Mishloach Manos Improvement #1 -Wrapping a package well makes all the difference in the world. You could give only 2 items and if they are wrapped well, your mishloach manos will be the favorite. Work on perfecting your wrapping style.
A friend of mine is exceptional in this way, and she gives only 2 items. Last year she gave a small bottle of liquor and chocolate gold coins. She put each in a box and then stuck a piece of double sided tape to stack the boxes on top of each other. She wrapped the boxes in cellophane and then tied them up with a brown plaid ribbon.
She also mentioned that the items inside of the packaging need to “sit well” in the package. For outstanding mishloach manos, do not merely throw in a potato chip bag with jellybeans in a box. Fill the box with tissue paper, lay your items on top of the tissue paper, and perhaps place another layer of tissue paper on top. Fit your items in tightly and neatly for the best look. You’ll find that your mishloach manos look a lot more appetizing when they are wrapped neatly inside and outside.
Here are suggestions for wrapping specific kinds of containers:
Bag – It is easy to dress up a paper or cellophane bag. Line the bag with tissue paper. You can also punch holes in the bag and tie a ribbon through it or something you’ve put on craft wire, like plastic grapes.
Bottle – Tie ribbons, raffia or twine around the neck of each bottle. Attach a gift tag or make a “necklace” for the bottle. Tie a spoon to the bottle with ribbon if your recipients would need one to eat your mishloach manos with.
Dish – Check discount stores and flea markets for unique plates, serving bowls, platters or tins. Put in your foods and wrap the dish with cellophane and a bow.
· Paint a Design on your Jar before filling it
· Wrap the entire Jar in Tulle or Fabric
· Attach a Tag using ribbons or Raffia
· Wrap the entire Jar with Colored Cellophane or Fabric
· Simply add a finish tag & Pretty Label
· Purchase odd shaped jars at dollar stores & fill them
· Attach small whisks, wooden spoons, mini garden trowel, jute, etc to spruce up your jar
· Decoupage photos to your jar, or pieces of tissue paper for a stained glass effect
· Attach a cookie cutter with some ribbons or raffia
· Use Baby food Jars for Dip mixes & Single serving “Mug” Mixes (when the ingredients to a recipe all all divvyed out and layered in a jar-like sand art)
· Create a natural feel to your jar by attaching dried flowers, leaves, or pine cones
· For a western theme, wrap bandana around jar & attach mini straw hat
Mishloach Manos Improvement #2
It is hard to stay in touch with all of our friends. Purim is one of those “catching up” times. People you have not seen in a while may come to your door because they’ve been thinking about you and are just too busy to call.
Give Mishloach Manos that provide a glimpse of what is going on in your life. Since you are going to give mishloach manos to your friends anyway, keep them updated on what is new through your actual basket.
Say your daughter just got engaged; you can include wedding themed items in your baskets with a poem.
Here is an example of something I did last year. I put a poem inside my Seder Plate themed Mishloach Manos. Here’s what it said:
At Jewishlifeorganized.com there is a course,
That tells you how to make Pesach from the source.
We’ve been working on it week by week,
And have yet to get to its peak.
When you get to the deep cleaning and cooking, don’t get nutty.
A Freilechin Purim from your Slatkin buddies!
I glued 5 paper muffin tins to a paper plate and filled each one with a goodie. The poem was to let my friends and family members know what I’ve been busy with.
Mishloach Manos Improvement #3
Do you build your mishloach manos off of your costume? Here are some examples:
Misloach Manos Container
Curious George and the Man with Yellow Hat Costume
Bananas and Grape Juice in cellophane
Doctor and Nurse
Cotton candy for cotton balls, a bottle of alcohol in a clear plastic case
School boy and girl
Alphabet cookies, candy erasers, yoyos in a small lunch box
Wine and Cheese
A cardboard circle with a small wheel of cheese, crackers, and a small bottle of alcohol with cellophane
If it’s a nice day, walk around the neighborhood to deliver your shaloch manot. Just put the shaloch Manot in a wagon if you have one. You can decorate the wagon in the “theme” of your costumes too.
If building your mishloach manos off of your costume is not a new idea to you, how about creating a “survival kit” themed Shaloch Manos.
How about the “Everyday Survival Kit”-
Toothpick: Pick the good qualities in everyone including yourself.Rubberband: Be flexible. Things might not always go the way you want.Band-Aid: To heal hurt feelings, either yours or someone else’s.Eraser: Everyone makes mistakes. That’s okay, we learn by our mistakes.Candy Kiss: Everyone needs a hug or a compliment everyday.Mint: You are worth a mint to your family and friends.Bubble Gum: Stick with it and you can accomplish anything.Pencil: List your blessings every day.Tea bag: Relax daily and go over your list of blessings
Or the Tax Survival Kit-
Taxes: If taxes have taken a BIG HUNK out of your PAY DAY, and you’re staring down a ROCKY ROAD with no hope of SWEET ESCAPES, here’s a little LIFESAVER to make you feel like you’ve gotten your MILKY WAY. Just sit back, SNICKERS, and grin because you have in your hands the only $100 GRAND the IRS can’t take away. Now isn’t that an ALMOND JOY? (475 Gift Basket Ideas)
(Remember that the Halacha requires 2 brachos be given in your mishloach manos. Consult with a rav if you have any questions.)
Keep it fun and get the kids involved. You can do anything with creativity and planning, even if you are on a budget!