I hate party favor bags. Call me a big old stinky-butt (I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before my own daughters do) but I don’t understand why parents insist on sending home a bag of crap every time my daughter attends a birthday party. The goodies (a misnomer if I ever heard one) typically consist of some combination of junk-food and just plain junk. Usually from China. So far, we haven’t held any birthday parties (see? I really am a big old stinky-butt) but when we do, I promise I will not send my guests off with a bag of chazarai.
Which leads me to Purim, the ultimate chazarai giveaway. I suppose one could make an argument that mishloach manot, the gifts of food we deliver to friends and family on Purim, are even more insidious than goodie-bags. By sending your kids to a birthday party, you’ve signed on to a tacit age-old agreement to take home some crap. But mishloach manot deliveries catch you totally unawares. They arrive at your doorstep like an abandoned baby. (Or, more accurately, like abandoned octuplets if you have a lot of Jewish friends.) While the mitzvah is to deliver a 2 different kinds of foods, some Jews have a tendency to go a little over the top, if you can believe that.
Over the next few days, I’ll be blogging about our attempts to make green, simple, and if we’re successful, truly appreciated mishloach manot. In the meantime, I’d like your ideas. Can one create mishloach manot (or your goodie-bags, for that matter) that instill the value that less-is-more? If so, how? And what favorite treats are you including this year?