December 19, 2013

A Brief History of Gift Wrapping

Posted by at 1:50 am in Trivia | Permalink

wrap130Did you know that half of the 85 million tons of paper products Americans use each year is packaging, wrapping, or decoration? Wrapping presents is serious business! But when did it start? And where?

Wrapping paper has its roots in Victorian England. Wealthy people would use fancy paper decorated with ribbons and lace to present gifts. This paper tore pretty easily, so Victorians began using plain brown paper or tissue paper instead. This was how people wrapped gifts until 1917, when an accidental discovery gave birth to the wrapping paper we are now so familiar with.

Two brothers—Joyce and Rollie Hall—ran out of tissue paper in their Kansas City, MO stationery store, so they started selling paper used to line envelopes instead. The paper was a huge hit, and with the invention of Scotch tape twenty years later, we’ve never looked back. Joyce and Rollie Hall expanded their store, Hallmark, into a company that sells greeting cards and, yes, lots and lots of wrapping paper!giftwrap5

But paper isn’t the only way to package gifts.Traditional Japanese wrapping cloth, known as furoshiki, is one gift wrapping that’s stayed popular in Japanese culture since nearly 700 C.E. Recently, the Japanese Environment Ministry has been encouraging more people to use furoshiki instead of wrapping paper because it’s reusable and better for the environment.

Other ways to be eco-friendly with gift wrap? Try using newspaper, paper bags, and old maps or calendars. They make for very unique and planet-friendly alternatives to traditional wrapping paper! Take a look at these awesome examples . . . .

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Get creative with your gift wrapping this season! Do you have any ideas for cool wrapping paper  options? Share in the Comments!

– En-Szu, STACKS Staffer

Flickr images courtesy of a_b_normal123, Cali4beach, LizMarie_AK, torbakhopper, and rvacapinta.

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