14+ kilometers of RIBBON?!? Seriously. :)


That’s about 3.2 kilometers in the photo above. It looks manageable enough, but each spool isn’t your typical 25 or 50 yard spool from Divisoria, these all contain 100 yards or more per spool! Long-time readers of the blog know we take the Christmas holidays seriously in the Marketman household and extended family like Zubuchon, etc. Best I can figure, we are looking at several thousand presents (mostly the restaurant crew ones, but a lot at home as well for family, staff and friends), each wrapped carefully and many with a ribbon to match. So we can easily go through 1,500+ yards of ribbon per holiday season. We used to buy our ribbons wholesale at a shop on Tabora street in Divisoria, but that was before we figured out how to buy this stuff in China…


On our last buying trip to China for restaurant supplies, furniture, etc., I spent an 30 minutes or so at a fantastic ribbon wholesaler in Yiwu, a city about 4 hours from Shanghai where the world goes to buy millions of different things for retail stores and other uses. Yiwu is just an unbelievable commercial city that you have to see to believe. But it’s only if you are buying in bulk, as they don’t sell much retail. The photo above was about 1/8th of total “YAMA” store.


I couldn’t resist, so I sat down and speed selected some 20-30 different ribbons and wildly blurted out number of spools of each, not realizing that the display had 25 yard spools, but the real spools were 100 yards each. Lost in translation. We bought several thousand yards for Zubuchon (we tie a ribbon on each box in December), and I spent 15 minutes on my personal order. And what arrived months later was in the photo up top! I can never shop in Divisoria for ribbon again. The cost in China is some 1/4th or 1/5th the prices in Divisoria. And the selection was utterly mind-boggling. OMG.


But this recent purchase was on top of our personal stockpile of ribbon that’s stored in plastic boxes and come out in full force for the Christmas wrapping marathon around these parts. This box has several kilometers of curling ribbons that we have had in-house for over 10 years, that’s how long it takes to go through several kilometers of each color! I bought them at some closeout sale in the US for cents a yard, if not a fraction of a cent. Also in the same box are several rolls of butcher twine in varying thicknesses, these ones mostly purchased streetside in Shanghai a couple of years ago. At say $1 a roll, compare that with the nearly $10 for a spool at Crate & Barrel (also in this box), and you know you can’t buy retail ever again. :) Some plain craft paper ribbon as well.


In another box, varying colors, widths, patterns of ribbon that show a relatively limited breadth of holiday colors, hence my desire to pump up the red/green content. And yes, I like plaid patterns as well.


The final box has other odds and ends, but still several kilometers worth of ribbon. So after taking stock earlier today, I figure we have some 14+ kilometers of ribbon, and since adult presents are usually far smaller than kiddie packages, that could be as much as 8-9 years supply. Yipes. Overdid it. Seriously. :)

Oh, and don’t get me started on wrapping paper. I haven’t found the source of that yet. See where we use a lot of these ribbons from photos of previous Christmases, here, here, here , here and here.


16 Responses

  1. I gasped when I thought those were ribbons were for 1 Christmas season, you could be the pinoy Santa Claus. I find hand crafted ribbons on a gift a nice touch.

  2. Wow! I’m drooling over the ribbon. Good to see you posting again, MM! I like following your IG but I miss the writing.

  3. I fully understand and empathaize MM. I HARDLY buy retail, especially full price.

    BUT, haven’t really done the China way yet. Hahaha

    I also buy in bulk or multiples as (1) I can’t be bothered making another trip (no sari sari store and no maid/driver to send); (2) they might run out of the same stock (remember, this is Oz).

    What does Mrs MM & the Teen say about that behavior? Hubs used to castigate me until he got in a bind a few times (impromptu gifts) and when I picked from my hoard, este stash, like a magician, pulling a rabbit out of the hat, he just zipped it.

  4. Dragon, I think I have a hoarding gene passed down from my mother’s bloodline… but I throw in a heavy dose of financial/economic rationalization that makes it seem less frivolous or inexplicable. I don’t save money, I just have much more choice. So while I might end up paying 1/4th the price retail, I end up buying 4x the amount. :)

    As for the Teen, she readily opts to “go with Dad” on shopping expeditions at say outlet malls, because I tend to buy t-shirts and stuff like that on sale, but by the dozen or two. And as with you, I have a drawer filled with nice presents for whenever the need arises.

    Oftentimes, it is a situation of “false economies” but you have to guard against that. I think the New York Times recently did an article on how trying to save, one doesn’t really save at all, but they were focusing on buying one or two items, I tend to buy by the dozen or gross. :)

  5. I can never eesist ribbons, wrapping paper, stationery and other craft things, so if I ever end up in Yiwu, my family will have to leave me there and come back for me the next year.

  6. I am “green” with envy… Let me know when you want to unload and sell some of your ribbons.

  7. I have a big cabinet with all the stuff I hoard during sales and that is where I shop when I need a gift for someone :)
    Love the ribbons!

  8. Let’s get one thing straight: we do not hoard. They are stash. Because we DO use/give away… :-D

  9. I have ribbon-envy!
    If money wasn’t a concern, I’d take a job as a gift-wrapping attendant in a shopping mall.

  10. I enjoy wrapping gifts! I even offer my services to wrap gifts of my friends. Hahaha! Like you MM, I also love buying wrappers and ribbons. For me, a gift is not complete without wrapping it, tying a ribbon, attaching a card and a sticker to complete the look/package. :)



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