days - there's lots to do for the little one's birthday party coming up on
Sunday and so much to do for Purim - there just doesn't seem to be much
time for blogging.
Having said that, just in case you still do not have a mishloach manot
theme (and assuming you actually want one*), here's a short roundup of what
we've done for the past bunch of years. It's a long one, but your Purim inspiration
just might be lurking in here somewhere. And just think, once you find your idea,
you can stop thinking and start shopping.
2013 - well, yeah, you'll have to wait and see. Even I am not totally sure
how this year is going to play out yet.
2012 - Last year we stuffed dollar store flashlights with candy and well,
that was it. We made stickers with a little note about the Jewish nation being a
light unto the other nations and it was lovely and simple and I didn't have to
bake anything. My kind of Purim.
2011 - Two years ago we created a paper bag army - the army of Hashem, if
you will. I cut out tons of eyes and ears and noses and mouths and hair and
bowties or hair bows from colored paper and the kids went to town gluing. It was
great. And then we just stuck in whatever candy was on sale that week in
Shoprite. And I feel like we baked some cookies too, but I can't remember what
2010 - Three years ago - 12 days before Purim - we were blessed with
baby#4. We sent cards that year. Aside from the exhaustion of a new baby and a
complicated c-section, sending the cards was awesome. I highly recommend it
(the cards and the baby too) if you can pull it off.
2009 - Josh had mentioned something about how it's nice to give real food
for mishloach manot, like something people can use at their Purim seudah. And I
have to say, this was probably the easiest mishloach manot in terms of
preparation but the hardest in terms of packing the bags and delivering them.
We made vegetable soup, pasta salad and challah and it was really very well
received. The vegetable soup and pasta salad were easy to make in advance, as
were the challahs, which I had made very much in advance and froze. The problem
was that the food needed to be refrigerated so I could not put the bags together
until it was literally time to deliver them. So I packed a few bags and Josh put
them in the van. Packed a few more and put them in the van. And so on. It
didn't make for the most relaxing Purim morning, but it was still yummy.
2008 - This was the first Purim in our new house, and my husband, being the
friendly guy that he is, felt very strongly about giving mishloach manot to
everyone that he ever spoke with in shul. Or on the way to shul.
So that first year, with two kids age two and under and very pregnant,
we (I) made way over 100 mishloach manot packages entitled "This
Mishloach Manot is brought to you by the letter C and the number 2". Oh, and
Purim was on Friday. We bought rectangular cake boxes and filled them with
(homemade everything - insane, I know) chocolate chip cookies, a challah, a
mini carrot kugel and 2 shabbos t-light candles.
Josh delivered them all - all by himself. The little kids and I were
napping. And then we hosted the seudah. I look back now and cannot understand
what I was thinking. I was obviously insane - the combination of being pregnant
and having an actual house to host things in is a strong combination.
2007 - Cookies and Milk. That's it. Stuck the cookies and chocolate milk
juiceboxes into a brown paper bag and called it a day. Our kids were 18 months and
6 months at the time. I'm not even sure we remembered to actually deliver any
mishloach manot. I think we kind of just gave them to anyone who came to the
door. For all I know, we might have given one to the FedEx guy.
2006 - Starbucks. I was on a huge Starbucks kick at the time and was
determined to use Starbucks coffee cups as my mishloach manot packaging. The
first store I went to would not give me or sell me the coffee cups, so I tried a
second store. I'm not proud of what I did, but I went in to that second Starbucks
and made up a story about how I was throwing a bridal shower for my very
best friend and she just loves loves loves your coffee and I really needed some
cups to use as party favors and I'm happy to buy them off of you, of course.
And the lady agreed and even said I could have them for free! She asked how many
I needed. And I said 50. She looked at me like I was nuts, fifty people at a
bridal shower? But I just stood there, smiling and nodding my head.
I think she was kind of upset that she agreed to give away 50 cups for free
(I had asked for the grande size) but she was gracious about it and handed them
to me. And because I don't know when to quit, I asked for covers too. But then I
saw the look on her face and started laughing and saying, oh, no, I was just
kidding! Thank you so so much! And then I never went into that Starbucks
What was my point here? Oh, a coffee related mishloach manot. Yeah, so I
baked these awesome coffee cake muffins and bought frappachinos in glass bottles
from Costco. Put the frappachinno into the Starbucks cup, topped it with a
plastic wrapped muffin and wrapped the whole thing in cellophane.
2005 - I'm not ashamed to admit that I ordered my mishloach manot through
the shul that year. We were youth directors in a shul that year, we had to throw
a humongous purim carnival the night of megillah reading and I was very pregnant
with my first child (which for some reason makes you more fragile than with any other
pregnancy... you know, dont lift anything, don't exert yourself. And yet, with
any subsequent pregnancy, no one looks at you twice when you carry a 20 pound
toddler and a huge diaper bag and a stroller up three flights. Just saying.)
2004 - This was our first Purim together and we were living all the way
across the country from pretty much everyone we knew and loved. No really, we
were living in Phoenix. Anyway, we wanted to send mishloach manot back to NY and
we had somehow just become the proud owners of a food dehydrator. Don't ask.
Okay, I'll tell you anyway. There was some combination of homemade beef jerky (hence, the food dehydrator), challah rolls, juiceboxes from Trader Joe's - the best store ever and
the store we had never heard of before we moved west - and possibly some other baked
good. There was also some pretty bad poem about living in the desert and Spike, Snoopy's
cousin. For the life of me, I cannot recall what the theme was. Maybe there was no theme, maybe it was just weird stuff in a box.
The worst part - we were both out in Phoenix teaching, on teachers' salaries. And so there were zero extra dollars in the budget. And so when the guy in the post office said that
it would cost us $100 to overnight the mishloach manot to NY, we took a minute to confer with each other and then went with the less expensive option - the ten days in the mail option. Considerably cheaper and considerably longer.
And even worse then the worst part - I'm pretty sure the challah was moldy by the time it
arrived on the east coast. The juiceboxes were fine and the beef jerky, that stuff is gross to
begin with and probably shouldn't be eaten even when fresh.
But you know what the best part is? All those that friends that received surprise boxes of disgustingness from across the country are still our friends today. And that's the mark of a good friend, my friend. (But really, again, if you're one of those friends, we're still really sorry!)
2003 - I have no idea. Not a clue. Purim was exactly five days before our wedding. I'm not even sure we celebrated Purim that year.
I hope some (one?) of these ideas was helpful. It took me years to understand that
mishloach manot is not a contest - as in, no one is giving you a prize for churning out 78
homemade tins of chocolate cake. If you enjoy making elaborate gift baskets, then kol
hakavod, go for it. And if not, then don't. And if like me, you only enjoy it some years,
then only go for it those years.
I think I'm feeling it this year - I haven't for the past few years. My idea is a little
ambitious, so we shall see if I actually pull it off. Wish me luck!
*Sometimes I wish we lived on some small yishuv in Israel where everyone puts a piece of cake and an orange on a plate, wraps it in cellophane, brings it to their neighbor with a big smile and calls it a day.