Back to the Brown Paper Bag

I have declared war on the expensive seasonal gift wrapping paper! Quite frankly I am sick and tired of paying exorbitant amounts for rolls and rolls of Christmas paper that you never know whether it is enough or not for whatever gift you end up purchasing. So I decided that I would revisit an old project of mine dating back to the early 1980s when my mom challenged me to go experimental with the wrapping. She too was fed up with all the Christmas patterns and wanted to see something different under the tree. So we stocked up on Japanese crepe paper, which comes in a myriad of colours, costs a fraction of the Christmas paper, and I went wild. This was my origami gift wrapping phase, when I got neck deep into the joy of combining different coloured sheets to create a rainbow or mermaid effect.

This year I revived this penchant for crepe paper (also referred to in some countries as Japanese tissue) and wanted to keep things toned down, keeping in the spirit of my subdued theme. Admittedly, I miss the days of living in Asia when handmade textured paper was abundant and affordable, especially those with flowers or grass embedded in them. Sigh. Alas, there is no point in wallowing in nostalgia…

My self-imposed challenge led me to plain brown paper bags, a stash of Japanese crepe paper and some satin ribbons. Regardless if you are packing fruitcakes, books, chocolates, jams, or jewellery, the mystery of the paper bag is there, and you can always play around with the crepe paper.

Back to basics ©FrogDiva Photography

Adapt and move forward. That is the message of the paper bag. We tend to get caught up with the trimmings of life, and easily get impressed by the outward appearances, thereby neglecting the substance and essence of the gift. Remember all the teachers who drilled it into our heads not to judge a book by its cover? Same goes for the humble paper bag. It’s all in the details and the thought that went into the entire package.

Although we are no longer wide-eyed children who believe in elves and fairies, there is still magic in love and friendship, and especially the kind thoughts that went into the wrapping. The best gifts in life are those you can’t wrap at all, let alone put a ribbon on it! So when you get caught up in the paper jungle this year, remember to keep it simple and from the heart – that never gets old.

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