The next time you’re in a rush wrapping a present and it doesn’t come out that well, don’t worry about it — a new study suggests it might actually make the person who’s getting it like it better. It sounds like the opposite of what you might expect, but the University of Nevada researchers found that gifts are better received if they’re wrapped sloppily instead of the wrapping being nicely done.
Researcher Jessica Rixom explained: “Our research found when gifts are wrapped neatly and given to a friend, it raises the expectations of the gift inside, resulting in our friends liking the gift less. However, with sloppy wrapping, our friends set their expectations lower and will actually like the gift more.” The study also found the nicely-wrapped phenomenon is more likely with someone close than with an acquaintance. Rixom said, “This response happens because when you give a gift to a friend, they know where the relationship stands, so the wrapping serves as a cue about the gift inside. With an acquaintance . . . if a gift is wrapped neatly, it cues positive feelings about the relationship with the recipient and this spills over to the gift inside.”