get fruit for his lunch every morning. It was on the way to school. Otherwise, the kids would eat up all the fruit and snacks beforehand.


    June 22, 2006 at 3:48 pm

  3. One good thing about being a younger child is that your sibs remember everything you have forgotten! Susan, I do not remember the year of hot dogs. I can’t believe I don’t either because that sounds like the kind of thing that would put you off the might dog forever.

    Hey Tom, If I had to buy a note a day, I wouldn’t have enough money left to buy candy, and you KNOW we have our priorities straight. Little kids don’t need fancy cards. A post-it scrawled on by your mom is more loving than anything else. Generally, three words will do it: I love you. Sit up Straight. Mind Your Manners. (Oops, straying into the bossy here.) You are Great. Have Some Fun. Good Joke Here. Your joke today.

    No need to plunk down your cash for anything more complicated than that.

    Best, L



    June 22, 2006 at 5:04 pm

  4. Let’s see.. in 1968 you would have been 8, and so in second grade? Do you remember living in Glen Burnie?

    The backyard had a peach tree and a weeping willow. Ed got hives from eating strawberries, and we had a mulberry tree and grapevines. The upstairs was so hot in the summer.

    I remember the way that Dr. Pepper tasted. Not that we got soda that often, if ever. There was a neighbor that had a snow cone machine.

    More memories of Glen Burnie – Aunt Teresa, Steven and David moved in with us for a while. Mom had started working for a dentist, and Dad was at NSA.

    Ed and Steven played endless games of chess, and Steve liked to play poker with marked cards.

    Eventually they moved out and got their own place. We went over there for Thanksgiving one year. That was the first time I ever saw the Wizard of Oz. But when the color parts came on, we were out of luck because we didn’t have a color set.

    When we first got to Glen Burnie we actually had a TV for the first time in years. We got to watch things like the Addams Family. It didn’t last long, though.

    Didn’t mean to ramble on so much. Tomorrow I’m starting a Friday Family category where I’ll wander on more. 🙂 With pictures, of course.

    Sue Crocker

    June 22, 2006 at 6:48 pm

  5. Thanks for the links. I’ve been putting notes in my son’s lunch box and was running out of things to say when I started searching the internet. My child (although not diagnosed) may have slight ADHD and the notes seem to help him stay focused in the afternoons. His behavior has improved greatly since I started doing it.


    September 6, 2006 at 12:59 pm

  6. Paula, I’m glad to hear that! Good luck to you and thanks for coming by. –Lily


    September 6, 2006 at 3:10 pm

  7. I started putting notes in my kids’ lunches before they could read. I’ll admit that, since they brought the notes home, I re-used the notes from preschool. Mostly they liked those because they had doodles or stickers on them. And they could recognize their names and mine…. Now, at six, they put a note in my lunch (we pack our lunches together at night) and I put a note in theirs: the game is to make sure the recipient doesn’t see the note the night before.


    March 23, 2009 at 10:29 am

  8. Not only do I put notes in my sons box. Sometimes I’ll draw a silly picture (nothing fancy) or cut-out a pokemon, transformer, etc… and then add a note to it.
    My son also likes origami, so he bought me a daily calendar and I turn around and put it into his lunch box.


    August 24, 2010 at 9:31 pm

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