it – when you receive a gift, your first instinct is to tear the
wrapper excitedly so you can find out and appreciate what’s inside. This
must be the reason why gift wrappers
are almost always just an afterthought – it’s what’s inside that
counts, after all. Not a lot of people bother with wrapping their gifts
beautifully. Some people do not even bother wrapping their gifts anymore
and just present the gift in a bag from the store where they purchased
Japanese are known for doing things traditionally – and beautifully,
and this extends to their gift giving and gift wrapping customs.
It’s not just the thought that counts
the gift itself is important, for the Japanese, the way the present is
wrapped and presented is very important, too – sometimes more than the
present. This is because the way the present is wrapped speaks volumes
about the intent, symbolism, value and status of your relationship with
the recipient even before the present is unwrapped. Everything - from
the materials used to the color of the gift wrapper - has a meaning.
Gift wrap colors: The good and the bad
birthdays and other happy occasions, red is a good color for your wrap
as it symbolizes longevity and energy. You can combine it with white
when you are giving a present to newlyweds. Cheerful colors, such as
pastels, particularly pink and yellow, are safe bets for other
occasions, like when you are giving a souvenir to your host or if you
are bringing home tokens to family and friends after a trip. Pastels
work, too, when you are exchanging presents with relatives, friends, or
co-workers, or if you are presenting your employer with a gift at the
end of the year as a token of appreciation.
black is frowned upon, unless you are presenting the gift to
individuals grieving the death of a loved one. You must also be careful
with how you combine your colors together, as you might be giving off an
unwanted subliminal message. For instance, black and red represent
sexuality and that is not the message you want to impart on the grieving
or a newlywed. Steer clear of overly bright colors, too, as they are
too flashy and might send the wrong message.
paper and intricate ribbons make for a beautiful presentation, but if
you want a truly traditional way of wrapping your gifts, then you can
opt to wrap your gift in furoshiki or traditional reusable cloths that have been used to wrap gifts since ancient times.
beautiful pieces of cloth are made of different fabrics, including the
finest silk, rayon, nylon, and cotton. They come in different sizes,
too, and unique prints and colors. There are several ways to use it –
you can wrap it to resemble a body bag, a handcarry bag with a sling or
one or two handles, as a backpack, or as a typical gift wrapper secured
with a ribbon of another fabric or with a hidden knot.
your gift in a furoshiki also has economical advantages, as you reduce
your carbon footprint by not using paper bags or plastic bags. It also
allows you to present your recipient with another gift, as they can
reuse the furoshiki when they wrap their own gifts, or they can use it
as a belt, a bandana, or a handkerchief.
ensure that your intention and your message is never misinterpreted, it
is best to have your gift wrapped by a Japanese the first time. After
all, to them, it is not just the thought that counts.