Too ”Curly”! The history of Christmas wrapping!

Today, one could not imagine giving or receiving a gift without the wrapping. But did you know that it has not always been this way?

It is at the end of the nineteenth century that we began to find wrapping paper in stores. In fact, traders noted that it was easier to convince consumers to buy gifts if these objects could be packaged in pretty decorated boxes. It should however be some time before the use of gift wrapping is spread.

Gifts and toys have long been seen as the tree ornaments, either they are hanging from the branches, whether they surround the tree. However, gradually, the paper becomes part of the gift and an opportunity to further embellish the party.

At the beginning, it is relatively simple: white, green or red, sometimes decorated with traditional motifs associated with Christmas, such as holly leaves. During the 1920s and 1930s, it already found on the market as genuine sets, with paper matching ribbons and labels, which is now decorated with stripes or plaid. But the paper is still reserved for the wealthy. Before the invention of adhesive paper, in 1932, we use a gum adhesive to close the corners of the package. Curiously, during the years of depression, it is both very ordinary paper and paper very expensive the latter being may be used, who knows, to wrap a too modest gift.



When I was little, about 1935, our gifts were not wrapped. We got up of the bed to discover toys under the tree, it was like a staging. We thought it was so nice to see all of a sudden the decorated tree and toys, it was like magic.Roland Blais


During the Second World War, oblige restrictions, the paper becomes very thin, and sometimes it is replaced by a recovered piece of fabric: wash cloth, scarf… At the end of the war, the idea of combining wrapping paper and resourcefulness remains fashionable and merchants offer a variety of products to stimulate creativity. The gift wrapping is an activity in itself, a way to express their personality. Papers of all kinds are used, and it often retrieves Christmas cards from the previous year, or other images to adorn packages. Ribbons,” sparkle”, glue, adhesive papers are available to consumers, and even small star-shaped or Santa Claus stickers. There are also miniature ornaments in chenille, golden bells, etc.. Wrappiing becomes an important element, new ritual preceding the holiday, it is restricted to mothers and daughters. The activity itself, or artistically wrapped gifts are also often the subject of coverage of women’s magazines. These are reminiscent of the standards of good taste (see text below taken from La revue populaire).

During the 1960s, women are increasingly on the labor market and have less time to devote to the preparation of gifts. Moreover, the fashion is changing and consumers give preference to objects whose design is simple, modern, sleek and sophisticated. Wrapping these years reflects this trend: there are less traditional colors, such as blue and silver, and smooth textures and shiny. Products designed to simplify the task of wrapping are offered to buyers; this is that in the 1960s the famous” curly bow” – ready-made nodes of ribbon – are becoming very popular, although it was already in mid-1950s.

Keep in mind these three tips: keep it simple, do not use more than three colors, preferably two, and as and when secure the paper with glue tape. Thus, you will not risk spoiling the look of your Christmas gifts!

La revue populaire, Decembre 1956

”La fête de Noël au Québec” offers a superb retrospective of Christmases Quebec, from New France to the present day, through the Victorian era. For the first time, the holidays is told in sacred and profane aspects: Midnight Mass and baby Jesus in wax alongside Santa and recipes Christmas Eve. of yesteryear Tales, legends and traditions are evoked along with the Christmas emotional of the Second World War or the crisis. Discover the treasures of collectors and museums in Quebec that reveal a fun facet of technological developments. Christmas is magical, the symbolic and affective power lasts since centuries.

Source: Magazine Célébrons Noël, translated by Anick Giroux.

Originally published on Coeur en Fête Blog : December 11 2012.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s