The Best Hacks for Returning Holiday Gifts

Erin Fitzpatrick

We've all been there: You opened that perfectly wrapped gift box with high hopes, only to be slightly underwhelmed by its contents. Did you unwrap a not-so-cute jacket? Receive a pair of shoes you'd rather swap for those Adidas Gazelles you've been eyeing? Get a kitschy dress you wouldn't be caught dead wearing? Don't fret. (Your BFF/mom/dad/brother/sister did his or her best!) Of course, you don't need to pretend you love the item—you can return your gift and get something you really like.

To help you replace your so-so gift, we've compiled some pointers on returning like a pro. From the apps to download to the best after-Christmas sales to hit up, we've rounded up tips to help you out. Plus, since we know you'll be searching for better items to buy with you store credit, we rounded up our favorite fail-safe picks to get yourself. Happy shopping! 

Scroll down to learn hacks for returning holiday gifts and shop items you'll definitely want to keep!

Let Your Phone Do All the Work

Returns—there's an app for that. If you're interested in returning a gift that was purchased for you online, consider downloading the Shyp app. In certain cities, Shyp will pick up, package, and ship your returns for you so you don't need to make the trek to the post office. Easy as pie!

Another cool app to know is Slice. If you were sent e-receipts for your gifts, Slice will keep them all organized in one place so you don't have to sift through multiple emails for your order and tracking numbers. (Plus, this app is also super helpful for purchases you've made yourself: It will notify you if the price of an item dropped after you bought it and will help you score a refund.) 

Hit Up After-Christmas Sales

Exchanging your gift for store credit? You'll be able to get the most bang for your buck during after-Christmas sales, when everything will be deeply discounted. Procrastinators, be weary: That means you can't let your gift sit in your room for weeks on end. For instance, Nordstrom's Half-Yearly Sale will begin on December 26, 2016 and run through through January 2, 2017, so you have a limited window of opportunity. Make the most of it! 

Other after-Christmas sales include Need Supply, which is offering 25% off site-wide from now through December 29, and Forever 21, where items are slashed up to 50% through December 31. 


Save yourself parking headaches and avoid the mall at peak hours. According to data collected by Google for Black Friday specifically, foot traffic at clothing stores peaks from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., which also rings true during the post-holiday season. You'd be wise to make your returns during the mornings or evenings to avoid the biggest rush. 

What's your favorite hack? Tell us in the comments below!


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