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  • Writer's pictureMaKenzie Hall

A Brief History on Gift Wrapping & Trending Eco Friendly Alternatives

By MaKenzie Hall

Written for: The Design Craft @ Hello Creative Co. Internship, 2021

Published on: The Design Craft

Nothing quite beats the joy of seeing a peer or loved one unwrapping a gift you bought them for a special day. It is the final meaningful touch to add a bit of personality or cheer to an already thoughtful experience. However, did you know in participating in this $2.6 trillion tradition, 42.5 million tons of paper products are consumed annually (and that’s excluding non holiday consumption). How did this timeless tradition come to be?

Gift wrapping has been around for a long time, starting in roughly the 1600s, Edo period Japan was using furoshiki, a reusable wrapping cloth. During the Three Kingdoms Period, Koreans used the bojagi, a square piece of fabric believed to be a symbol of protection and good luck when wrapped around an item. Moving forward in the western world, upper class Victorians frequently used paper, ribbons, and lace to cover presents as a practice of luxury. As the world progressed into the 20th century tissue paper was a popular choice and manilla grew in popularity, as well. However, wrapping paper as we currently know it came to be in 1917. Created by Joyce and Rollie Hall in Kansas City, Missouri, their stationery store was having an outstanding holiday season and they ran out of tissue paper for gift wrapping so they decided to use the fancier paper used to line envelopes and that sold out as well. After their initial success the brothers then began producing and selling their own wrapping paper in 1919. Can you guess the name of these stationery staples? That’s right, it’s none other than Hallmark.

What’s the problem with traditional wrapping paper? Besides the outlandish prices, it’s just not sustainable. Traditional wrapping paper is made with poor quality fibres that are dyed, coated in plastic, and decorated which makes it unrecyclable both in product and packaging. Then it just ends up in our garbage and when a majority of the world is doing the same thing, as you read prior, it adds up quickly.

Eco Friendly Alternatives

Not ready to say goodbye to gift wrap? Good news! You don’t have to. There are many eco friendly and sustainable ways to continue wrapping your gifts for peers and loved ones. Here are “x” gift wrapping alternatives you might not have thought of and some can even be considered another gift in itself.

  1. Fabric

  2. Newspaper

  3. Jars

  4. Totes

  5. Baskets

  6. Boxes

  7. Clay Pots

  8. Art Scraps

  9. Local Sustainable Seller

  10. Reusable Wrapping or Gift Bags

  11. Reusable Wrapping Paper

  12. Tape and Ribbon

Want to support a local, eco-friendly design business? Check out The Design Craft!


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