Christmas Gifts Are Better Received When They Are Terribly Wrapped, Study Finds

A sloppily-wrapped present may set up low expectations, thereby making the gift inside seem better, finds a study.

Not everybody has amazing abilities when it comes to wrapping Christmas gifts. In fact, some of us would never make it through a practical job interview to become an elf. If you happen to find that your presents are not exactly wrapped as you would like, there is reason for you not to stress too much over it.

According to a recent study, a sloppy wrapping procedure for Christmas gifts may actually make the person receiving the gift more excited about what they will find inside.

The research took place at the University of Nevada. They looked at the outward appearance of the present and realized that it did have an impact on how the person receiving the gift felt about what might be inside. It seems as if a package that was wrapped perfectly may actually make what is inside less special.

The study, which was entitled “Presentation Matters: The Effect of Wrapping Neatness on Gift Attitudes” was published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology in October.

The experts used “expectation disconfirmation theory” to determine how a gift that was perfectly wrapped could set higher standards for what was actually being given. In turn, it could lead to disappointment.

The opposite was also found to be true. When a present was wrapped in a sloppy fashion, the gift inside was more readily received. Interestingly, this finding was only true when a loved one received the gift.

If you happen to be giving something to an acquaintance, it is best if you wrap the gift as neatly as possible. The wrapping may actually have more of an impact than the gift inside when it comes to the relationship.

One of the co-authors of the study, Jessica Rixom, Ph.D. said: “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,” as reported by TODAY.