Wrapping paper is expensive and wasteful. One study estimated that in Britain, people throw away 365,000 kilometers of wrapping paper over the holidays alone – enough to stretch nine times around the world. In another study, it was estimated that people spend around $2.6 billion annually on wrapping paper
(wrap your head around that!)
So why do we do it? Why do we waste money on such a frivolous activity? Why do we kill trees for decoration? In its favour wrapping paper is pretty, arty, and it’s one way, among others, to make even the most impersonal offerings – gift cards, electronics, even cash – seem meaningful. Also, some environmentally conscious people have started resorting to unwrapping gifts carefully in order for the paper to be reused. Others use a decorated cloth gift sack that can be used many times. Additionally, some people use old newspapers to wrap their gifts.
But where did the custom of wrapping gifts originate from? It can be traced as far back as the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) right here in China! Monetary gifts were wrapped with paper, forming an envelope known as a chih pao. The wrapped gifts were distributed by the Chinese court to government officials. We also all know that in China red connotes luck, so there’s a gift-wrapping tip for you; wrap your gifts in red!
In Western culture the prevailing Legend of Wrapping Paper starts in 1917 with two brothers in their stationers’ shop in Kansas City, Missouri. Holiday business had been so brisk that year, they’d run out of the holiday-wrap of the day: tissue paper, in red, green, and white. So they dug up fancy French paper meant to line envelopes, the brothers slapped on a price tag of 10 cents per roll and sold it retail. Boom! Instant sell-out. Fast forward to 1919: the two brothers started printing their own custom wrapping paper for the holidays, thus launching a business now worth an estimated $3.2 billion. The brothers? Joyce and Rollie Hall. Their store? Hallmark.
So How Do We Wrap Gifts?
1. Remove all price tags.
If you are unable to, get a black pen and black out the price.
2. Put the gift in a box, if it isn’t in one already. This optional step will make the gift easier to wrap.
3. Mark your cut lines.
Especially if cutting in straight lines is difficult for you, be diligent about this. Use a straight edge (like a ruler) or you can fold neatly along the line you will need to cut along, unfold, and cut along the fold.
4. Place the gift or box upside down in the middle of your paper.
5. Fold the paper around the gift.
On the horizontal side of the paper, take one side and fold it over to the bottom of your gift. Then take the other side, folding it over, too. Take the longer side and fold it under so that you have a nice smooth crease instead of jagged cutting. Put it on top of the other end and pull it tight. Then tape together. Fold the paper around the gift. On the horizontal side of the paper, take one side and fold it over to the bottom of your gift. Then take the other side, folding it over, too. Take the longer side and fold it under so that you have a nice smooth crease instead of jagged cutting. Put it on top of the other end and pull it tight. Then tape together.
6. Fold one side of the box at a time.
On one end of your package, fold the corners in so you have a triangle. Fold the straight end over, then pull it to the top of your package. Tape. Repeat on the other side.
So there you have it, it’s not really that hard at all. It’s easy to make a good impression, as a neatly wrapped gift makes it look more carefully chosen. All you have to do is to be patient and gentle. Merry Christmas!