Mishloach manot, which means the “sending of portions” in Hebrew, are gifts of food and drink that Jews send to each other during the holiday of Purim. Sending mishloach manot is a mitzvah (commandment) that is meant to ensure that everyone has enough food to enjoy the traditional Purim feast. It is also thought of as an opportunity to strengthen relationships between people. What better way to show someone you’ve thought about them during the holiday than by sending a gift basket? You can learn more about mishloach manot in: What Are Mishloach Manot?
What to Put in a Mishloach Manot Basket
Mishloach manot can be sent in any container, for instance, a basket or a gift box are equally acceptable. However, each mishloach manot must contain at least two different kinds of food that are ready to eat. Popular items are hamantaschen, fresh fruit, nuts, chocolate, dried fruit, candies and baked goods. Drinks are also good things to include, such as juice, sparkling cider and wine.
In addition to food items you can also put fun knickknacks or small gifts in a mishloach manot basket. Since dressing up in costume is part of the Purim celebration, you can send funny glasses with a fake mustache, a decorative hat, or even a simple felt mask that the receipent can wear. Groggers (noise makers) or even small toys like cars, beanie babies, and puzzles are also appropriate, especially if children will be receiving the basket. Some families make mishloach manot baskets specifically for the kids in the family and fill them with fun items and treats they know their children will enjoy. The children receive this baskets on Purim evening or on the morning of Purim.
How to Send Mishloach Manot
Many synagogues will organize the sending of mishloach manot but if your community does not do this or you simply want to make your own Purim baskets, here’s how:
- Decide who you will be sending your baskets to. This way you know how many mishloach manot you need to make. You can send mishloach manot to whomever you like: family, friends, neighbors, etc.
- Make a list of supplies. Look over your recipient list and determine what items you want to put in your mishloach manot. You can personalize each basket to the recipient, or you can buy items in bulk and place one in each basket. Some families enjoy coming up with a “theme” for their mishloach manot. For instance, baskets can be made for: chocolate lovers, baseball fans or movie night. Don’t forget to buy the containers for your mishloach manot! Baskets, clear gift bags, plastic bowls or even cardboard gift boxes that your children decorate are all appropriate.
- Make Purim cards. Cards are not required, but it is nice to send a little Happy Purim card along with your mishloach manot. You can personalize these for each recipient or just make a standard “Happy Purim” card and place one in each basket.
- Assemble your mishloach manot. Depending on how many mishloach manot you are sending, this task can take anywhere from half an hour to a few hours. Putting your baskets together is a great family activity or one you can do with friends as they assemble their baskets.
- Deliver your mishloach manot. Traditionally mishloach manot are delivered on Purim. If you have children give them another opportunity to wear their Purim costumes while they make the deliveries with you!
However you decide to make mishloach manot, keep in mind that Purim baskets do not have to be extravagant or expensive. Something as simple as a small gift bag with a couple hamantaschen and a small bottle of grape juice is equally as appropriate (and appreciated) as larger baskets.