Slapping a nice bow on that last-minute gift of socks this Christmas won’t make it better — in fact, it will make it worse, according to a new study.
Researchers at the University of Nevada found wrapping presents too neatly inflates the expectations of what’s inside — while doing a sloppy job actually helps the gift go over better.
“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,” marketing professor and study researcher Jessica Rixom said.
“However, with sloppy wrapping, our friends set their expectations lower and will actually like the gift more,” Rixom added.
The researchers made the surprising finding by studying a group of Miami Heat fans. Some were given mugs emblazoned with the team’s logo, while others received mugs featuring the Orlando Magic logo.
When a Magic mug was shoddily wrapped, the Heat fans still reported a positive response.
The study, published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, also found that bitter feelings over nicely wrapped gifts were likely to be worse when they came from a loved one rather than an acquaintance.
“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,” Rixom said.
“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,” she added.
This article originally appeared in NewYorkPost.