Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant
If you’re like me, I spend untold hours toiling over how to decoratively present Christmas gifts. That becomes especially challenging if the gift is a bicycle, a car, or a pony. The quest for the perfect box, the perfect paper, and the perfect bow, started me thinking about how the Christmas wrapping practice came to be.
An online search revealed that wrapping gifts is an ancient practice that goes all the way back to the first century AD in Japan (think origami) and Korea. In the Victorian era, Christmas wrapping generally consisted of red, green, or white tissue paper. But all that changed when, in 1917 in Kansas City, MO, two brothers who owned a stationery store found Christmas shoppers were in an especially exuberant mood that year, and the store ran out of Christmas tissue paper to sell. They scrounged around to find substitute paper and located sheets of heavy paper designed to line envelopes.
Their customers liked this substitute paper so much, the brothers sold it again the next Christmas. By the third Christmas, they knew they were onto something and decided to start a business making wrapping paper. The brothers’ names were Joyce and Rollie Hall. They named their new business Hallmark.
I love this story because of the Halls’ inventive nature. They sought a creative solution to a problem.
That encourages all of us, as we face current publishing problems–fewer books being published by publishers each year; bookstores struggling to stay open; no new current reading trends to drive sales–with an eye to solutions rather than focusing on what is lacking.
When faced with a scarcity of brilliant ideas or a lack of enthusiasm for your work from readers, think about what’s in your storeroom that could be put to good use.
For all of us, the Hall’s brothers’ story is a reminder never to think the task in front of us is impossible. Take, for example, what would you do if you had to wrap a cat for Christmas? Check out the solution here.