Furoshiki is a type of traditional Japanese wrapping cloth that was frequently used to transport clothes, gifts, or other goods. Although possibly dating back as far as the Nara period, the name, meaning "bath spread", derives from the Edo period practice of using them to bundle clothes while at the sento (public baths). Before becoming associated with public baths, furoshiki was known as hiradzutsumi, or flat folded bundle. Eventually, the furoshiki's usage extended to serve as a means for merchants to transport their wares or to protect and decorate a gift.
As a great substitute to using plastic bags. Not only is the Furoshiki environmentally friendly, but it is also more attractive than a plastic bag. For holidays and birthdays, you might want to consider skipping the wrapping paper and give a few gifts wrapped in a Furoshiki. It's much better than plastic bags you receive at supermarkets or wrapping paper, since it's highly resistant, reusable and multipurpose.