I was wrapping some gifts earlier this week (no, I am normally not that organized, but I had a reason) and it made me start wondering about wrapping paper, and when we started using it. A quick internet search for the answer to that question produced an unexpected confluence with Christmas fun, romance writers, and relaxing movies.
I can almost see some of you scratching your heads.
Let me explain.
First, some interesting background on wrapping paper. As it turns out, wrapping gifts started in ancient Asia. However, it didn’t really catch on in the West until the latter half of the 1800s, after Christmas cards became popular. The Victorian gift paper was very thick and elaborate, often decorated with ribbons and lace, and quite expensive to buy. In the early 20th century, people began replacing this thick paper with red, green or white tissue paper, which provided a more cost-effective option for a wider range of people to use.
How did we get from there to where we are now? In 1917, a stationery store in Kansas City ran out of tissue paper to sell to their customers. Not wanting to miss out on potential sales, they brought in some lengths of decorated French paper they normally used to line envelopes in their card factory. They sold out of this as well, and sold even more the next Christmas.
So in 1919, the Hall brothers decided to produce and sell their own decorative wrapping paper. Yes those Hall brothers, as in the founders of Hallmark. In that moment, a huge industry was born.
And that confluence I mentioned earlier? Well, when not pondering wrapping paper, I have also been noticing lately that a growing number of my favorite romance authors are having their books turned into movies or TV series. I think that is wonderful! It is a good thing for them, for the romance industry, and for the TV viewers. Like many others, I enjoy taking a break from holiday business by watching a sweet Christmas movie in the evening. The experience is even better when it is based on a book I have read – extra points if it is an author I have met.
I think one could say that Hallmark is a major reason for the large variety of Christmas movies available on TV channels now. So from a personal standpoint, I am glad the Hall brothers ran out of issue paper 100-plus years ago. More and more, I prefer sweet movies with a HEA and a minimum of grimness to slog through. If the Hall brothers and their successors hadn’t become so successful and creating and selling cards and paper, they would not have been able to start a TV channel, and many of the shows and movies I watch might never have been born. And some great authors might not have seen their stories come to life on film. That’s what I call a win for everyone.
Now that I think about it, who says I have to wait for nighttime to watch a movie? The heavy snow falling outside my window right now has put me in the mood to curl up on the couch. Perhaps I’ll pop some popcorn and watch a fun, romantic Christmas movie. Care to join me?
I write historical fiction, and I invite you to share the journey to published author with me.