December 24th, 2011 | Culture

Fancy wrapping paper can be bad, researchers say

Gifts_xmas
Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

Scrambling to wrap those last few presents? Drop the fancy wrapping paper, put down the ribbon and stop channeling Martha Stewart — a recent Yale study suggests you might be better off keeping it simple.

Elaborate wrapping heightens gift recipients’ expectations and may not improve the giving and receiving experience, according to research conducted by School of Management professors Nathan Novemsky and Ravi Dhar. Rather than making a less desirable gift more appealing, nice wrapping increases the disappointment of receiving unwanted presents. The researchers also concluded that wrapping desirable gifts plainly can increase recipients’ glee upon opening because their expectations for the gift are not overly heightened.

“Dial down the amount of effort, the amount of time, the amount of expense you’re willing [to] put into gift wrapping because it’s not really making people happier,” Novemsky said in a Thursday interview with Marketplace.

No need to overachieve, Yale. It’s winter break.