The Gifted Blog

February 3, 2010

Inspired By: How to Wrap Five More Eggs, part 3

This Inspired By post is part of a mini-series on the things and people that inspire my gift wrapping. Inspiration can strike at any time!

Plate 211, How to Wrap Five More Eggs

As you may have seen in previous posts, I found a book called How to Wrap Five More Eggs: Traditional Japanese Packaging at the library. There were too many things I liked in the introduction, so here is the final post of this set.

Hideyuki Oka notes the following about traditional Japanese packaging:
Another characteristic common to many forms of traditional Japanese packaging is the aesthetic consciousness of propriety. This is a result of considering wrapping and packaging as a sort of sacred ritual...[An] ancient concept that still remains in our racial memory is that of cleanliness and uncleanliness. The act of packaging an object becomes, then, a ritual of purification, of distinguishing the contents of the package from all similar objects that have not been purified. Traditional packaging is thus a reflection of Japanese psychology, which doubtless accounts or much of its orderliness and tidiness. (pg 12)

I had another ah-ha! moment when reading this paragraph. I knew gift wrapping was important in Japanese culture, but I had no idea why. I resonate with the description of packaging (or, in our case, gift wrapping) as distinguishing the contents of the package from all other similar objects.

Isn't that what a gift really is? An object distinguished from all other similar objects because it is from you, to someone else?

I also found pleasure in this description:
A third characteristic of our packaging is that of handwork...[A] feeling of love and consideration for others...motivates [us] to do this handwork. Even in the case of a small cake, say, whether you are giving it as a gift or selling it to a customer, you take the trouble to wrap or package it prettily, no matter how troublesome or inefficient the act may be, simply because you hope that whoever receives it will enjoy opening the package and eating the cake. (pg 12)
Some people feel gift wrapping is a waste because all it does is temporarily hide the present. In a moment, it is torn off - why even bother? Oka highlights the essence of gift wrapping: it is motivated by love for others. That the wrapping may be inefficient or time-consuming is secondary, and the enjoyment of the person receiving your gift takes top priority!

I really appreciate and relate to what I've read. What do you think? What from these posts on How to Wrap Five More Eggs stands out to you?


  1. Hi Charissa!

    I love your second to last paragraph and I think it's really deep. It reminds me of how I could never understand why God showers us with such extravagant blessings knowing full well that outright disobedience and ungratefulness will immediately ensue. I guess His priority is loving us, not expecting something in return.

    I haven't seen you for a long time! But I love your blog and by reading it feels like I'm keeping in touch. :)

  2. Wow, what a cool connection. I think God has been teaching me a lot as I've been writing about gift wrapping and then asking him, "Wait. I really love this. But does it have anything to do with you?" So I appreciate the spiritual parallel you draw.

    Yes! It has been too long. I'll e-mail you so maybe we can remedy that. Thank you so much for your comment!


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