This is a Japanese tradition we desperately need to adopt in North America – re-using textiles to wrap presents. It’s an art form, but it’s worth learning because it dispenses with all the annoying and wasteful tape and paper and ribbon, it’s a fun skill to learn (for kids too), and it’s an educational conversation piece – you might have to explain to the recipient what it is, but that’s probably worthwhile. Christmas is a forest disaster when you combine its Christmas trees and its paper usage. Any textile will work – just use some old fabric, recycle some scarves, or buy scarves/shawls from thrift and then watch some furoshiki tying videos. Any size of cloth will do – for the larger bags/wrapping you should look for the 40″ size of scarf shawl. In Japan, furoshiki were traditionally used as practical carrying bags as well as ceremonial wrapping. For the more utilitarian uses, people would carry a furoshiki cloth around with them, just in case, and tie it into a tote bag as the need arose. This habit will become very useful here once plastic bags are banned, and that’s soon (see the videos below to see how to tie a quick tote bag). Last year’s post on this topic is here and instructional furoshiki videos are here and here. Video directly below is great – Mick Jagger bought a furoshiki at this shop – but I hate the part where they walk away from the furoshiki shop with their purchases in glossy cardboard envelopes and paper bags! Photos here are all Creative Commons licensed on Flickr, by kirainet and vaneea.