One of the four mitzvahs of Purim is to send edible gifts, called mishloach manot, to family and friends. Mishloach manot means the sending of portions, in Hebrew. Sending mishloach manot 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? From little tiny baskets filled with homemade cookies and mugs full of candy to elaborate store bought treasure chests of wine and other goodies, anything goes.

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. Many people include drinks, like juice, sparkling cider and wine.

In addition to food and drinks, 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.

Groggers (noise makers) or even small toys, stuffed animals, 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 that they know their children will enjoy. Here are some creative ideas for making your own mashloach manot.

Coffee Manot: Start with an over-sized coffee mug and fill it with coffee, sugar packets, a mini-container of creamer, coffee cake, biscotti, and/or hamentaschen. You can even get the mug personalized for an extra special touch.

Healthy Mishloach Manot:  Begin with any sort of container you  like and fill it with whole wheat hamentaschen, nuts, fruit (fresh or dried),  and dark chocolate.

Israeli Purim Basket: Again, the container doesn’t matter. It’s what’s inside that counts. You can either fill your basket with Israeli crackers, a little tub of hummus, olives and herbal tea or choose an assortment of blue and white products.

Wine Manot: This is best put in a picnic basket. Include 1 bottle of dry wine, crackers and cheese.

Nutty Purim Manot: Start with a pretty container and add a bag or two of nuts, a mini-bottle of liquor, hazelnut coffee, a Snickers or Egozi bar.

Black and White Manot: Find a black and white bag and fill it with Oreos, marshmallows, black and white cookies and chocolate milk.

Mixed Manot: Buy a lovely box and fill it with anything you want. Mix and match healthy and fattening, wine and cookies, coffee and fruit. Just remember to have fun while you’re putting it together.

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