Report finds that people who receive sloppily wrapped presents are happier with them

If you’re a last-minute gift wrapper, take heart. According to a recent report, there’s no need to agonize over those gifts, making sure they’re wrapped and ribboned perfectly. In fact, it may even be better if you play it fast and loose.

According to “Presentation Matters: The Effect of Wrapping Neatness on Gift Attitudes,” which recently appeared in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, a perfectly wrapped gift leaves high expectations for the item inside — perhaps too high.

According to researchers, when you give a neatly wrapped gift to a friend, they end up having high expectations for what might be inside. Conversely, if your wrapping job is sloppy, the recipient will have lower expectations, and will then be delightfully surprised and pleased when the gift has been unwrapped.


However, the same report said that if you’re giving that gift to an acquaintance versus a friend or family member, the more perfectly wrapped the gift, the better. That’s because, if there is an ambiguity in regard to your relationship status, the recipient may interpret the wrapping neatness as a reflection of your relationship with each other, rather than a reflection on the gift itself.

So when it comes to your loved ones, wrap your gifts quickly and they’ll be more pleasantly surprised by what’s inside. With acquaintances, it’s a “dress (the present) to impress” type of situation.

Study aside, if you’re still struggling to wrap your gifts, there’s a short video clip of a wrapping hack gone viral that may help. Simply put, if your item isn’t fitting a piece of pre-cut wrapping paper horizontally or vertically, turn it on a diagonal.

Here’s the clip:

And if you’re looking for even more wrapping help, we have a list of genius gift wrapping tips that can come in handy at any time of the year.

Do you love wrapping gifts or are you more of a “throw it in a gift bag” kind of a person?