‘Tis the season to frantically wrap all the presents you’ve prepared!
There’s the one for mom, the one for dad, the one for your best friend, the one for your sister or your brother or both. The one for your coworker from secret Santa – begrudgingly wrapped because damn it, Susan, stop messaging me on my days off. And, of course, the one for your dog. Now that’s a lot of wrapping!
…And a lot of paper.
When else do we use that much wrapping paper? It’s not really a surprise, but wrapping paper usage goes up during the winter holiday season because… well, ‘tis the season to frantically wrap gifts.
Unfortunately, most wrapping paper ends up in landfills after it’s ripped away from the goodies inside. In the UK alone, an estimated 108 million rolls of wrapping paper were thrown away in 2018. Add that to the 4 million tons from the US during the same year and you get… well, a lot. And it’s not really going away because Christmas is here to stay (we’re all pretty thankful for that).
So why don’t we take a look at an alternative to the sparkly, crinkly wrapping paper we’ve all been using since we were just toddling around on our little feet?
Mr. Bluefish takes some inspiration from Furoshiki, traditional Japanese cloth wraps. If you’re anything like me, you probably think this might look messy – until you see the pictures. It’s amazing what people can do and how beautiful such simplicity can be.
For a bit of history, Furoshiki was originally used to keep the Emperor’s valuables, dating back all the way to the Nara Period (710-784AD). It was also regularly used in transporting temple goods.
In Japan, people tend to use Furoshiki to wrap lunchboxes or even as fashion accessories. They’re a minimalistic style of aesthetic, which makes them perfect for gift wrapping.
But the Japanese were not the only ones who wrapped things.
Let’s take a bit of a journey back to Dubai. Let’s join an Emirati family in their dinner: a large affair with perhaps 20 people at times, something of a potluck with everyone bringing a dish of their own. Sometimes those meals are in tagines, sometimes they’re in pots.
Dining with Emiratis is all about sharing food. It’s a social matter, and one that is taken very seriously. Showing appreciation for the food you are eating is a very important courtesy. And, much like Furoshiki, families in the UAE used to wrap these large pots of food to bring them to such dinners.
Bringing this tradition back for that same show of appreciation, for that same minimalistic gift-wrapping is both a call-back and a unique way to present something to your loved ones that can be reused and reloved.
See? Totally covered (get it?)