In our rushed, convenience-based world, we increasingly put the time and consideration it takes for gift wrapping on the chopping block. So often we take all the effort of obtaining the perfect gift for someone then stick it in a re-used shopping or gift bag. (Yup, guilty.) For as ancient an act gift giving is, it turns out there's good reasons not to skimp on this important step that root back to the understanding of human nature itself.
See, we humans are hardwired to automatically respond to sensory information. We glean data through our senses, sight being our strongest, and immediately filter it though our brain for interpretation. It supposedly takes just 50 milliseconds (.05 seconds) to form an opinion and only one tenth of a second to form a first impression. We can't help it, our survival counts on these reactions.
When given a gift, we receive it first with our eyes. It's proven that positive first impressions lead to a greater sense of satisfaction, so it's no mystery why a gift wrapped with attention and care would instinctively elicit a warmer response, setting a positive tone for the entire experience. Not only is beautiful wrapping pleasing to behold, it's an immediate visual expression of the giver's care, respect, and appreciation.
Have you given a gift to a really young child recently, like a one or two year old? Children this age feast on the moment, their wondrous expression an open book on gifting in it's purest form—the surprise and delight as the gift is presented, the glow of feeling special that lights up their face, how they behold it as if the wrapped package is the gift itself (so much so that they sometimes have to be coaxed into opening it.) All this with little-to-no regard for what's in the box (which, if we're being honest, can sometimes garner a less climactic response.)
No one ever outgrows the elation that comes with receiving a beautifully wrapped present, but somewhere along the way our culture has lost reference to this important aspect of gifting. In comparison to expert gift-giving societies like Japan, we've possibly never given it the reverence it deserves. We consistently overlook and undervalue gift presentation, turning it sometimes into an awkward experience—hand someone an unattractive, sloppy package, even if it contains the coolest gift in the world, and their brain has to do a little reboot to determine if the gift is indeed a good thing.
Not. At. All. Misdirected by media and marketing influences, we've become conditioned to fret, first and foremost, over the cost of a gift, it's exclusivity, or even the quantity or amount of items we are giving. Oddly, people often think that expensive gifts are appreciated more than inexpensive ones, but studies consistently show no association between the price of a gift and the recipients' feelings of appreciation. What does correlate, however, is how thoughtful the gift was perceived to be.
We repeat: you don't have to drop a ton of money to give someone something they'll truly appreciate.
One last bit about human nature... the primal correlation between people's satisfaction level and their visual first impressions has been further confirmed in, of all places, the tech world. In understanding basic human nature, web designers have realized that if their visual interface can elicit a positive emotional response, then their audience will be more tolerant of minor usability issues. In other words, people perceive attractive products as more likable.
To unwrap that a bit more (pun intended)... making the effort for delight-at-first sight gift wrapping can actually elevate both the item given and your recipients level of appreciation for your gift. Like, whoa!
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Paper Guru x Wrappily: Gift Wrapping with Tuxedo Pleats, pt.2
What are you waiting for? Watch, learn, and knock someone's socks-off with your next gift.
From gift wrap basics to professional-level detail, Paper Guru Gift Wrapping Courses offer training at every level. Masterfully choreographed, the lessons build on skills, introducing greater and more creative techniques and artistry as you learn along with Shiho's gentle step-by-step processes. Paper Guru courses are perfect for anyone interested in building their own gift wrap business or simply seeking the personal satisfaction of elevating their gifting with family and friends.
More of Shiho's amazing creations, tutorials, DIYs and party hacks she has created with Wrappily for you. To see her full catalog of tutorials follow her on YouTube.
Gift Wrapping with Tuxedo Pleats, Part 1
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Eco-friendly and adorably chic, Wrappily uses neighborhood newspaper presses to print great patterns on 100% recyclable and compostable newsprint—an answer to the millions of tons of trash attributed to wrapping paper every year. This smart, new take on wrapping paper is an idea who's time has come. Our founder set out on her mission to green-up giving in 2013, a journey filled with marvelously talented people who are creating amazing patterns for our wrapping paper. After all, we believe in beautifully wrapped gifts, but not at the expense of the environment.