Frugal & Creative Mishloach Manot Ideas, Part 1

Hot Chocolate in a Jar by Sheva

I have the most amazingly creative readers. I have loved reading all of your incredible Mishloach Manot ideas – not only are they original, they are very frugal-friendly!

Since I got so many submissions in my call for Mishloach Manot suggestions, I am going to divide the round-up into two posts. Today is part 1 and I’ll share the second part tomorrow.

As promised, one of my readers who submitted an idea will win a $10 Amazon gift card from me. In order to decide who wins, I’ve decided to leave it up to you. Leave a comment on this post – and/or the one tomorrow, telling me which idea you like best. The submission that gets the most comments will win.

And now, I present to you some serious inspiration for your Mishloach Manot…

S’Mores by Sarah S.

This year, I’m very excited that I have a “package” Mishloach Manot – I’m giving away S’Mores!!! I don’t have a picture yet, but I’m thinking I will wrap graham crackers, mini chocolate, mini marshmellows and matches in cellophane and tie with a ribbon.

Color Themes by Frayda

My easy and frugal shalach manos idea is to do a color theme. All the items are one color and your family dresses up in that color. One year I did green. I found green bowls at the Dollar Spot in Target for $.50 each and filled it with cans of Sprite, Nature Valley granola bars and some other cheap treats that were green. I wrapped it in clear plastic and tied it with a green ribbon and attached a little card made out of green construction paper. All very easy and cheap.

My less frugal shalach manos idea this year is to do a red, white and black theme. I found bags at the Dollar Spot in Target for $.50 each (Love the Dollar Spot!) that fit those colors. I am going to put in cans of Coke and licorice. My plan is to contact a local bakery and try to get a good deal on black and white cookies. Then my tag can read “What’s black and white and red all over? This shalach manos!” The good thing with this idea is that everyone has black and white clothing and we can figure out a red item to wear — like maybe a clown nose?!

Shabbat Sides by Skai

I bake one large item- some years a challah, sometimes a potato, yerushalmi or zucchini kugel, and deliver that along with a bottle of wine or juice. It’s a little expensive if I include the wine, but I only make a few. I feel like this is a good mishloach manot because it’s actually an entire side dish that a family can serve at their seuda or the next shabbat meal – rather than straight junk food. It’s nice to ease the cooking burden in a very busy week.

Two Peas in a Pod by Ilanit

I did this the year I was pregnant with my second. Kid #1 was dressed in all green.  I found a ginormous green t-shirt for myself. On kid #1’s green t-shirt, I wrote with a fabric marker “Pea #1,” and on my t-shirt, over my belly, I wrote “Pea #2”.  For mishloach manot, I carried the pea theme over by boiling a bag of frozen peas and then sticking them all into individual little baggies. I labeled all of the bags with a “Pea in the Pod” label I made up. I am pretty sure my husband thought we all looked ridiculous – I certainly did – apparently a very pregnant woman should not wear a bright green t-shirt! But we all had fun.

School Lunches by Tziporah

Since my husband is a teacher, I have made ‘school lunches.’ They each contain a PB&J, drink box, chips and a dessert (hamenstashen).

{Mara: I have no idea where you’d get this, but I bet it would be so cute presented on one of those divided school lunch trays!}

Viva la Mexico by RAe

One year I did a Mexican theme: Bag of tortilla chips, little monkey dish of salsa, hot tamales (the candy), and put it in a clear cellophane bag tied with raffia, and a little hot pepper instead of a bow!

Hot Chocolate in a Jar by Sheva

Working late hours i decided to do something simple and easy, but the results were great! This is a simple project that anyone can do as a gift for a teacher, house warming, even a hostess gift. It can be done with hot chocolate like i did or even the ingredients to make cookies.
To make a gift jar:
1. Ball canning jars ( found at local grocery very cheap about $8 for a dozen)
2. Layer with yummies
3. Cut square of fabric and tie on
4. Make a fun label

{She says it’s a “simple project”, but Sheva’s creative skills are totally apparent in this gorgeous presentation!}

Pun-y by Chani

1) Kid dressed up as a cow (homemade costume) and we gave out homemade cookies and small milks.
2) Kid dressed up as a fireman and we gave out shalach manos in plastic (orientral trading) firehats with spicy “hot” food.
3) Upsherin year- kid dressed up as a torah (homemade costume) and we gave out angel “hair” pasta salad.
4) Son, me and husband wore pizza aprons and chef hats, baby was a pizza slice. Make cakes that looked like pizzas (red frosting and shredded coconut on top) given out in pizza delivery boxes.
4)  Kids were lions, me and my husband dressed in safari clothing. Shalach manos was animal crackers and other stuff that I can’t remember.
5) Kids were the cat in the hat, me and my husband were Thing One and Thing Two. Gave out shalach manos in fleace hats that were on sale at old navy for 10 cents each in the summer. Made cakes that looked like cats faces and put it in the hat 🙂

Healthy by Rivki

Last year I did homemade hummus with veggies. That was a big hit. People appreciate ‘real food’ with all the junk they get throughout the day.


Aren’t these all such great ideas? Told you my readers are amazing! And I’ve still got 10 more to share with you tomorrow.

Have you ever done anything similar? Do you also match your costume to your mishloach manot?

And finally, don’t forget to comment with your favorite idea… the submission with the most comments will win a $10 Amazon Gift Card!


  1. julielynn says

    My Target has those divided lunch trays in the dishes section! I think they were $2.99 for a set of four rectangular plates with sections. Red, navy blue, and maybe one other color.

  2. Super cute ideas. I don’t think we have ever gotten that involved. Kudos for the creativity. I like the hot chocolate in a jar best if I had to choose.

    • Hate to burst bubbles, but the Halacha is 2 x READY TO EAT items…. So anything that requires prep by recipients is not a kosher mishloach… Oops! Great thought tho…

      • Leah Sarah says

        It’s a very late comment but just in case anyone now is browsing for mishloach manot ideas… The jar with the hot chocolate mix has marshmallows and cookies in it, which are two ready-to-eat food items not involved in the actual preparation of hot chocolate, so totally kosher!

        • did you ask a qualified rabbi about that? I’m not machmir, oy vay believe me (!), but I’d really be interested to know for my own understanding of the whole 2-foods thing. thanks! btw, that WAS a long time ago!

          • there r 2 things u need to make sure of with mishlochi manot. 2 ready to eat and 2 different brachot. so a cake and an apple qualify

  3. Sorry but pun-y by Chani is pretty cute too

  4. Tali Simon says

    I love the Mexican theme. If we ever do this, I’m going to look for Mexican hats to put everything in. Maybe I should just keep an eye out for those all year ’round…

    A friend of mine once did an Italian theme — a bag of pasta, biscotti, and pasta sauce in a plastic strainer!

    • No need to travel to Mexico! A few years ago, I did a Mexican theme and stuffed it all into a minature piñata courtesy aoriental Trading. Try stuffing it with hot tamales, kumquats or a mini mango and a few tortilla chips. My kids loved it, they are small so you can do a ton. But, if you want to buy the bigger piñatas, you can really go crazy with chips, salsa, mangos, black beans, etc.

  5. Tziporah says

    I like the healthy food idea. I really like when people give you something for than just junk food.

  6. I vote for “healthy” by Rivki. But I’d like it even better if there were ideas on what to put the hummus in. Actually, I have an idea creeping into my head, though it would be much less healthy: “Don’t Mess With The Zohan” theme: hummus, (and veggies), Israeli soda (fizzy bubblech), and Israeli chocolates. I won’t do this though – probably just stick to the hummus and veg. And of course, some hamentaschen!

  7. I don’t know if you making your own black and white cookies is an option, but has a great recipe. I’ve made them before, they’re delicious and fairly easy to make. Probably alot more frugal than a bakery.

  8. So far School Lunches by Tziporah and Pun-y by Chani get my votes (am I aloud more than one vote? 🙂
    Also wondering how Healthy by Rivki “presented” it because I love that idea too:)

  9. caroline says

    I think we’re going to copy…er, use… the s’mores idea. So cute, so much more creative than grape juice, hamentaschen, and hershey’s miniatures!

  10. healthy by Rivki-I like to give ral food and I love getting real food.

  11. It’s a tie for me between the smores and the mexican theme.

  12. Love the black, white, and red theme from Frayda. Cute 🙂

  13. Hot Chocolate in a Jar by Sheva

  14. Love them all. Especially Healthy. In fact I am doing that this year. I am getting those sectional platters with the circle in the middle for the chumus ( but I am making a dip) and one of the sections I’ll put breadsticks fir the second bracha.

    • Hi,
      I learned for many many years that you need a 2 brachos. But in my middle school- seminary/school years, I was told by my teachers that it is NOT correct. You only need 2 Minim- as in Mishloach MANOS- two different TYPES of food. As in an apple or orange. Candy and a shahakol kuggel would also be ok. I have checked this out with Rabbis.
      Feel free to ask your own Rav,but ever since I learned this, everyone has told me that this is true.

  15. I believe the halacha is 2 ready-to-eat items that are 2 different brachas – e.g. a mezonos and a shehakol – and ideally should be something you can eat as part of the seudah (although I don’t think anyone actually does that!)
    Last year we had just gotten a dog named Gorilla, so we did the theme, “Megillah Gorilla” (anyone remember that old tv show?) I made dog bone-shaped cookies, and put in different items relating to either dogs or gorillas (banana laffy taffy, candy hot dog, etc.) and then wrote a short poem on “parchment” (the “megillah”) tying it all together. It was really cute and everyone loved it.
    I’ve done pizza themes (got “pizza slice” dishes at the dollar store and filled them with pizza ingredients), Japanese theme (“shushi” made from rice crispies & marshmallow mixture rolled with gummy worms and fruit roll-ups.) A friend did “tea time” with jam, cookies, and tea bags all together in a little jam pot. Just have fun!

  16. we’re doing the wild animals/ safari theme this year. please try and remember what else you gave besides animal crackers. thanks!

    • little bags of granola or granola bars; binoculars (oriental trading); “paw print” cookies — if you can’t find a cookie cutter, then cut rounds or squares of cookies and press a “paw print” into it, using the base of your palm and pads of your fingers.

  17. “Shabbat Sides” by Skai tickled me pink. It would be expensive if you were making mishloach manot for 20 or 100 people, but if you’re doing the required 2 mishloach manot baskets for 2 different individuals or families, it’s perfect. Even if you’re only giving to, say, five very close friends, it’s still practical, and it would save a harried person some time on a Friday afternoon. Next year, I think I’ll do this. Everyone else can have an apple and a mini-bottle of Kedem grape juice; I can afford to buy and keep tons of those around for anyone who happens to drop by.

  18. Bleemie Levy says

    im the oldest of a bunch of little siblings so every year im the one who organizes the whole purim theme. last year the little ones dressed up as candy land (9 yr old was a candy cane, 5 yr old was princess lollipop and 4 yr old was king candy) for shaloch monos i baked cookies. i colered the dough with food colering and divided it into four different colers. i then, shaped out a ginger bread, a candy cane and and a swirl lollipop with every coler and baked it with a stick inside. i put it on a pretty, fake china plate with a candy land napkin and jelly beans.

  19. Just wondering if “Pun-y by Chani” remembers what you did with lion mishloach manos besides for animal crackers?? That is all I bought so far and can’t think of what else to put in or what to put it in……. (that is not too expensive too).

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