By now we’ve all seen the video of gift wrapping hacks that has been shared on every social media platform (and, for the record, I’m trying the gift bag hack). A new study, however, suggests we shouldn’t be spending so much time getting the seams just right and the ribbon all curled to perfection.
The authors of “Presentation Matters: The Effect of Wrapping Neatness on Gift Attitudes,” published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, assert that a sloppily wrapped gift from a friend or loved one is better received than a perfectly adorned one.
Why? It has to do with our expectations. A beautiful package raises the recipient’s expectation of a beautiul gift, the researchers at the University of Nevada found. According to their findings, nearly 45% of the recipients didn’t think their friend wrapped the pretty present, believing a store or a professional did it.
But a package that either isn’t wrapped very well or is in any kind of paper available is better received by family because their expectation is lowered. Also, 94% of recipients believed their friend or family member wrapped the gift themselves, rather than having someone else do it.
The opposite appeared to be true when the gift giver and receiver were merely acquaintances, however. If the relationship is still forming, the researchers found, the packaging serves more as a clue to the relationship than to the gift.
So, if you stress over raw edges and color-coordinated name tags on your holiday presents, this study might help you relax a little.
Still looking for gift ideas?
Looking for things to do during the holiday? The AJC Winter Guide has you covered, including:
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