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Thursday, December 27, 2012


Christmas gifts have undoubtedly become far more elaborate in many of our lifetimes. There was a time when gifts were kept simple – inspired by the story of the Three Wise Men and their visit to Jesus.
However, the Middle Ages saw gift-giving at Christmas really take off, even though initially it was resisted by many because of its association with pagan rituals, and making offerings to various deities.



In order to keep the presents themselves a surprise, the first gift wrappings were basic brown or tissue paper, until the 19th century, when decorated cornucopias or paper baskets came into more common use.

Developments in printing technology in the last years of the 19th century were responsible for the first machines which could produce decorated, foldable paper, and the introduction of technology to allow coloured inks to be printed fluidly then became the most important development which led to the ability to produce wrapping papers in a form which is familiar to us today.

As you might expect, the first nation to take full advantage of the capability to produce coloured gift wrapping sheets on a roll was America.
Hy-Sill Manufacturing, of Midway, Georgia was the first company to move into the field, in 1903, but it wasn't until 1917 that the biggest name in the field today, Hallmark, came into being – and history has it that the discovery at the centre of its business was made by accident.
Department store Hall Brothers in Kansas City, Missouri, faced with a shortage of its customary red, white and green tissue paper in which to wrap Christmas goods, bought a large quantity of surplus decorative envelope liners, and sold them for 10 cents each. After a couple of years, they caught on, and soon the store was taking nearly as much in gift wrap sales as in its greetings cards department.

But still the story of gift wrap as we know it today needed a further development – and this came in 1930 with the invention of adhesive tape, before which sealing wax and string were used to make the wrappings secure. The immediate forerunners of sticky tape were small adhesive paper discs, which did the job of sealing the package in the meantime.
Early wrapping paper designs took their lead from Christmas cards of the time. They were very ornate, and common designs featured motifs such as cherubs, birds and flowers.
The Art Deco era of the 1930s and 1940s was, however, when true invention came to the world of wrapping paper design, and when the discipline first became recognised in its own right. The pioneering designers working in this field consequently had free rein to convey their own ideas, and devise designs which people would find attractive. This is why ranges of bold patterns using bright colours, and containing stripes, blocks and swirls have endured to this day.

The first 'character' wraps were created in the 1970s and 1980s, as television and mass media entered everyone's homes.
More recently, we have seen the emergence of decorative paper bags in which presents are placed, but this is not a new idea in itself, as it was popular among Victorians, who of course had no idea of the concept of wrapping paper.
Today, gift-wrapping has been elevated from a luxury to an essential art form, and even the most mundane present is usually covered in some form of fancy paper. But it's important for everyone to remember that, if they are sending gifts through the post, they still need to be clearly addressed, and protected from damage – so the good old brown paper is unlikely to disappear!


Author Bio:
This guest blog was contributed by Steve Willis who is dedicated to helping you find the best possible courier service for getting whatever you want to send, wherever it needs to go.

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