Originating in Japan around 710BC, Furoshiki originally referred to a cloth used to wrap kimonos at bath houses so bathers would know whose kimonos were whose.
The use of these beautiful cloths evolved over time and they began to be used to wrap and transport important goods and treasures, and were even known to be adorned with family crests and emblems!
Over the years, using Furoshiki became more and more popular with families and cultures across the globe, even today Furoshiki cloths are still used by Japanese School children to carry their bento boxes around.
We think our Furoshiki wrap is the perfect environmentally friendly alternative to wrapping paper and makes giving gifts extra special and thoughtful! Did you know that the UK uses approximately 227,000 miles of wrapping paper each year! That’s a lot of wrapping paper – and not all of it can be reused or recycled, unfortunately meaning a lot of it goes to landfill.
By choosing a Furoshiki wrapping cloth over wrapping paper, you’re choosing a more sustainable method of making your gifts look gorgeous this Christmas!
We chatted to Karen Maurice, N4Mummy, about how she enjoys a more conscious Christmas with a few sustainable tips and tricks to help you along the way!
What are your top 10 tips for a more conscious Christmas?
"There’s always such a temptation to overindulge in every way at Christmas, isn’t there? And not just food and wine. I’ve been guilty of buying the kids way too many presents and going OTT with decorations and Christmas paraphernalia.
In the past few years, I’ve been trying to adopt a slower, more conscious approach to how our family celebrates Christmas. I try and involve the kids in the preparations as much as possible, building family traditions and teaching them about waiting for something exciting to come.
So, during advent we bake, make gifts and decorate the house, and here are some of the things we do to try and have a more conscious Christmas…
- Planning Christmas presents and start buying early. When I leave Christmas presents to the last minute, I panic buy, and everyone ends up with far too much stuff. So, I start early and spread the cost. Plus, when you’re buying from small independent brands, it helps them to get orders in early.
- Making homemade gifts for the extended family. In the past few years, we’ve made chutney, gingerbread, bath salts, face balms and many more gifts. And currently I’m making some pickle and chilli sherry. We always dedicate one weekend in December for gift making and the kids love to help and get involved.
- Preloved Gifts. While we’re on the subject of gifts, don’t be afraid to shop second hand. Particularly for toys and books. My son got an amazing train set a couple of years ago, which we just found advertised locally.
- As for wrapping those gifts, well for close family we use Furoshiki fabric cloths. This year Frugi has just launched their Christmas Furoshiki Cloth, with a magical print which the kids will love. Also, it’s made from organic cotton and is only £3.50!
- And as for labels? Well, turn last year’s Christmas cards into this year’s labels. All you need is some pinking shears, a hole punch, some string and a pen.
- Homemade crackers. My Granddad made homemade crackers, so this has been a family tradition for many years. You just have to start saving your toilet roll inside early on. The best part of it is you get to fill the crackers with fun presents and no plastic rubbish. One year we even did underwear crackers!
- Bring the outside indoors. With small children, I learnt very quickly that beautiful decorations and glass baubles don’t last long. So instead, we decorate the house with foliage from the garden. Holly, ivy, candles, fairy lights and the odd strategically placed decoration can create a very magical effect.
- Buying sustainable Christmas outfits. We all want to look our best for Christmas, and it is a great opportunity to get some new socks, upgrade your pyjamas and buy a cosy jumper. But I just try to be mindful of where I shop, choosing companies that prioritise people and planet. I love Frugi’s new Fyfe Fairisle Jumper which my son will be wearing over the festive period. My 6-year-old daughter is currently in love with Frugi’s Snuggle Suit, which she’d happily wear day and night if allowed. They also have a gorgeous Cosy organic cotton Knitted Scarf which is on my Christmas list.
- Using up the Turkey. In our family we always use every scrap of the Christmas turkey, though it takes us several days. It gets eaten as a cold meat, in a curry, as a simple stir fry, with a creamy sauce and rice, this list could go on.
- Shopping local. Where possible I try and support my local community by buying from local makers and shops. You can often find more unusual and interesting presents and it’s a wonderful, personalised service.
What are the benefits of using cloth instead of wrapping paper?
I’ve used Furoshiki cloths for the past few years and I’m a complete convert. Firstly, they always look great when the present is wrapped because the fabric is bright and colourful. Secondly, they’re a lot less hassle than paper. There’s no fiddling around trying to find the tape and scissors that the kids have invariably hidden at the bottom of a toybox. It’s quick and easy to wrap presents and there’s no waste at the end of Christmas. We reuse all the wrapping paper that we’re given, but storing it takes up an entire chest (!) Furoshiki wraps fold up neatly and can be slipped into the bottom of a drawer until next year.
What else can you use a Furoshiki wrapping cloth for?
The kids have already been creative in how they’ve used their Frugi Christmas Furoshiki wrap. It’s been a blanket for a teddy bear’s picnic, a pirate head dress, Father Christmas’ sack with all the toys inside for their favourite game “Christmas Eve” and a duvet for the teddies to sleep under. I’ve used it when I forgot my produce bag on a shopping trip, it wrapped my potatoes up nicely. I’m going to need to keep an eye on it or I won’t be able to find it to wrap presents in this Christmas!"
Karen Maurice loves chocolate, pink herbal tea and writing about sustainable style at n4mummy.com. She can be found daily on Instagram (@n4mummy) and lives in North London with her husband and three children.