Since the Jews didn’t get massacred on Purim, we celebrate by giving gift baskets to our friends otherwise known as Mishloach Manot. The gift basket must include at least two types of foods that your friends will have to throw out before Pesach.

Here are the traditions and techniques I have witnessed over the years how to make proper mishloach manot.

Give Stuff You Don’t Want and That Is Useless To You

Give Lemon Wafers

Nobody likes lemon wafers. They come stale. That is how they are made. Thus, making them the perfect item to place in your gift basket. Not just inedible, it is also hard to clean for Pesach.

Stuff Still in Your Pantry

Do not give away food you will eat. That is a waste. Think about your mishloach manot like a food drive collection bin for poor people. You have tuna you haven’t used in four years, throw it in there. Give beans, rice, anything that is taking up room in your cabinets and is past expiration.

Make Hamentashen

People like chocolate hamentashen. This is why it is proper etiquette to give poppy seed hamentashen. People don’t like poppy seed hamentashen. People like chocolate, so you make poppy seed hamentashen. It looks like chocolate hamentashen, and then whamo, a surprise right in their basket. It always puts a smile on the face of the recipient when they get something they don’t want.

Make Food That Crumbles

Make sure you make the hamentashen a flaky pastry. Any dessert that crumbles is also good. This ensures that your mishloach manot will be impossible for them to clean before Pesach.

Give Candies

Make sure that whatever you give, it’s something people do not allow their children to eat. Taffy is perfect; bad for the metabolism and the teeth. Stale Halloween candy that is on sale at the dollar store suits the same purpose.

Make It Look Festive

Use Tin

All Jewish holidays need tin. I don’t know why, but tin is Jewish tradition. This is very festive, as it is shinny. Real devout people take their tin mishloach manot and cover it with tinfoil. Those that are not as religious use saran-wrap.

The Paper Plate Hamentashen

Be creative and make it meaningful by using arts and crafts. You take a round paper plate and turn that into a Hamentashen, by folding it over and making it a triangle. Nothing is more fun than Jewish origami. Similar to regular origami, but we Jews use staples.


Aside from gift baskets that are made of tin, it is also acceptable to give plastic or even better, wicker. Wicker makes the perfect gift basket, as it always comes in an oval shape. Useless for storage, wicker ensures that the people receiving your gift will get no use out of the basket itself.

This will also help them in preparing for Pesach, as it gives them one more thing to throw out. You want to give something that is not designed for use, along with the wafers and poppy seed that are not designed for eating.

Don’t Think About People before You Give Them Their Gift Basket

Do not make it personal by taking a chance with writing a name on the basket of somebody you don’t care about. That is not economical. Let the kids know “David is here. We forgot him. Whatever gift basket you find is fine.”

Easter Baskets

Growing up, I always loved receiving the baskets with the Purim bunny inside. But for the record, we do not use Christian products – until after their holidays, when it goes on sale.

Leave the Note on It with The Name of the People Who Gave it To You

This way, when the Leibenhauses get a Mishloach Manot from the Feigenblums, they will know that the Feigenblums are the ones who put it together for the Schwatzes. The Leibenhaus family will then know that neither you, the Schwartzs, or the Feigenblums thought of them.


Put in Stuff You Don’t Want

I cannot reiterate this enough. If you cannot return it to the store, that is mishloach manot. Don’t waste money on your friends. It is the thought that counts, and you care about the environment. So go green: Leftovers from two Shabbats ago are perfect for the gift basket. Files that you can’t find the heart to throw out. Taxes are good, as tax season is coming. Old pictures. Expired passport pictures. It doesn’t have to just be food. Anything you need to throw in the bin can also be mishloach manot.

Give the Basket from The Supermarket

Only do this if you really care about your friends.

Kosher supermarkets give deals that if you purchased over $100, you get a free mishloach manot. You want your friends saying, “KosherMart wishes us a ‘Happy Purim’…Oh, look at that. David is thrifty. Our gift basket is from KosherMart.” There is nothing more personal than sending the message, “David was thinking about us when he purchased his Elite Coffee this year.”

Take Out The Good Stuff

If using mishloach manot from other people, take out any decent bottles of wine. Sometimes the Feigenblums make a mistake and give something decent, along with the poppy seed. This is also the reason why everybody thinks the Feigenblums are cheap. Not fair to them, but you should enjoy. It is a mitzvah to be happy.

Prepare Your Assembly Line

To make the process faster, you want organization. This means line it up: Nuts area. Pastry area. Tin area. Feigenblum area. Poppy seed area. Lemon wafer area. Decomposing fruit area.