On Purim, we have the delicious and fun mitzvah of giving food packages with a minimum of two ready-to-eat foods to at least one person. This simple mitzvah, however, can get out of hand, with people giving expensive, sugar-filled, elaborately themed gift baskets to everyone they know. But you don’t need an outrageously creative idea for your mishloach manot (“shalach manos”) to be special. I like to focus on small but thoughtful baskets to express the joy of the mitzvah.

I think the most caring thing you can do is to provide something healthy to enjoy. This basket idea provides a few sweet, healthy options in a pretty French jardinière (flower pot or box).

The Basket

It is really the basket or container that sets the tone for the mishloach manot theme. Because we want a “natural” theme, a rustic, distressed wood box fits perfectly. You can easily find similar boxes and baskets using the search terms “rustic box” or “rustic basket.” I like my baskets to be around 4–6 inches in diameter. At this size, the basket is reasonably priced and doesn’t require much to make it bountiful.

The Filling

Although I’m a pretty handy baker, I don’t like to actually make anything for my baskets. My recipients range in their kashrut observance, so I like to clearly post that everything is kosher and store-bought. Here is what I have inside:

  • a small bunch of grapes
  • a few dates (wrapped in a cellophane bag with coordinating curly ribbon)
  • sesame halvah
  • grape juice
  • instant oatmeal packet

I put some packaging filler at the bottom of the basket so that the items peek out at the top.

A stylish basket arranged by hand shows you care, and everyone welcomes treats they don’t feel guilty eating!

May your mishloach manot be received with the same warmth of spirit in which they are given.