A Poorer Purim? Poll Finds Israelis Cutting Back on Holiday Gift Baskets

A nationwide poll of 500 participants found that 10% of Israelis who follow the tradition of distributing packages of goodies on Purim intend to cut back on expenditures this year by 30% to 50% compared with last year.

Israel’s worsening economic situation is putting a damper on the country’s holiday giving spirit. A nationwide poll of 500 participants found that 10% of Israelis who follow the tradition of distributing packages of goodies on Purim intend to cut back on expenditures this year by 30% to 50% compared with last year.

The survey, conducted for the Chasdei Naomi charitable foundation, one of Israel’s largest food package distributors to the needy, indicates that 58% of the population makes it a practice to distribute Purim packages: 28% said they’re willing to spend up to NIS 50 a basket, 26% said they’ll spend between NIS 50 and NIS 100, and 26% were willing to spend over NIS 200.

Of those surveyed, 2% − mostly Jerusalem residents − said this year will be the first time they’ll forgo giving baskets due to financial difficulties, while those who said they will bestow cheaper items live mainly in the South.

Buying Purim baskets is a long-standing practice but the baskets’ components change from year to year based on the products coming on the market, and vary according to whom they’re intended for: When it comes to relatives and close friends, most people are willing to dig deeper into their pockets. But many parents feel a need to spend more than average on Purim baskets for their children’s kindergartens and schools, and this just adds to the expense for costumes and accessories.

Ronnie, who lives in the central region, told the TheMarker that since his two children are in the educational system he obviously needs to prepare parcels for the holiday as requested. “My son’s kindergarten asked that we prepare two packages, while my daughter’s school asked for three this time: one for the needy, one for soldiers, and one to exchange with classmates.”

The best way to save money is obviously by putting together the parcels independently. Parents can choose cheaper products along with well-known brands, and assemble a dignified basket according to what they’re prepared to spend.

A price comparison through mysupermarket.co.il found that private label treats can be bought at major supermarket chains at substantial savings over leading brands. The difference between eight brand-name items and their equivalent private label substitutes at Super-Sol came to 20%, while at Mega the difference was 31% on seven items. At Rami Levy, where the comparison only covered five items, the difference in price was over 27%.

Tali Shani
Doram Gaunt