How To Make Creative Purim Baskets

Giving Purim baskets of food to friends and relatives is one of the Mitzvot (commandments) of the Jewish Purim holiday. But it's not just about plunking a few items in a basket. Make your Purim basket fun and creative with these ideas.

The Purpose Of Purim Gift Baskets
These Purim gift baskets are called Mishloach Manot in Hebrew. They should contain three different types of foods so that the recipient needs to say three different blessings over the food in the basket. For example, a basket can contain a fruit, a cookie or pastry (traditional Purim cookies called hamentashen are generally included) and a drink such as grape juice or wine. Other Purim traditions besides food gifts include listening to the Book of Esther, having a festive meal and giving Tzedakah, or charity to those in need.

The Basket Itself
No commandment says the gift has to be in an actual basket. Why not pack a beautiful bowl or box that can be reused? Decorate the basket or box either with puffy paints or paint markers. Try a pretty gift bag, a tote or even a cool-looking beach towel wrapped with a big ribbon. You aren't facing any limits in terms of color or style.

The Food
How about shaking it up a bit? Sure, traditional food items are great. Everyone loves hamentashen cookies, which include many different types of fillings, such as poppy seeds and jelly. But everyone gets hamentashen, too. Your Purim gift basket will be remembered for years if you give pasta, sauce, a bottle of wine and breadsticks along with the usual items.

If the gift is for kids, try dried fruit mix, popcorn and animal crackers packed in a Chinese food container. You could include soup, a can of tuna, melba toast and cheese if you want to offer some cool weather comfort foods. If you want to be gourmet, select some choice teas, fancy chocolates and special pastries.

Things To Remember
Know your audience. If the family keeps Kosher, be sure to look for the Kashrut symbol (often a U with a circle around it, though there are others). If the family is vegetarian, lactose intolerant or diabetic, honor their lifestyle by choosing your gift accordingly. Be sure to include a card that says "Happy Purim! Chag Purim Sameach!"

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Celebrating purim is expected in the Jewish faith. In fact, four commandments encourage having fun at this time. Families enjoy a festive meal, listen to the Purim story, shake noisemakers and give away Purim baskets of food.

The triangular Purim cookies called hamentashen are the greatest, most popular and tasty Purim treats. Hamentashen include a variety of fillings, but this cherry hamentashen recipe will delight your family and friends.

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Putting on a Purim spiel is one of the best ways to celebrate Purim. Purim spiels are performances-either puppet shows, skits, comedy routines or musicals-that include elements of the Purim story.

According to the story of Purim, a king takes a queen, Esther, who hides her Jewish identity. But she eventually reveals the truth in order to save her people from death.

The feast of Purim came about because one of the mitzvot (commandments) of Purim is to eat a great meal together and celebrate with food and drink.

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