Purim is a holiday of sweetness and joy, a time when we reflect on the power of an individual and the victory of the Jewish nation in the face of destruction. One of the exciting elements of Purim is the obligatory giving of food gifts to friends and family. We are commanded to give at least two foods to at least one person, and they must be ready-to-eat food items. Mordechai, one of the Purim heroes, instituted the practice of mishloach manot, as is quoted in the Megillah: “Mordechai . . . enjoined the [Jews] to make the 14th day of the month of Adar . . . feasting and joy, and sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.”

There are loads of creative ideas to enhance this mitzvah by giving a thematic-styled mishloach manot, or some meaningful content. Each basket can become a special gift, both edible and not, that will bring a smile to the recipient’s face. Happy Purim!

New York Style

A top-quality roast beef/pastrami/salami sandwich with all the trimmings of a traditional NYC sandwich, including pickles and slaw. A Coke alongside it, although not necessary, is a cute addition.

Salad Theme

A large plastic bowl, available at discount stores for a dollar or two, can be stuffed with a bag of lettuce salad, croutons and a bottle of dressing. Wrap in a large sheet of plastic and add a big bow.

Breakfast/Lunch Bags

Place a number of breakfast items such as a small box of cereal, a small container of milk/chocolate milk, a piece of fruit, string cheese and juice in a paper bag. You can include a plastic spoon or bowl to make this mishloach manot eatable on the spot.

For lunch, a small can of tuna, baby carrots, a bagel and a beverage can be put into a paper bag. This is always a hit for its practicality and homey connotation!

Shabbat Theme

A great mishloach manot gift can be a challah (homemade always lends an extra boost), hummus/tehina and a bottle of wine.

Coffee Lovers

A bag of specialty gourmet coffee, a package of kosher butter cookies and a piece of chocolate in a ceramic mug are the perfect gift for someone who can’t get by without their daily grind.

Chocolate Lovers

A selection of truffles, chocolate and a tin of real cocoa or brownies are sure to score points with a chocolate lover.

Healthy Choice

Whole-wheat cookies or hamantashen, a small jar of honey, a tofu snack bar, a bag of craisins or fruit/veggies are a good choice for health-conscious friends. Feel free to improvise according to personal preference and diet.

Another option can be a veggie platter with salad dressing. Simple and scrumptious.

Baseball Game

A hot dog—ready and prepped—plus popcorn and a soda, all placed in a popcorn basket, are perfect for the baseball fans in your life.


A popular gift is Israeli salad (cucumbers and tomato cut into small pieces), hummus/tehina, falafel and pita. Sheer nostalgia for Israeli friends, and oh so good!

Milk and Cookies

In small metal pails, place a bottle of milk (small or large) and fill the rest with chocolate-chip cookies. Adorable and VERY edible!