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The History of Wrapping Paper

Until the 1890s, people wrapped gifts using sturdy brown paper or tissue paper. (Stores typically carried tissue paper in red, white, and green during the holidays.) Then in December 1917, a greeting card store in Kansas City, Missouri run by the Hall brothers sold out of all their tissue paper. They didn’t want to lose out on sales, so Rollie Hall went into the stockroom to see what they could use. He found some decorated envelope liners and decided to sell the decorative paper for 10 cents a sheet. The next year, they offered the product again, this time priced at 25 cents for 3 sheets and the wrapping paper line at Hallmark was born! At first, the wrappings were typically held together with string, ribbon, or sealing wax. Later, sticky circles were used. Eventually, masking tape and cellophane tape were invented and became the main way to secure wrapping paper. Today, wrapping paper remains an extremely popular way to package a surprise gift.

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