The Gifted Blog

May 24, 2010

Wrap Story: Cross-Cultural Gift Wrap

This Wrap Story is part of a mini-series, documenting every present I’ve wrapped since the launch of The Gifted Blog. Click here for the whole series!

Two friends of ours were recently married, and their wedding day snuck up on us. We attended the wedding present-less and resolved to find them a nice gift soon after. Taking a cue from this couple's gift registry, we took a walk to Ten Thousand Villages.

Our last interaction with the newly wed T. & W. was over dinner, where W. made us a beef stew that included ginger, apples, and a variety of whole grain I can't recall at the moment. Let's just say I have never tasted anything like it! Knowing T. & W.'s interest in healthy, frugal cooking, I kind of had a set of cloth napkins in mind.

G. selected this pretty printed set from India. (I like cloth napkins; we use them all the time. They are practical and aesthetically pleasing (one of my favorite combinations).)

I was happy to have a reason to use a furoshiki given to me by my aunt. Step 1: With box on the diagonal, fold cloth over the short ends of the box. Optional challenge: Ask a 1 1/2 year old to "help" you.

Step 2: Fold the bottom corner up and the top corner down.

Step 3: Confirm that, yes, the cloth is too small to knot in the traditional manner. Pull a ribbon from your stash and tie around the box to secure.

And voila! Indian napkins wrapped in a Japanese cloth, using a combination of Japanese and western wrapping methods.

I do like the extra dimension and color the bow adds. And it just goes to show how improvisational gift wrapping can be! I love that each gift I wrap is its own little 'problem' to solve. The small creative challenge of covering a gift in an appealing way, using what you have. Does anyone else feel like that?


  1. That's a lovely furoshiki. I recently gave linen napkins for a wedding gift - so I like how you think!

  2. this is awesome! and i love Ten Thousand Villages! and yay for international.

    i thought you were going to use one of the napkins as the furoshiki!

  3. DuhBe - Thank you! I'm sure my aunt gave it to me with the blog in sweet of her. And linen napkins - nice! Did you emblazon them with faces or Alice in Wonderland characters? : )

    Sam - Oh, cool, you like Ten Thousand Villages, too? I'm curious what kinds of things you get there. Using a napkin to wrap the napkins would have been awesome; I'll have to keep in in mind for a future gift!


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