It was a scene such as this that inspired Patricia Lee to do some research into her Korean heritage and the use of bojagi — beautiful, reusable wrapping scarves.
According to Lee's book, The Wrapping Scarf Revolution,Koreans use wrapping scarves the same way Americans use wrapping paper and gift bags, except the scarves are kept and reused. The scarves aren't used just for wrapping gifts, though. They are used as carrying containers for food (with knotted handles), storage vessels, in lieu of briefcases, etc.
It was the multi-functional use of the beautiful scarves and a looming environmental crisis that led Lee to found the BOBO (a play on the word bojagi) Wrapping Scarf Company. Lee sells her scarves —there's one for every occasion, from weddings to everyday use — in a multitude of retail stores (though none around here) and via her Web site, www.bobowrap.com. You can also find video of various wrapping techniques in the "How To" section.
The wrapping scarf comes in especially handy for items that are awkwardly shaped and hard to wrap with traditional paper. The scarf conforms to any shape, and in the case of many of the wrapping techniques, creates a convenient carrying handle. The scarves can also be used to cover anything from pillows to tissue boxes to baskets.
The book also demonstrates techniques for creating bags and purses from scarves — I used one recently after a weekend trip to carry dirty laundry.
If you've got a scarf, you're ready to wrap, BOBO-style. If you don't, the book also has a guide for making your own scarves.
The Wrapping Scarf Revolution retails for $16.95 and is available for purchase online.