Creative Mishloach Manot Ideas: Under the Sea

Today’s creative mishloach manot idea comes from Adina Berzofsky. See how Adina turned her Under the Sea idea into reality — and get inspired by her “5 commandments” for making mishloach manot.

under the sea mishloach manot Creative Mishloach Manot Ideas: Under the Sea

When I think about the holiday of Purim every year, I have grandiose fantasies about an elaborately themed celebration –we’d each dress the part on Purim day and deliver 50+ beautiful and delicious mishloach manot (gifts of food) to our friends and family.

Then I wake up and remember that I am a busy mom with 2 kids and 2 part-time jobs. By the time I realize Purim is coming, I usually have less than 2 weeks to prepare. That’s why I make simple, fun and kid-friendly mishloach manot.

This year my theme is “Under the Sea”. (I say “my” theme, because my 7-year-old is going to be a robot, and my 10-year-old is suddenly too cool to dress up.)

Shopping at Ikea last Sunday, I was inspired by a 99-cent silicone fish-shaped ice cube tray. I put a dozen in my cart. By the time I got to the checkout aisle, my idea had come together. Here is what 12 of my friends will be getting from my family this year:

  • Blue fish-shaped ice cube tray
  • Candy gummy fish
  • Blue saltwater taffy
  • Penguin cheese crackers (Walmart used to have kosher whale crackers, but I couldn’t find them, so I bought penguins crackers. Penguins live in/near the water, right?)
  • Guylian mini boxes of Belgian chocolate truffles shaped like seahorses. (Good chocolate is my weakness.)
  • A mini bottle of water
  • Piece of paper with Purim wishes from our family, folded into an origami boat

I ordered the gummy fish, saltwater taffy and chocolate in bulk from an online candy store. The crackers and water came from Walmart. I’m folding the card into an origami boat because I can, but if it wasn’t already one of my skills, I would have cut a card into the shape of a boat, or added nautical clipart to the card.

To package it all up, I am sticking everything in a gallon-size plastic bag. Yes, blue cellophane with cascading blue and green ribbons would be prettier, but I don’t have the patience. I also wish I had time to bake hamentaschen this year, but I don’t and that’s ok.

Last year, my theme was “orange”. Our mishloach manot included orange jelly beans, mini bags of Cheez-it crackers, orange spice herbal tea bags, orange drink mix packets, and an orange in small orange-colored bags I found at a party store.

A few years ago I created a “movie night” package – a $5 gift card to a video store, a package of microwave popcorn, and a few homemade hamentaschen.

I love my talented friends and the elaborate photos they post on Facebook and Pinterest, but I find it hard to stick with my small and simple plans without feeling guilty.

That’s why I invented my own 5 Commandments for Making Mishloach Manot:

  1. Thou shalt not go overboard
  2. Thou shalt not feel bad for not being creative or not having time
  3. Thou shalt not bake, unless you want to
  4. Thou shalt not feel guilty for not making one for every single person you know
  5. Thou shalt have fun

Remember, you have fulfilled the mitzvah even if you only do the minimum – one package with two brachot. Anything more than that is extra, and you should pat yourself on the back.

It has taken me many years to get over my personal feelings of stress and guilt on this holiday, and it is now one of my favorite ones.

It’s perfectly fine if someone delivers a package to you, and you don’t give one back, the same way you’d be ok if you dropped off a package at the home of someone who didn’t give you one in return. Don’t keep score; it’s just not worth it.

Save the guilt for one of the other Jewish holidays.

I am always looking for new ideas. How are you simplifying your mishloach manot this year?

Adina Berzofsky lives in Pennsylvania and is the busy mom of 2 boys. She is a freelance marketing writer, and does social media and writes blog posts about the most important things in life – raising kids and job hunting, safety and security, and of course, wine. You can find Adina Berzofsky on Google + and on Facebook. You can also check out Adina’s website at http://adinaberzofsky.com/.

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  1. Last year I made something so fun and creative and easy. I asked all my friends and neighbors to save their etrog boxes from Sukkos. My theme was Yom Tovim. I put in chocolate gelt, Tam Tam matzah crackers, apple slices with a honey straw, and a cheesecake cupcake. Unfortunately I did not take any pictures but it was adorable (if I say so myself)

    • That’s an adorable idea! I may use that one next year!

    • I love your idea, last year I never had a theme per-say but I added little grow your own tomatoes or strawberries mini pots because I saw them in the shop and really liked them, but I didn’t have any theme around them. This year I saw paper bags designed to look like large pop corn boxes and I nabbed them up thinking I’ll think of something to go in them to look great, but so far all I have is popcorn!!! However I’m going over to Israel for work in about 2 weeks, so I was thinking I might find something great there!!!!!

  2. Amen to Adina’s words!! She put into words exactly how I feel. Last year we did s chocolate theme- candy bar, Hershey kisses and chocolate milk with some chocolate hamantaschen. With just about 2 weeks to go we are still in the decision mode- not worried though, it always comes together. Hag Sameach

  3. Shifra’s idea is cute.

    I love Adina’s 5 shalach manos commandments. I always feel like an underachiever on Purim day, when my shalach manos look less than artistic.

    On our rabbi’s urging, we’ve cut waaaaaay back on shalach manos. We just do enough for the mitzvah plus a few for the kids’ friends and the immediate neighbors (especially almanos, and the like). But we make a funny fake newsletter every year and pass a whole bunch of those out. How much candy do you need? A laugh has fewer calories.

    • I truly wish more rabbis would stand up and encourage people to cut back on things like this which can get out of hand, and make people with less disposable income feel inadequate.

      I also feel conflicted about the big fundraising mishloach manot that many schools and shuls do. While it seems like a good idea to raise money for an organization (write a check, and your name will be on a single large basket that gets delivered to each community member), these can cost hundreds of dollars that few of us have as we get close to Pesach. It adds to my feelings of guilt and frustration.

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