Wrapping paper is technically impractical, but its also pretty awesome and makes any gift more meaningful. Where did the wrapping tradition come from? Why do we give a gift wrapped in decorative tree pulp? The short answer is that wrapping has been around for ages -- literally, ages. The Japanese used furoshiki, a reusable wrapping cloth still in use today, is a pretty faithful rendition of the version that's been around since the Edo Period. Upper-class Victoriansan also used elaborately decorated paper with ribbons and lace to conceal gifts. In the early 20th century, thick paper gave way to tissue (often colored in red, green, and white) that would also work to conceal gifts until they were opened. The practice was echoed in a more practical form by stores which would wrap customers' purchases in sturdy manila papers.
In 1917, however, in the United States, decorative paper came about for the same reason so many innovations come about: BY ACCIDENT!
A pair of brothers running a stationery store in Kansas City, Mo., were having an exceptionally good holiday season -- so good, in fact, that they ran out of their standard inventory of tissue paper. Not wanting to be hampered by their success, but needing a replacement for the sold-out paper, they found among their supplies a stack of "fancy French paper" -- paper meant not for display, but for lining envelopes. Figuring, "hey, why not," they put that paper in a showcase, setting its price at $0.10 a sheet. And the paper sold out -- "instantly," So, during the holiday season of 1918, the brothers tried the same trick, offering lining paper as gift wrap. And, again, the sheets were a sell-out hit. By 1919, having confirmed that the lining sheets' sales weren't a fluke, the pair began producing and selling their own printed paper -- decorative, and designed for the sole purpose of wrapping gifts. And an industry was born. The brothers?
Joyce and Rollie Hall. Their store? Hallmark