Purim Gifts for Friends
By Catalogs Editorial Staff
Contributed by Info Guru Lindsay Shugerman
I LOVE Purim! It doesn’t have any of the seriousness of the High Holidays. There are no off-limits food categories like we have during Passover. And it’s not trying to compete with a more flashy holiday like Hanukkah often does. Purim, which usually falls in March, is just about telling a story, renewing our hope, and playing.
In case you’re not familiar with the traditions, during Purim, we listen to the story of Queen Esther, and her brilliant way of saving the Jews from an evil bureaucrat named Hamen. During the reading of the story, we shake noisemakers, shout out and stamp our feet (and yes, that’s in synagogue!) We dress up in costumes (the sillier the better!) and even our prayers and songs get to wear new, silly tunes.
As if all that’s not enough, we get to surprise people with little baskets of ready-to-eat or drink goodies called shalach manot or mishloach manot, which means “to send portions.” If you haven’t given your friends Purim gifts in the past or are looking for new ideas, here are some great Purim gifts for friends that will go perfectly into a basket or bag.
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10. Purim gift boxes
Ok, it’s not a gift itself, but hey, you have to put all those goodies into something so why not start with a cute gift box already decorated for the holiday? Pick a box big enough to hold everything you plan to give. Remember, tradition says that you need to include at least two ready-to-consume items, because the story of Esther says that you are to give “portions”, which is a plural. You can, of course, give more!
9. Breakfast in a basket
Your friends will love starting out their Purim morning with a basketful of morning-worthy treats. I like to include a crusty loaf of French bread, a jar of jam or jelly, some soft, spreadable cheese and some ripe-and-ready-to-eat fruit like apples, pears or oranges. Throw in a small bottle of orange or tomato juice, and you’re set!
8. Movie night basket
Nothing says that the treats in the Purim basket need to be used right away, only that at least two of them have to be ready to consume without cooking. So a movie night basket would be a perfect choice! Stock your basket with candy and soda, and you’ve met the requirements. Then you’re free to add the extras like a packet of microwave popcorn and of course, a gift card for a movie rental box at the local grocery store.
7. Family fun basket
If your friends have kids, why not get them into the fun? Fill a bag or basket with colorful groggers (noisemakers), little boxes of cookies, juice boxes and maybe a candy or two. For mom and dad, add some hamantashan and a bottle of sparkling cider, and you’re good to go!
6. Date night basket
Treat your married friends to a Purim gift that also works as an at-home date night! Tuck in a bottle of wine, a romantic DVD and some delicious snacks. Add a pair of pretty wine glasses, and the gift is ready to go.
5. A crunchy granola Purim basket
If you have friends who are living the organic, crunchy granola lifestyle, a gift of organic goodies might be the perfect choice. Of course, granola is a natural choice. But you can also deliver a ready-to-eat organic salad, with a few healthy whole wheat rolls — just remember to include your Purim wishes in the form of a silly mask or a noise maker to keep the fun in it, too!
4. All homemade Purim treats
Purim gifts don’t have to be fancy or expensive to be festive! Bake some colorful cookies and add a bottle of juice. Or bake a cake and deliver it with a noise maker and some berries. A gift of a few homemade sweets delivered by a friend often makes it possible to share the holiday with more people…and that’s a blessing that makes the whole holiday sweeter!
3. Order a gift basket
If you’re looking for Purim gift for friends who live far away, the answer may be as close as your keyboard. Make their Purim extra special with an overstuffed Kosher gift basket filled with ready-to-eat sweets and treats. No need to worry about that two-item minimum with this choice!
2. Pasta dinner ala Purim
A first glance, a pasta dinner basket sounds like it wouldn’t meet the Purim basket tradition. But if you add a loaf of bread and a bottle of wine, you’re covered! Select a nice pasta sauce, some tasty noodles, and some ready-to-grate Italian cheese and “Manga!” meets Mishloach Manot!
1. Artsy meets Purim
The Purim celebration is all about being creative…creative in music, in costume, in how the story is told. So why not celebrate the creative with your gifts, too? Give your friends cookies (ready to eat), but add a fun element by throwing in frosting, sprinkles and other goodies to decorate them before they munch. Or add paper crowns and colored markers and glitter to a food basket so they can add their own artwork to the party.
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No matter what you put in your friend’s Purim gifts, make sure you don’t forget to be silly and enjoy the holiday! Happy Purim!
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