I am super excited to share this guest post from my sister, Becky! Today, she’s sharing some great ideas for how to celebrate Passover through a care package.
I love Passover seders. It’s a time of reflection, learning, culture, family and friends rooted deeply in ancient traditions. I’ve celebrated Passover just a handful of times, as a non-Jewish observer with my Jewish husband. It signaled the beginning of the Passover/Easter marathon that we would embark on, sometimes attending three or more religious services, visiting 3 sets of relatives, and potentially 3 sit-down holiday meals. I love it.
Today, I count myself as a dual faith celebrant. Sure, living in a family with two religions can be challenging, but mostly it is beautiful, interesting, and fun.
At Passovers past, I looked forward to dressing up, traveling, spending time with my partner’s family members, catching up with family friends, participating in the rituals, listening to the stories, and eating delicious food that always seemed new to me. I have even won Passover Trivia, thanks to my diligent studying the night before my first Passover meal. I wore that as a badge of honor proudly for years (me! The non-Jewish person won!).
For many, last year was the first year ever that we attended a seder via Zoom. This year, we’ll be Zooming again as we wait for our loved ones to get vaccines. Next year, hopefully we’ll be together again. It certainly gives new meaning to the phrase, “Next year, in person!”
But no matter the reason we may be separated from loved ones, a Passover care package is a lovely way to make the people we’d normally be with in person feel included and loved.
When is Passover?
The Gregorian calendar date of Passover changes every year with the lunar calendar. It always happens in the spring, but sometimes can be very early or late, depending on when the 15th day of Nissan (the Hebrew month) falls during a particular year. Passover is celebrated for seven days.
Mail considerations for Passover
You’ll want to pay particular attention to Passover’s date at least two months in advance. This will give you enough time to shop, create, and send. Shipping deadlines and timelines will vary depending where you’re sending the Passover care package. On a positive note, unlike the shipping chaos that happens in the lead up to Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and the New Year, your shipping times will most likely not be backed up or delayed, simply because there isn’t a crush of mail in the spring. If you are shipping this package overseas and/or through military mail, make sure that you account for extra time as well.
Put these items in a Passover care package
First things first, stock your box with items to get them through the Passover week.
- You’re going to need matzo. It’s Passover, so if this isn’t the first item you’re packing, what are you doing?
- You’re going to need stuff to put on the matzo, like almond butter, fruit jam, or my personal favorite, Nutella. When it comes to these items, remember that packaging and convenience are important. If you opt for sending glass jars, make sure that you’re packaging and insulating them properly to avoid breakage and leakage. If you know that storing half-eaten jars is going to be an issue, consider sending single-serve packets. (And yes, they have single-serve packets of Nutella too!)
- If your loved one has a place and means to prepare a mix, kosher onion dip can also be added to the care package for a matzo topping.
- Add a snack with macaroons. There are a variety of flavors including cappuccino chip, carrot cake, chocolate, red velvet, pistachio orange, and birthday cake. Yes, please.
- Don’t forget to include kosher coffee. There are a bunch of options. Make sure that you choose one that your recipient can actually use. For example, if they don’t have access to a coffee maker, get them instant coffee. If they don’t have a bean grinder, do not send whole bean coffee; make sure it’s ground.
- There are kosher for Passover jerkies that add flavor and protein to Passover meals and snacks, depending on where your loved one is and what their situation is.
- Quinoa is a great base for meals and can be made in the microwave. You’ll want to make sure that your loved one has access to a microwave and simple utensils/kitchenware for preparing this item.
- Farfel is always a favorite, but again, just like sending quinoa, make sure that your loved one has a way to prepare it.
- A simple yarmulke might be a nice touch, depending on your recipient. There are a variety of styles, so you can pick out one that
Set the seder table:
- You’ll most likely not want to send a family heirloom for the seder plate. Instead, look at break-resistant options like melamine seder plates or paper, disposable ones.
- And speaking of disposable tableware, there’s plenty of Passover-themed party packs of festive plates, cups, and napkins. If you’re having a hard time finding Passover designs, you can always opt for solid color tableware, like blue, white, or yellow.
- I really can’t resist anything that has a matzo print. It definitely adds some fun to a holiday that your loved one is spending away from family and familiar traditions.
- Of course, you’ll need horseradish for the seder plate. You can choose between white horseradish and red horseradish. Either way, make sure you’re packaging carefully if you choose to send a glass jar.
- Include parsley and charoset. Your loved one will have to source the shank bone, egg, and leafy greens to complete the plate. (Of course, you can always send a plastic egg and get creative with kale chips to replace leafy greens, too.)
- Gluten-free microwave meals are a nice touch, but make sure they’re labeled kosher for Passover.
For the meal:
- Send grape juice in lieu of wine. But make sure that you’re packaging it well so that it doesn’t leak and ruin the rest of the care package. Always double-bag in Ziploc bags, making sure to squeeze the air out as you zip it closed. If you’re really nervous about sending liquids through the mail, consider sending a powdered or concentrated liquid grape juice mix.
- Sorry, guys. You can’t leave out the gefilte fish, no matter how much you’d like to. There are varieties available in cans and jars.
- They can top ready-to-eat matzo ball soup with these little matzo croutons.
- Just in case you’re all Zoomed out, here’s a haggadah that might be helpful.
- I’m going to be honest, I love chocolate covered matzah. You can choose between dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and sprinkles.
- And don’t forget to email them your Zoom link!
- If you’ve gotten to the bottom of this list and are feeling overwhelmed by this care package, it’s okay! There are actually products called “Seder in a Box” that comes as a pre-built care package. You can choose which ever variety you prefer for your loved one and send it direct to them. (If you’re sending APO/FPO/DPO, double-check to make sure that the provider will send through the military mail. Amazon broadly does, but there are often exceptions.)
Chag Pesach samech!
Looking For More Care Package Ideas? Try These:
- 40 Ways to Save Money on Care Packages
- The Gigantic List of Free Care Packages for Deployed Service Members
- Here’s What Troops Really Want in a Care Package