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How To Wrap A Gift: The ABCs Of Gift Wrapping

How to wrap a gift: you’ve probably searched for this exact question every year right around Christmas. Maybe you’ve given up and become a devoted fan of the gift bag, a very viable option. Perhaps you’ve become an expert, and you can wrap even round objects with ease! Maybe you’ve decided to give up wrapping gifts entirely – and outsource the problem to experts!

Whatever your skill set – this blog has a little something for everyone—starting with how it all began. 

How To Wrap A Gift: Wrapped presents in paper and cloth

Where Does Gift Wrap Come From? 

First, we know that before there was pretty wrapping paper we buy at the store, plain paper came first. You may think that paper first came from the papyrus leaves they used in ancient Egypt, but it was actually from China. In 105 A.D., Ts’ai Lun first created what we know today as paper. The evolution of paper from its original mashed pulp of rags, hemp, mulberry bark, and water provides a stunning variety. 300 years later, this amazing invention finally made its way to the Middle East and then, in another 500 years, to Europe. So how did we go from mulberry bark mish-mashed paper to the brightly colored wrapped paper we buy today?

Before people used wrapping paper, presents were bound in colorful fabrics to symbolize status and culture. For example, the traditional furoshiki in Japan, a reusable and hand-painted cloth, remains in use today.  Up until the 20th century, the world used either fabric or thick paper to wrap their presents. The look and materials varied based on country, status, and wealth. It wasn’t until 1917 that tissue paper was born in a small stationery store in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Victorians used thick, luscious hand-decorated paper to wrap their presents for years. This symbolized their wealth and status in life, thus making it unattainable for the common folk. Back to the stationary store of Kansas City, where two brothers made their livelihood selling such products. The year 1917 saw more customers in this little shop than in any previous year.  The shop’s popularity and a miscalculation on how much stock they would need caused a shortage. However, running out of the popular hand-decorated paper right at the critical holiday season sparked innovation.

How To Wrap A Gift When You Run Out Of Paper

One of the brothers frantically rummaged through the back of their shop, hoping for a miracle. Not only did he find a miracle, but unbeknownst to them at the time, it was a revolutionary miracle at that. He had found what they called at the time “fancy French paper.”  Used only for lining the inside of envelopes to keep letters safe and tucked in, many thought it too thin to wrap a gift. But desperation held them in its clutches; they decided there was no other option. They placed a large display in the center of their store, advertising it for 10 cents a sheet. Their customers immediately raved over such a marvelous unusual sight; what gorgeous wrapping paper! And with the name “fancy French paper,” the small-town Americans were all over it, buying it out within minutes. 

The brothers were in absolute shock; what a blessed turn of events! The following year 1918, they tested this wild phenomenon they had witnessed once again, only for it to have even better success! The brothers knew then just what they had to do. They began to create and develop their style of “fancy French paper,” one that they knew would appeal to their audience even more. And all because of them, the official wrapping paper we use today was created and manufactured all over America. What did the Hall brothers decide to name their store? Why Hallmark, of course!

How To Wrap A Gift: Wrapping paper

What Is The Best Way To Wrap A Gift?

Regarding how to wrap a gift, there are many options today. Do you use a box that will withstand the aggressive shake of a hyperactive toddler? Do you put it in a lovely little bag, perfect for the minimal aesthetic? Perhaps some delicate gift wrap? Or perhaps some fun combination of the above! Let’s take a look at what the differences are, and what they’re best for, to help you determine what style is best for you.

Gift Wrap

Gift wrap is truly amazing and versatile in its form. It can be the classic tube you get that’s all shiny. It could be the delicate, wafer-thin pretty sheets or even the sturdy brown paper wrap. All are used for different types of gifts. If your gift is delicate and potentially breakable, double-wrapping is ideal. Knowing how to keep your gift safe is essential when learning how to wrap a gift in gift wrap. First, wrap your breakable with bubble wrap, sturdy brown paper, or even newspaper. Then, wrap it again in the super pretty stuff. This will ensure your gift looks great while still staying secure. Avoid gift wrapping your present if you can still tell what the gift is after wrapping it.

Gift Box

Sometimes, we’re graced with the blessing of our gift already being in a box. But if not, gift boxes make for an excellent presentation choice. They are convenient for odd-shaped items, where wrapping paper is impractical.  They are a great option if you have to transport a lot of gifts because of how sturdy they are. They stack nicely and are easy to pack. Not only are they practical, but they are easy to decorate. You can use traditional gift wrapping paper, stickers, paint, ribbons, glitter, or quite literally anything. 

Gift boxes also allow you to make elegant gift towers. These are perfect for putting together an assortment of sweet treats and trinkets. You can save time and effort by ordering a gift tower of goodies to be sent directly to your recipient! 

Gift Bag

Gift bags are great for when you’re running late to a party. There’s no need to stress about how to wrap a gift when you can quickly tuck it into a decorative gift bag. You’re able to find plenty of options for gift bags in most department stores. There are tons of colors, graphics, styles, and sizes to choose from that make the process a lot easier. The handles make them super easy to transport, and their shape will conceal any odd-shaped gift you may have. They are also the perfect place to put a card inside without the worry of it being separated from the gift. 

How To Wrap A Gift: Gift bag

Gift Basket

This is probably the most impressive but complicated way to wrap a gift. Finding a suitable basket and ensuring the items are secure inside it takes time, effort, and skill. The end result is undeniably captivating! A gift basket makes for a dramatic presentation, and this makes them perfect for situations where a gift table is present, such as weddings, birthdays, or baby showers. 

How To Wrap A Gift For Delivery

When it comes to shipping your gifts to your recipients, wrapping your gift becomes even more complicated. Keeping your goodies safe and fresh in transit can cost a lot of money, extra packaging, and time. The cost goes up even more if you have friends and family you want to send gifts internationally.  Plus, there is the added cost of insuring your package in case it is damaged or lost in transit.

It’s these exact problems that Gift Baskets Overseas has spent nearly 20 years solving. Instead of stressing about shipping logistics, you can build the exact gift you want, even picking out how it is wrapped. Or use our personal gift recommendation tool to select from a variety of quality gift baskets in your recipient’s country. 

That’s A Wrap

Today, we still use wrapping paper for almost every occasion! Recent trends, particularly the movement to go greener, have caused many to go full circle. Reusable or recycled gift wrapping, such as fabric or reused newspaper, has become more popular. Some save boxes they reuse during the year to place their gifts inside and then wrap that box up with wrapping paper. My personal favorite as a child was to use the comics section to wrap my gifts up. You get a laugh, a gift inside, and an eco-friendly conscience all in one! 

You’ve Learned How To Wrap A Gift: Now What?