The Gift of Baskets

TBH this is a weird one but let's do it.

Chag Sameach!

Which is just Hebrew for “happy holidays!” Now you are probably thinking to yourself, what holiday is it. Well, today is Purim… it’s a holiday that really isn’t very widely celebrated and I wasn’t going to celebrate it either, but I made a TikTok joke about it (which a lot of people took the wrong way) and the video blew up so I woke up to tons of comments asking about how to celebrate Purim and even if you can if you aren’t Jewish. A lot of those comments said, “You can’t celebrate a Jewish holiday because it’s a closed religion” which is 1) not true and 2) makes us sound like a cult. 

So for today's Craft Cult, and I know it’s a little on the late side but, I wanted to share how to make any box into a gift basket. On Purim Jews make Mischloach Manot. These are festive gift baskets you send to friends and others. These gift baskets can have anything in them, but customarily, wine, candy, noisemakers, and hamantaschen are favorites. And Jews certainly do not have the copyright on gift baskets, so I am hoping you can use the big picture of this newsletter for anything you celebrate. 

I start my gift baskets with a box for a couple of reasons. 1) I don’t have baskets lying around often 2) the basket usually becomes trash. People don’t actually care about them. You can use a bag, but I use a box because it’s easy to upcycle and it allows for better presentation. I often keep fancy boxes for this, but any box will work. 

I start by covering up any logos or branding. You can use paint, colorful paper, in this case, it’s pretty small so I am using ribbon. I use a small line of hot glue to tack down my ribbon. 

Next, it’s time for tissue paper. I always keep mine to reuse for my Etsy business, so it is a little more wrinkled sometimes than I would like. 

For gift boxes, I cut a large piece into four rectangles. 

Once you have your rectangles, use three of them to cover each side of the inside of your box. Let the top of the rectangle drape over the side. Then take the fourth and use it to disguise the bottom of the box. 

After you have lined your box it should look something like this. 

Add any other decorations that you would like. I added a bow to mine. And then it’s time to fill it up. 

Since it is Purim, I made hamentashen for mine. What’s a hamantaschen? It’s a jam-filled cookie that either is supposed to look like a hat or an ear depending on who you ask, but you always eat it on Purim to celebrate an evil person dying. 

Now, anyone who knows me knows, I am a good cook but a really medium baker. So I used this recipe. It’s called Craft Cult not Bake Cult. It is not as good in my opinion as the recipes that use butter instead of oil but it is impossible to mess up. The easiest I have ever used. The only change I make is I always use an egg wash at the end. 

When my hamentashen were done, I was ready to gather and assemble. I got some sweets and the very traditional Jewish sweet of honey as well as a mask since you are supposed to dress up for Purim and alcohol since you are supposed to drink on Purim. 

Whenever I do a gift basket, I like to get at least two large items and then several items that have different shapes, this helps visually. So even when it comes to candy, get candy that comes in different shapes or sizes. It will help with putting everything together. 

If your box is deep like mine, add a little extra tissue paper to the bottom, it will make everything sit higher and look more bountiful. 

I always put in my biggest items first, one all the way to one side and the other to the other. This will break up your baskets into four quadrants, with two of them being full or over full. Also, I hate using ziplocks in a gift basket, but with these cookies, I kind of had to, so I put the closure on the back and underside. 

We are then going to use the smaller items to fill in the gaps. I start with the largest of the smaller items and work down.

Make sure everything is as visible as you can. I usually leave like objects together, but you can also break them up if you need to for coverage. 

And I always finish with a card. 

So, here is my final basket. 

Hope this was a fun one and I really know I should have published it earlier in the week, but hey, maybe you can use it for easter.

I wanted to stoplight a resource this week that helps the Asian American community. Recently, hate crimes towards Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been on the rise. If you haven’t heard about it, here is a rundown. This resource, Stop AAPI Hate, has ways to help, a place to report crimes, and also a ton of reports if you need more information.

Stay safe and as always, stay crafting.