NZ Woman's Weekly

Why do we gift wrap at Christmas?

Why do we gift wrap at Christmas?

Wrapping presents at Christmas time stems from several traditions that have been passed down and evolved through history – from the act of gift giving to the origins of the wrapping paper.

The act of gift giving could be said to date back to the birth of Jesus Christ, when the three wise men brought presents of gold, frankincense and myrrh. While people will give gifts for different reasons, the humbling act of giving a gift – from the thought to the act – can bring joy to both parties.

Wrapping a gift can create anticipation and joy in the concealment, but it wasn’t all glitter and shinning paper though – the original gift wrapping was a lot simpler.

Before the time of specialised gift paper, special present boxes and bags, stores used to wrap purchases in brown paper with a course string to tie it together. The principal was still the same – you had been shopping and the surprise to those not in the know was still as thrilling.

As this idea caught on, gift givers were on the hunt to find more decorative forms of wrapping paper to wrap their gifts in – from wallpaper to tissue paper.

Wrapping a gift may, at times, be challenging, but to emulate an element of surprise in the gift giving process is still ever popular. The guesses and the concealment of the shape that may give away the surprise has kept the tradition alive. Not only have you picked the gift, but also to have it sitting in plain sight under the Christmas tree brings joy and anticipation for the all-important unveiling on the big day.

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