Mishloach manot are gifts of food that friends (and prospective new friends!) exchange on Purim. We are instructed in the scroll of Esther (9:19) to send gifts to one another. Jewish families make mishloach manot at home and distribute them to friends. Often presented in baskets, mishloach manot include at least two different types of food, including , the traditional three-sided pastry eaten on Purim. Many families purchase or bake hamantaschen to include in these baskets and to enjoy at home. Mishloach manot may also include a wide variety of foods and treats. These gifts are frequently referred to by their Yiddish name, shalachmanos.
Matanot l'evyonim (gifts to the poor), a second Purim tradition, are gifts given at this season to those in need so that they, too, can celebrate Purim with a special meal (Esther 9:22). Many families have committed to participating in this important social justice aspect of the holiday.
Check out this cute video for creative mishloach manot ideas: