Christmas Paper

I like Christmas and the process of giving and receiving: a tradition that dates back to Roman pagan festivals. Originally Christmas gifts were wrapped in tissue- or brown-paper. It wasn’t until the 1890s when technology allowed the mass production of decorated, foldable, paper that Christmas wrapping paper took off. Hy-Sill Manufacturing Inc., USA was the first gift-wrap company in 1903. Hallmark, the biggest manufacturer of wrapping paper, stumbled upon the gift-wrap market by accident in 1917 when the Hall brothers’ typical offering of green, red, and white tissue paper had sold out in its Kansas City store a few days before Christmas. The brothers had sheets of decorative envelope liners shipped over from a manufacturing plant. They placed these large patterned sheets on top of a showcase and sold them for 10 cents each. The decorative paper quickly sold out. The next year, the sheets sold for three for 25 cents, and again they quickly disappeared. The brothers began printing their own Christmas wrapping paper, and soon gift-wrap sales rivalled their greeting card department.