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Paper and Packaging: A Mothers' Day Essential

Here at Ahead of the Curve we're great believers in the power of paper and packaging to improve our everyday lives. After all, our readers are the women and men who make paper possible! With Mother's Day approaching (Sunday, May 13), we have rounded up some of the ways that this heartfelt holiday simply wouldn't be the same without paper and packaging.

A Bit of History
Paper even plays an important role in the history of Mother's Day. A woman named Anna Jarvis organized the first official Mother's Day celebration in the US in 1908, at a church in Grafton, WV, as a way of honoring her own mother, who had been a woman's rights activist.

According to, "Arguing that American holidays were biased toward male achievements, (Jarvis) started a massive letter-writing campaign to newspapers and prominent politicians urging the adoption of a special day honoring motherhood. By 1912 many states, towns, and churches had adopted Mother's Day as an annual holiday, and Jarvis had established the Mother's Day International Association to help promote her cause. Her persistence paid off in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day."

Hallmark Holiday?
Since letter-writing played such vital part in establishing the holiday, it's not surprising that writing to Mom is still very much associated with Mother's Day. The US Postal service reports that mail volume jumps about 20 percent in the week preceding the second Sunday in May.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates that US consumers will spend US$23.1 billion celebrating Mother's Day in 2018, and of course that means plenty of paper greeting cards. About 86 percent of Americans are expected to celebrate Mother's Day this year, with the average amount spent on Mom being US$180. Most consumers will give cards (77 percent) and flowers (69 percent), but the biggest expenses is jewelry (about US$4.6 billion, according to the NRF.) Greeting card manufacturer Hallmark even offers some tips about what to write in your paper card for any "mom" in your life.

For something a little different, Lovepop offers a variety of paper pop-up cards sure to impress. "The intricate 3D paper sculptures are designed by naval engineers on cutting-edge software and then handcrafted in the Asian art form of sliceform kirigami," says the company website.

In spite of the amazing options available commercially, many moms will say the cards they love best are the ones made by hand. Online magazine RedTricycle has collected 16 Homemade Mother's Day Cards Every Kid Can Make (or check out this page with a ton of other paper-related Mother's Day crafts.)

How Life Unfolds (for Mom)
The Paper and Packaging Board's "How Life Unfolds" campaign seeks to help stem the decline of paper use and increase the demand for paper-based packaging. Just in time for Mother's Day, How Life Unfolds created this video in cooperation with George Oliphant, host of the home improvement show "George to the Rescue." Using milk cartons, toilet paper rolls, and cardboard chip containers, George shares hand-made gift ideas that any mom would appreciate.

"When it comes to gifts, the human connection and personalization that paper and packaging goods create makes them the perfect medium for homemade gifts that touch the heart," the site notes. (Learn more about the "How Life Unfolds" campaign—and view the television and print ads helping promote the use of paper and paper-based packaging—here.)

If you think your Mom would appreciate something a bit more "Martha Stewart" you're in luck: learn to create "an entire garden's worth" of paper flowers at

By the Book
From cookbooks to crime novels and everything in between, books are a Mother's Day staple—and of course, paper makes them possible. Refinery29, a popular digital-media and entertainment company for young women, offers a handy list of the perfect books for every kind of mom.

Do you prefer to support the packaging side of the industry? Though Amazon started out as a bookseller, the e-commerce giant now sells everything. (E-commerce is credited with fueling the global containerboard market's steady growth.) Check out Amazon's handy gift guides for moms, and have that beautiful brown box waiting on her doorstep.

Best wishes to all of our Ahead of the Curve readers who are moms, who have moms, or who know moms. We hope you will make paper and paper-based packaging part of your celebration this Mother's Day.


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