Its officially the start of the holiday season, and that means holiday cards, family dinner plans, and lots of giftwrap. From elaborate ribbons to makeshift newspaper gift-wrap, we all have our preferences when it comes to gift giving. More than any other culture, though, Japan has turned gift giving into an art form. Almost ceremonial in its etiquette, Japanese gift-giving involves a thoughtful gift, a hand-written note, and beautiful gift wrapping. The ritual of gift giving is as important, if not more, than the gift itself.
Nothing achieves this message quite like furoshiki, Japan's gift wrap of choice for special occasions and daily essentials alike. For those unfamiliar, furoshiki is a traditional Japanese square cloth used to wrap gifts for special occasions like weddings or birthdays, as well as small everyday moments (like packing a lunch). Furoshiki originated in Japan during the Edo period (1603-1868) as a way for public bathers to bundle their clothes together and prevent mix-ups. (the word literally translates to "bath spread"). Merchants eventually adopted the practice to transport their wares and decorate gifts. Today, it continues to be used throughout Japan as a thoughtful and eco-friendly way to wrap special gifts.
Nowadays furoshiki is considered an artform, with elaborate techniques for making handbags, baskets, and even umbrella holders. Its intricate ties and neat folds convey messages that are difficult to put into words: it is said that wrapping a gift with furoshiki is a way of expressing your love for the recipient, since its intricate knots and ties represent the ties between friends and loved ones.
Furoshiki is a great alternative for those of us that dread the endless paper waste that comes with the holiday season. Because it's really just a square piece of beautiful fabric, furoshiki is versatile, reusable, kind to the environment, and makes even the simplest gift even more special. Its allure is such that many shops throughout Japan offer furoshiki gift wrapping services with purchase. Keeping with this tradition, we're introducing our very own furoshiki wrap service this holiday season.
Available now through the end of December, our holiday furoshiki gift wrap is locally made from recycled flour bags in Maine, USA, and features your choice of red, blue or plain edge stitching. Furoshiki gift wrap is now available in three sizes exclusively at our concept store- pick out your gift and let us wrap it, or take it home to DIY on your own presents.
If you're limited to shopping online, we have something special for you too! Between now and the end of December, all orders over $150 will receive a free sachet of Binchotan Charcoal Bits, which can be used for deodorizing your home, absorbing humidity, and fertilizing your soil. With natural absorptive properties and no assembly required, it's a cleaner alternative to Christmas coal- and makes for a great stocking stuffer. Both of our promos are available while supplies last, so get shopping!
WORDS BY MAGALI ROMAN