Decisions, decisions. I am not going to discuss the commercialization of Hanukkah in the USA, or the post-1920 popularity of it. Nevertheless, I have to decide which wrapping to select, I mean… I have to keep my priorities in perspective (the most popular wraps for 2009):

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  • I think the far left on the second row is extremely nice on the eyes. However, I’m confused, and I don’t understand why the Magen David is such a popular symbol for wrapping paper. Christmas paper usually doesn’t focus on the crucifix. Is it far to assume that parallel, or is that where I’m making the mistake?

  • Modern Girl, that’s my favourite, too. Will go well with most gift ribbons yet not look too colourful.

    The six-pointed star has been a symbol of luck in many cultures for a long time (you’ll even find it in old mosques, referred to as “Solomon’s seal” in Oriental fairy tales, carved into the door lintels of Central European houses or beds of women in childbed etc.) and has become known as a “Jewish” symbol since 1408 IIRC when a synagoue in Prague had one up above their entrance. It’s more of a cultural rather than a religious symbol.

    BTW, Larry, I use a different paper for every person (still use gift tags though), but I love, love, love wrapping gifts, so I’ve built up a huge arsenal of gift wraps and ribbons.

  • The star of david is actually a kabalistic symbol and also features in practioners of the occult. it denotes the six dimensions, North South West East Up Down.

    Froylein, please be careful how you store all that packaging, can be a fire hazard

    • Rebbe, there are several explanations for the meaning of the star (e.g. the community reaching “up” and the divinity reaching “down”). It’s a fact though that it had been existent long before it was identified with the Jewish community. There are similar symbols that were believed to bring good luck and protect against evil, e.g. the pentagram or octagram (each drawn in one line), the circle (still used in e.g. Xmas wreaths) symbolising both eternity / longevity and confusing evil spirits (wreaths on the frontdoor stem from the belief that evil spirits would get caught in them and be running around in them forever as there was no exit out of the circle). Drawings and carvings of the symbols could already be found among the remains of “primitive”, neolithic cultures.

  • That’s a neat story of the origins. I was actually taught by my art history prof that “v” and “^” were some of the earliest neolithic symbols to exist. “v” represented women, because it was shaped like the womb (how they knew that, I don’t know), and “^” represented men as it represented the phallus. According to this logic, the Magen David represented life, or the creation of life, and thus was used in religous symbolism that referred to Genesis.

    • I think, though that’s heavily speculative, that people have always been fascinated by geometric and stereometric “riddles”, e.g. complex shapes drawn in one line or, in this case, a shape you can create on paper but not with sticks or a similar solid object.