JYP’s Purim Advice Guide: 5 Great Tips For A Not Terrible Purim

I know what you’re thinking:

  1. How the heck is JYP, the extreme extrovert who sucks at baking hamantaschen, hates spending time in her community around similarly-aged people with children and detests leyning megillah so much that she’ll skip town in order to get out of it going to offer me any practical advice when I’m a competent home cook/introvert (or non-crazy extrovert)/have children/like helping my community/am a normal person? Is this post some kind of weird Purim joke??
  2. Um, Purim is over. Worst Purim joke ever!

To this I say:

  1. Just because my advice is useless to you doesn’t mean that I’m going to refrain from giving it. Have you read this blog? I love giving advice! (Also, it makes my Purim 5783 recap more entertaining to read, which is always the goal.)
  2. Have you read this blog? I never write time-sensitive posts on time. My Rosh Hashanah 5783 recap post is now ~5 months overdue and counting.

Without further ado,

1) Don’t Do All The Things

There are four mitzvot (commandments) of Purim:

  1. Hearing the megillah
  2. Giving gifts of food to friends (mishloach manot)
  3. Giving gifts of money/food to the poor (matanot laevyonim)
  4. Have a special Purim festive meal (Purim Seudah)

There are also other things that one might feel compelled to do:

  1. Wearing (which means coming up with and making) a creative Purim costume
  2. Hosting a Purim seudah
  3. Coming up with an entertaining Purim shpiel (usually a humorous parody skit, song, poem, or performance)
  4. Baking hamantaschen
  5. Giving out creatively themed mishloach manot with a fun poem
  6. Learning, giving a class or dvar (short “sermon”)
  7. Leyning the megillah (learning to properly chant the megillah from the scroll with no vowels, punctuation, or musical notes) and doing it for the congregation.

This is a lot of things and unless you have super skillz and super time management capabilities, you will not be able to do all of them or do all of them happily. We’re not supposed to pick and choose, but if you want to enjoy the holiday, you should pick what is most meaningful, do that, and skip the rest.

JYP’s extremely scientific theory: Enjoyment of Purim is inversely proportional to the length of your Purim to do list. Photo by Suzy Hazelwood: https://www.pexels.com/photo/notebook-1226398/

2) Bake

This totally contradicts what I just said. Baking hamantaschen is optional – why bother with that one? But there is something nice and hands-on about baking that can lead one to feel more spirit and excitement about the holiday.

Of course, as a chef, I’m incompetent and lazy, so I wasn’t really going to make hamantaschen (fun fact: I made hamantaschen once for a guy I was dating and they came out as flat circles instead of triangles-shaped filled pastries and they tasted mediocre and bland; the guy later decided to marry me, so I can only assume that if now-husband ever made hamantaschen, his were even worse).

What hamantaschen are supposed to look like. “Purim Hamentashen” by slgckgc is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Instead I decided to cheat and make “faux hamantaschen” (aka normal cookies) using a boxed mix.

Husband and I split one of the ugly-looking cookies to make sure they came out ok before giving them out to people.

JYP: What do you think?

Husband: It’s fine. I mean, it really just takes like butter.

JYP: Well that was the instruction on the package – add butter. It didn’t even call for egg. Just add a bunch of butter.

Husband: Well, it tastes like it.

What I actually made. Image by rodeopix from Pixabay

3) Compromise

I wanted to go to evening megillah reading that was:

  • Geared towards “young professionals” (aka singles) because I didn’t want to interact with anyone with small children
  • Located far away from Current Location [so I’d have a good excuse for not leyning megillah (I always get asked and I hate leyning megillah because I dislike megillah trope and having an extra task to do for Purim) and also for not seeing local friend-parents with small children]
  • Serving dinner
  • Charging a lot of money per ticket, because it was a party geared for young professionals serving food, alcohol, and providing entertainment
The Purim experience I wanted. Photo by Maurício Mascaro: https://www.pexels.com/photo/crowd-dances-in-blue-painted-enclosure-1154189/

Husband wanted to go to an evening megillah reading that was:

  • Not geared towards singles (and instead geared for people our age with small children)
  • In Current Location (because Husband had no problem making me look bad for not volunteering to leyn megillah)
  • Not serving food
  • Free
The Purim experience Husband wanted. Photo by Steven Libralon on Unsplash

We compromised and went to evening megillah reading at Hometown Synagogue which was:

  • Neither geared towards singles nor parents of young children, as Hometown Synagogue largely consists of people aged 60 and up.
  • Not expecting me to leyn megillah because we signed up last minute
  • Serving food
  • Charging some money to cover dinner, but not as expensive as the fancy Purim parties for singles.
The type of Purim experience we got. Photo by Kampus Production: https://www.pexels.com/photo/friends-holding-champagne-glasses-7810941/

4) Try on your Purim costume BEFORE Purim

It was supposed to be a classy flapper dress.

The look I was going for. Image by Harmony Lawrence from Pixabay

Unfortunately, since I’ve put weight since whenever I last wore the dress (at least 4 years ago – I didn’t wear a Purim costume the last three years), the effect was less, “classy 1920s flapper” and more “Bourbon Street whore” – the poor dress was stretched so tight over my stomach and ass that it was criminally short, and my normally average-sized boobs looked massive.

The look I ended up with. Photo by Godisable Jacob: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-woman-in-red-fringe-mini-dress-813279/

This might have been fine if I were going to the Purim party for singles. But I was going to visit my parents. And, since I was too stupid to think of trying on my costume before 5 minutes before we had to leave, I was stuck going to Purim with my parents as a fat Bourbon Street whore.

Moral of the story: You don’t need to wear a costume on Purim. Put if you are going to wear a Purim costume, try it on before Purim so you know if it fits.

5) Moderate your drinking

On Purim there’s an idea that one is supposed to get so drunk that one can’t tell the difference between Mordechai (the hero of the Purim story) and Haman (the villain of the Purim story).

Setting aside the obvious problems with excessive drinking, there are other pitfalls that could happen:

  • You could end up misinterpreting some newlywed’s statement about marriage during conversation and revealing more than you intended about your own fucked up non-newlywed marriage.
  • You could end up flirting with a single guy at the Purim seudah at the rabbi’s house on Tuesday right in front of the rebbitzen – ok, that one wasn’t entirely my fault. I’d learned from my costume mistake on Monday night and I was wearing an incredibly unsexy outfit that was not form-fitting and showed zero cleavage, and this guy started flirting with me anyway. (It so happens that in spite of my incredibly lackluster looks and my marital status, I am surprisingly good at flirting…)
  • You could end up having a really shitty work day on Wednesday, leading to three days in a row of excessive weekday drinking, which your body will not appreciate.
Mitzvah or not, don’t go too crazy on this. Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

Well there you have it – all the Purim advice you need 376 days early for next year! Who says I don’t publish timely content!


  1. I’m trying to think of a secular equivalent, and I just can’t, except possibly a Halloween themed luau pool party with Chubby Checker imposters and The Archie’s–the original Archies–and a poetry reading contest, for entertainment. And that would make me tired.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The costume thing had me rolling on the floor! I never knew what this holiday was so thank you for providing the links. It’s interesting how a non-humorous story seems to have turned into a holiday that sounds fun.

    Liked by 1 person

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