I thought I’d post some shalach manos ideas that I’ve done in the past, in case you’re scrambling for ideas at the last minute. I usually like to give out something creative, or at least tasty. I feel like we get so overloaded with cellophane wrapped “junk” that giving just another bag of it will just add to the pile. Instead, try to come up with a dish that can be served at the meal, or incorporate servingware or a gadget that will be useful in the future. Your shalach manos will stand out, be remembered, and appreciated.
I do realize that this is not for everyone. At the end of the day, mishloach manos is a mitzvah that does not have to be elaborate or cute. It has gotten so out of hand in some neighborhoods. Everywhere you turn – every store, school, organization – is selling baskets for you to give out. Personally, I enjoy coming up with creative ideas and putting them together. But I don’t do it every year. If you are feeling overwhelmed, I definitely recommend giving a donation to an organization that is close to your heart, and sending out Purim cards (from the organization, or personal) letting people know that you’ve opted to send a donation in lieu of shalach manos. I did that last year (you can see the card in this post).
Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing!
@”Mini Me” – A diet basket for the teenager - mini carrots, mini apples, mini rice cakes, mini orange juice.
@”Lets go to the Stadium” – Popcorn, soft pretzel, can of soda, packets of mustard.
@”Breakfast on the Go” – Danish/donut and small chocolate milk or iced coffee.
@”A Girls best Friend” – Jewelry holder with hanging candy watch, ringpop, winky (or homemade cheerio) necklace etc.
@”Lechaim” – Martini glass with olives and a mini vodka.
@”Bakerman” – Small basket filled with a mini rolling pin, mini jelly, a hamantasch, and a recipe for hamantaschen.
@”An Apple a Day” – Candy apples in an assortment of toppings. Cover styrofoam in faux grass and stick a few candy apples in.
@”In the Kitch” – oven glove with something homemade and a mini alcohol.
@”Chocolate Lovers Dream” – Mini Boston Cream Pies with chocolate dipped strawberrys and a few red torino chocolates.
@“Shushan Shushi” – Sushi salad prepared on a plate with a side of chopsticks, ginger, soy sauce and wasabi.
@“Sweet & Salty” – Chocolate dipped pretzel rods with assorted toppings.
@”Crazy for Chocolate” – Mini chocolate bundt cake with mini chocolate liquor in the center.
@”Mexican Fiesta” – 7 layer dip with a bag of tortilla chips.
For Teachers, Therapists (or anyone you need to incorporate a nice gift into the shalach manos):
@Cheese plate and spreader with crackers, cheese, jelly or chocolate spread.
@Vase filled with rock candy and real or faux flowers.
@Pie tray or pie server with homemade or store-bought pie.
@Pitcher with lemon, lemon tea and tea biscuits.
@On the go insulated coffee cup with coffee, coffee candy and mini starbucks liquor.
@Set of boxed shot glasses. Fill each glass with different candy or chocolate and wrap in gift wrap.
@Bottle of wine with a nice wine stopper. Pair with chocolate.
@Theme cookbook with a matching gadget - for ex. book on ice cream with ice cream scoop, or book on cookies with a cookie cutter.
I hope you enjoyed these shalach manos ideas! If you need a second bracha, you can always give wine, a mini alcohol, chocolates or a clear box with hamantaschen.