The Atlantic ran a gripping article “Wrappers’ Delight: A Brief History of Wrapping Paper” in 2012.
The article credits two brothers, Joyce and Rollie Hall, with starting the use of decorative wrapping paper in the U.S. — in their stationery store in Kansas City Missouri in 1917.
It started by accident. They had been wrapping packages in plain brown paper, “Manila paper.” At Christmas time in 1917, their store ran out of that paper. So they started using the “fancy French paper” they had been using for lining envelopes. This turned out to be an instant success. The wrapping paper industry was born.
In 1954, the name of their store was changed from Hall Brothers to Hallmark.
But what about prior to that? No gift wrap used? What about the three wise men from the orient who brought gifts to Bethlehem? When we googled about this, it appears they didn’t use gift wrap but fancy containers: