In one week, we’ll be preparing our deliveries of Mishloach Manot, gifts of at least two kinds of food that are traditionally delivered to friends and family on Purim. What goes in our mishloach manot? Hamentashen, of course, and if you haven’t tried my great-grandmother’s recipe then you simply haven’t had Hamentashen. We usually make at least one other kind of baked good, and add some bags of homemade kettle corn (the foods in the container should require at least two different brachot.)

But what about the container itself? Many families with young children opt for the ubiquitous paper-plate-qua-hamentashen, mysteriously dubbed “unique” by my friends at Kveller. From an environmental perspective, you could do a lot worse than wasting one paper plate. But esthetically? The Jewish Martha Stewart would not approve.
Of course, you can put your treats in a container that the recipient can put to use for another purpose (a lunchbox, a baseball hat, a bandana, a ceramic bowl.) But, if you are trying be economical, or artsy, or just reduce the amount of “stuff” changing hands (I’d raise my glass to all three), then these aren’t good choices.
Our favorite baskets are made from cereal boxes. We cut off one side, and retool part of that side to make a handle, and then decorate the boxes inside and out with art materials. I led an art workshop last spring where we made a whole tableful of these containers.
If you prefer a basket that closes, and looks a little fancier, here’s a great blog post with a variety of printable templates to lay over your deconstructed cereal boxes.

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This year our family is experimenting with a new container, which I’m planning to make with my kindergarteners as well. Because I try to save almost anything pretty or interesting for my classroom art studio, we have heaps of small bits of tissue paper left over from other projects. We’re going to turn these scraps into tissue paper bowls, which we will fill with a few, small treats. Here are some directions for this project from Family Fun, written by the brilliant Catherine Newman. (You’ve read Waiting for Birdy, right? Right? Trust me, it has nothing whatsoever to do with crafting.) Here’s one of ours, made by my best friend’s toddler. I’m pointing to is so you can distinguish it from my head. Photo Booth does not do justice to the lovely stained glass effect . (On the bright side, it obscures my gray hair nicely too.)
I made the mistake of mentioning the idea of a fully edible basket to my daughters. I’ve found a recipe for making a basket constructed entirely of cookies. Whether I have the time and patience to try it out…..well, that’s another blog post. If you, however, can manage to lay unbaked cookies neatly over a loaf pan, please send me a picture of your results.
What will you be putting your mishloach manot in this year? And what will you be putting in the thing you put them in? Homeshuling wants to know.
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