I don’t know karate, but I’m a black belt in furoshiki

In the old days in Japan, people used to walk to the public baths- in fact, they still might, if this Shonen Knife song is any indication. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJz3ACnCKJY  People would tie up their stuff in a bundle to take with them. Furo means bath, and shiki means bundle, and because in Japan there is an art to making everyday things beautiful, furoshiki has become an art. There are different folds, different wraps were created, beyond what I think of as a hobo bundle.http://furoshiki.com/techniques/

oooh, pretty tags, too

People gave gifts wrapped in fabrics, with different ties best suited to different sizes and shapes of packages.
After WWII, when paper became cheaper than it had been in Japan, and it was fashionable to lose the old style of doing things, and adhere to new, furoshiki declined as an art. People wrapped in paper.

As a green American (actually, I’m a white American, but I like to think of myself as environmentally aware) I hate wrapping things in paper. Also, I’m really bad at it. I used to work at a Hallmark store, and hated being on “complimentary gift-wrap” duty. Picky people would stand over me thinking to themselves, “I could have done this better myself” and they likely could have done it better- I was hopeless. Even now, I claim my kids have wrapped the packages at Christmas, because it looks like it was done by a 5 year old.
Last Christmas, there were 15 people opening presents at my family’s celebration. There were 2 garbage bags full of wrapping paper thrown away when we finished. And we even saved out the shiny gift bags and the paperboard boxes. I hate wrapping, and I hate throwing it away. So, I like furoshiki. For some really beautiful pics and a chance to practice your Japanese…http://www.kakefuda.co.jp/

All this year, I have been shopping thrift stores for silk scarves- ARC in my town sells them for a dollar, and sometimes has them half off. The tricky part is finding scarves for boy presents, but bandanas or animal prints are surprisingly common. I guess I’m surprised because I don’t wear zebra print scarves, but they are all over the thrift stores.
My other idea has been to sew gift bags. I have made my daughter a big pink drawstring bag and a couple of smaller bags out of a pink skirt I got at ARC. $2 and I will use them for every gift occasion until they wear out.(picture) Before my son’s birthday, I’ll make him a couple of bags as well.
My goal is to have no paper wrapping at Christmas for my immediate family. Anyone join me in a no-paper holiday?


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