After you find that perfect gift for your friend or family member, it's time for the wrapping! But...WHY? Today's answer is brought to you by Wonderopolis!
Your parents have finally given the go-ahead. The only thing that stands between you and packages full of fun and excitement is a bunch of bows, string and fancy paper. But before you tear into that wrapping paper, take a few minutes to WONDER about why it’s even there!
The tradition of giving gifts didn’t start with the modern holidays we celebrate each winter. Many ancient cultures celebrated various holidays that involved the giving of gifts. The desire to hide the identity of a gift until just the right moment led people to wrap gifts long, long ago. Historians believe wrapping gifts in paper probably started not long after paper was invented thousands of years ago.
Wrapping paper like we use today, though, is a much more recent invention. More than 100 years ago, gifts were usually wrapped in simple tissue paper or heavy brown paper. Before that, cloth was often used, such as a handkerchief or a napkin.
The technology to mass-produce decorated, easily foldable wrapping paper didn’t come along until the early 1900s. The first American gift wrap company—Hy-Sill Manufacturing Inc.—was founded by Eli Hyman and Morris Silverman in 1903.
It wasn’t as easy to wrap presents back then as it is today. Because adhesive tape wasn’t invented until 1930, early gift wrappers had to skillfully secure wrapped packages with string and sealing wax.
Over the years, wrapping paper has evolved into the colorful varieties we see in stores each holiday season. Some people have started to worry, though, about the impact wrapping paper has on the environment.
Scientists estimate that the United States alone generates an extra 5 million tons of waste over the holidays, most of which is from wrapping paper and shopping bags. To reduce this waste, some people carefully unwrap presents, so that the wrapping paper can be reused. Others have started to use reusable gift bags instead of wrapping paper.