Purim is right around the corner! It’s such a fun holiday, and there are so many aspects to it that we mustn’t forget. It’s definitely worth thinking about a few weeks in advance.
Off the top of my head, here are the parts of Purim that tend to make us spend money: Costumes, especially for families with a bunch of kids (but I also know adults who go “all out”); Purim Seudah – a festive meal; Mishloach Manot - sending gifts of food to friends; and Matanot La’Evyonim – gifts to the poor.
So how does a family keep it all under control, in perspective, and yet still make it a festive day?
I’m sure you can hunt down any number of articles about how to get costumes for less (ebay, thrift shops, make your own all come to mind. We tend to make our own. Or for princess costumes, we bought dresses at the thrift shop or from the clearance rack that just needed a bit of embellishment).
Matanot La’Evyonim – don’t skimp. Give as much as you can.
Seudah – the meal. You can make it festive and frugal just follow these Budget Minded Holiday Tips.
Mishloach Manot – here is where people almost always go overboard. At the risk of sounding a bit grinch-like, I am going to advocate seriously examining our mishloach manot. Does it need to be full of candy? Junk food? Processed who-knows-what? Way back when the mitzvah was established people sent ACTUAL food to one another. So I am going to advocate taking these measures:
1. Keep your list short
2. Keep your gift basket simple – the elaborately themed mishloach manot contest has kind of gotten out of control.
3.Skip the candy and junk, if you are brave enough. Or at least keep it to a minimum...
4. Use foods that are in-season, on sale, or that you have available to you in abundance.
So here’s my plan for this year – I want to use what I have in abundance. I will be sending lemon quick breads, and oranges (we have 1 lemon tree and 4 orange trees in our yard). And a mini chocolate bread (I’m including the recipe below) – because it’s a really delicious sweet treat, and still sort of like real food. I didn’t say skip the fun!
Have a Happy Purim! I’d love to hear about your Mishloach Manot and your ideas for having a frugal Purim!