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What Is the Purpose of Gift Wrapping? The Secrecy Revealed!

Someone wrapping a gift with gray paper and ribbons with hands making a bow

Gift wrapping is often associated with the holiday season or special events like birthdays, weddings, or anniversaries. There are many ways to wrap gifts — you can wrap gifts with present papers and seal them with sellotape, place them in a box and secure it with a ribbon, and so on. The idea of gift wrapping is not new; people have been practicing it since ancient times for specific purposes.

The purpose of gift wrapping is to make the recipient feel special. The act of gift wrapping takes time and effort as it involves cutting, folding, wrapping, and even decorating. When someone goes the extra mile to make their gifts presentable, it shows their love, care, and sincerity.

The tradition of wrapping gifts has been around for a long time and will likely continue for years to come. Let’s explore the purpose of gift wrapping and how you can present your gifts to suit different occasions.

History of Gift Wrapping

History shows that paper has existed since the 2nd century BC in ancient China. During the Southern Song dynasty, money envelopes, known as chih pao, were used to wrap monetary gifts, which the Chinese court then distributed to the government officials. The wrapping papers were made of rice straws and bamboo fibers.

In the olden days, people all around the world present gifts in different ways. Some used brown papers, and some even used fabrics. In Japan, wrapping gifts in a reusable wrapping cloth is called the Furoshiki, which goes back to the Edo period.

In Korea, a similar act is known as the bojagi, which uses a square piece of cloth. Bojagi has been around since the Three Kingdoms Period and is sometimes used for wrapping wedding gifts from the bride’s family. 

Gift wrapping has also been famous in the west, where noble Victorians would wrap their gifts using thick, decorative paper, ribbons, and lace to represent a sense of luxury.

In 1917, Joyce and Rollie Hall, two brothers from Kansas City, Missouri, ran out of the standard white, red, and green unicolor wrapping paper due to the holiday season. That led them to use colorful French envelope liners and sold them for $0.10 per sheet. 

The colorful envelope liners became a hit, and since then, the two brothers began producing and selling their own wrapping paper for gift wrapping. 

Tissue wrapping paper was famous in the 20th century. However, people were slowly shifting to manila papers to wrap their gifts. Up to this day, the Chinese continue to give money gifts in red wrapping paper. Red is the color of happiness and good health.

The Purpose of Gift Wrapping

In many cultures around the world, giving gifts is a great way to strengthen or improve relationships. Gift-giving is a way people invest in a relationship they care about, celebrate life, express love and friendship, and gratitude and appreciation. No matter how big or small the gift is, it is the thought that matters.

Before Christmas, parents wrap Christmas gifts in beautiful wrapping papers. Everyone is only allowed to open presents on Christmas Day. Before then, people, especially children, will have to wait in anticipation before they can unwrap their gifts to see what’s inside.

The act of giving itself is terrific, and wrapping the gifts is equally satisfying. In many cultures, people would give gifts when celebrating various holidays. People have continued to do that out of the desire to hide a gift’s identity until the right moment — surprise!

Besides, wrapping gifts was never easy in the past. There was no adhesive tape at the time, at least until its invention in the 1930s. People had to carefully and skillfully wrap gifts or packages using strings and sealing wax.

Gift wrapping is considered unique because when you wrap something using a special wrapping paper, you turn it into a gift instead of the item itself. For example, a beautiful pot without a box wrapped in gift paper could easily be a pot you pick up from the mall on any typical day. When the pot is wrapped or tied with a bow, the presentation signifies that it is a gift.

Time has changed, and it is now convenient to wrap gifts, with most stores offering to help consumers wrap their gifts in the loveliest way possible. Of course, it would be best to cover your presents whenever possible, especially for someone special to you. In the U.S., gift wrapper annual sales can go up to $9.36 billion.

Things You Can Use To Wrap Gifts

There are many ways to prepare a gift before giving it to someone, and some of the things you can use are:

Gift Wrapper or Gift Box

You can use a ribbon and make a bow to accentuate your gift presentation. Whichever way you want to wrap your gifts, make sure you do it neatly. You do not want your gift wrappers to look wrinkly upon giving because that might make you look careless.

Gift wrappers are affordable these days, although the fancier ones will cost you more money. When choosing a gift wrapper, perhaps you want to choose something that matches the occasion. If you are giving a birthday present to a close friend, you could go for a gift wrapper with ‘Happy birthday’ on it, or birthday cake or balloon patterns.

If you want to make your present appear luxurious or extra special, you could always go for a gift wrapper with glitter or something made of thick paper. You can add a ribbon to the wrapper or paper fans. Perhaps add a small card to the gift to leave a handwritten message for the recipient to read.

Colorful or Beautiful Unicolor Fabric

In Japanese culture, people often use wrapping paper and boxes. However, many people once again are using Furoshiki, a traditional cloth wrapping. Many people also use Furoshiki to wrap their bento boxes.

Furoshiki is a much better gift wrapping option than disposable paper wrappers because you can use the cloth wrap repeatedly. Due to its eco-friendly nature, more people choose to use cloth wrapping like Furoshiki to wrap gifts. Why not wrap your gift using a cotton or silk scarf that the recipient can reuse for gift-wrapping or add to their wardrobe’s collection?  

Every holiday season, people in the United States throw away about 4 million tons of wrapping paper and shopping bags. Such waste is harmful to the planet, so people are encouraged to go with alternatives like cloth wrapping or reusable gift bags. It would help to unwrap any paper wrappers carefully so you can reuse them for another gift-giving.

Tips on Gift Wrapping

Here are some tips on gift wrapping:

  • Dedicate a clutter-free space for you to wrap your gift so that you wrap your gift efficiently instead of being busy looking for your scissors or tape.
  • Always use sharp scissors to cut your gift wrapper or ribbons.
  • If you’re using a box to present your gift, do not use a box that is way too big for the gift.
  • If possible, use a gift wrapper that won’t wrinkle easily.

Final Thoughts

The purpose of gift wrapping is to make the receiving person feel special. Gift wrapping is meaningful because it takes time and effort to wrap a gift nicely. Going the extra mile to make a gift look presentable, you’re showing the recipient that you are sincere and care about them.

You can wrap gifts using unique, colorful, or even unicolor paper wrappers. The more eco-friendly approach is by using a cloth wrapper or a reusable bag. You can use a ribbon or other decorative forms to accentuate your gift.

Plenty of Gift Ideas!

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