Doing a Bad Job Wrapping Presents Will Make People Like Your Gift More, Study Says

If you are all thumbs when wrapping presents, you’re in luck!

By: Amanda Mushro
"Poorly wrapped Christmas present, with tape everywhere and badly folded ends"


"Poorly wrapped Christmas present, with tape everywhere and badly folded ends"

Photo by: R_Koopmans


Beautifully wrapped gifts under the Christmas tree are one of the delights of the holidays. However, if wrapping presents is not one of your talents, there’s no need to feel bad about your sloppy skills. According to a new study from the University of Nevada, the worse the wrapping the more the gift is loved.

For the study, researchers looked at how the presentation of gift affects how the gift is received, and their findings may make your rethink how much time you spend wrapping presents.

Researchers showed that when people are handed an expertly wrapped gift, they may be expecting an equally fabulous gift inside. After all, if the gift-giver took the time to perfectly present the gift, so it must be amazing, right? However, if the gift isn’t over-the-top amazing, many feel a little bummed. But, if people are given a present that looks like it was wrapped in 30 seconds and they open the gift to see something nice, they perceive it to be a better gift than it really is.

To test this theory, researchers asked study participants to open a few gifts—some were perfectly wrapped and others were a sloppy mess. Here’s where the researchers got creative. All of the study participants identified as fans of the Miami Heat basketball team. So, a Miami Heat mug or a mug from rival team, the Orlando Magic, was inside the wrapping.

Participants were asked to rate their gift after opening, and the results were in–poorly wrapped gifts were better received, even if an Orlando Magic mug was inside.

If this study has you rethinking some of the pricey gifts you got for people, don’t exchange them too soon. Another part of the study found that acquaintances prefer expertly wrapped gifts because they symbolize value in the relationship. So, sloppy wrapping is cool for family and close friends, but the office gift exchange should come with a fancy bow.

Or if all else fails, you can’t go wrong with a gift bag!

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