History of Gift Wrapping

09 Feb 2017

History of Gift Wrapping

by Bogsha Gifting

The history of gift wrapping won’t necessarily help you wrap presents better, but it is an interesting topic.

If you have an interest in something, it is likely that you will want to learn all about it. Some may find the topic interesting others won’t. That’s life but let’s face it, who doesn’t like to give or receive presents? This means the history of wrapping is a topic that should pique the interest of some people.

The story of gift wrapping goes back to 100AD in China and it owes a great deal to the invention of paper. It took until 800AD for the Egyptians to catch up with paper production and for Europeans; the first paper mill wasn’t set up until 1085. This means the Europeans had almost 1,000 years of paper and gift wrapping to catch up on the Chinese. However, there have been many changes and developments over the years.

The British adore wrapping paper

The British have fallen in love with many of the features of paper with the Victorian era being a key point in the progress of paper as a design feature. A lot of this was down to a desire to be seen as wealthy, which resulted in rich people wrapping presents in wallpaper. At first, they used paper that was thick and rather unwieldy but by the start of the 20th century, the paper they used to wrap gifts was light (commonly tissue paper) and bright in colour. This gave a more joyful experience in wrapping gifts as opposed to being a tool to show the wealth and status of the person giving the gift!

For a spell, some of the middle class of the Victorian era would wrap presents in brown paper. This was less ostentatious but it provided greater reliability in keeping the present covered. There had been a shift from showing wealth to concealing wealth, with people not wishing the true value of their gift to be estimated by passers-by or people other than the recipients. Like so many things in British life, gift wrapping has been greatly affected by the idiosyncrasies of the class structure!

The Americans took wrapping paper to a new level

In America, the breakthrough in gift wrapping occurred in 1917 due to a store running out of traditional gift dressing, found in white, green and red, in the run up to Christmas. Finding a quick substitute in French envelope liners, the public loved it. The ensuring demand led to the Kansas City store owned by Joyce Clyde Hall and Rollie, his brother, setting a new trend by printing their own.

The next major step forward in gift wrapping occurred just before the 1940s with the introduction of Scotch tape. Up until this point, wrapping paper had been secured by sealing wax, twine, rope or strings.

Thanks to these developments, the team at Bogsha are in the perfect position of being able to offer you a fantastic selection of gift wrapping options, fit for any occasion!

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