Don’t waste your time trying to perfectly wrap presents this Christmas. We like to think that doing a fancy wrapping job will make the gift better, but according to a new study, it’ll actually make it worse.
Researchers at the University of Nevada have found that when presents are too neatly wrapped, it raises the expectation of what’s inside. And on the flip side, they found that doing a sloppy job helps the gift go over better.
“When we receive a gift from a friend, we use the wrapping as a cue about the gift inside and form expectations,” explains study researcher Jessica Rixom. “If it's wrapped neatly, we set high expectations, and it's hard for the gift to live up to those expectations.”
But if the wrapping is messy, our friends’ expectations are lower and they’ll like the gift more. While this holds true for loved ones, it’s not true for giving gifts to acquaintances. The research finds that they’ll view the sloppy presentation as a sign you don’t value them enough to wrap neatly.