Holidays are stressful enough with all of the shopping, saving, cooking, cleaning and unexpected (or expected) guests. For those of us that never really mastered the art of gift wrapping, this can just be one extra added stress of the season to get all of your presents to look just so. But luckily, a new study suggests that when a gift is not perfectly wrapped - the recipient may not mind one bit.
Today reports about the University of Nevada study that looked at how gift recipients viewed packages when they were presented neatly wrapped or sloppily put together. What they found was that participants were often pleasantly surprised when a sloppily wrapped gift was actually a lovely present inside. But the presents that looked beautiful on the outside don’t always live up to the expectations of the person receiving the gift.
Co-author of the study Jessica Rixom explains,”Based on participants' answers to various questions, it suggested that the reason why this happens is because the neat wrapping sets higher expectations for the gift inside, which makes it harder for the gifts to live up to those expectations. When the gifts are unwrapped, the recipient is a bit disappointed whereas when it's wrapped sloppily, expectations are lower so the gift is more of a pleasant surprise.”
The good news is that you don’t have to go watch a Youtube tutorial on how to perfectly wrap a holiday gift, but according to the study you may want to spend a little extra time making sure gifts for an acquaintance look a little more on point. Rixom explains this reasoning, “With friends we typically know where the relationship stands so when we receive the gift, we use the wrapping as a cue or signal about the gift inside. But with acquaintances, there is more ambiguity around the relationship so we use the wrapping as a cue for how the gift giver sees the relationship, rather than as a signal about the gift inside.”
Do you struggle each year trying to get your gifts looking perfect?
What do you think of the study that suggests sloppy wrapping might not be all that bad?