Forget gift paper and ribbon, traditional Japanese wrapping cloth is easy, quick and reusable.
WASTE NOT | The first Christmas morning my husband spent with my family was a culture shock. Before we opened our presents, my mother handed each of us a knife, which we used to carefully slit the adhesive tape instead of ripping the paper off in the mad frenzy my husband was used to. When all the presents had been opened, my mother collected and folded the paper to save until the following year. We would no more have thought of throwing it out than tossing the Christmas ornaments after dismantling the tree.
Perhaps even more than the tree ornaments, the wrapping paper evoked memories of the people who had sent it. Each year we would smooth out the creases with an iron on low heat and trim off the adhesive tape and rough edges until the paper got too small to use. Ribbons can also be ironed on low; a curling iron works well to plump up premade stick-on bows.
Just What Is Furoshiki?
As with so many things, the Japanese are way ahead of us when it comes to elegant reusable gift wrap. Furoshiki, traditionally patterned silk used to wrap gifts for hundreds of years, is now available in Vancouver. Doris Jetz recently started making 100 percent cotton furoshiki-inspired gift wraps from her home in North Vancouver so she could spend more time with her children. Her wraps come in a variety of patterns suitable for kids, Christmas and other events, plus they do away with the need for ribbon since they can be tied in an attractive bow or held with a matching button closure. Available in four sizes from 30 cm to 100 cm square, they range from $4 to $16 and can be reused for years.
Check them out online at hopfrogpond.ca and at the Delbrook Craft Fair on December 5: Delbrook Community Centre, 600 West Queens Road, North Vancouver, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., admission $1.—Felicity Stone
Photo: Courtesy Hop Frog Pond