How to Return Holiday Gifts

How To Return Holiday Gifts

It's time to enjoy Christmas! Soon, you will inevitably receive a gift that's, shall we say… ‘not for you.'

Many retail stores are going to be packed with shoppers and their Christmas returns. This can be hectic for everyone! 

Here are some helpful tips to make the return and exchange process run as smoothly and as fast as possible!

Know Where the Gift was Purchased From

You can’t return a gift if you don’t know where it was purchased!

If the packaging has a barcode, you can scan it using your smartphone. Download apps like Quickmark or ShopSavvy- these can help you determine which store it came from!

Try to Bring the Receipt

If you got a gift receipt with the item, it's a lot easier to return or exchange any items you received. 

If you don’t have a receipt or proof of purchase, ask for store credit instead. Many stores will do this for their customers in the event that they don’t have a receipt. 

Check the Return Policy

So now you know where the gift is from and you hopefully have the receipt. However, you need to make sure you’re returning items before the return policy deadline.

While the typical, year-round policy of returning items is within 30 days from the date of purchase, holiday purchases may have different policies and criteria. You can get this information from the back of the receipt, the store’s website or you can speak with customer service at the store.

Bring An ID

To get a refund for an item purchased, some stores may require you to show your ID or driver’s license. 

Don’t forget to bring your state ID or license with you when you go to return or exchange items. 

Pack Everything

Make sure to pack your items together with the tags, accessories, and the original box or packaging. Unless the product you are returning is a defective one, you need to make sure that it’s in good working condition.

Items that are in the original packaging and condition are a lot easier to return. Without the original packaging, you may only be offered store credit or a partial refund. 

Be Kind

Remember, retail workers are trying to help you and follow their store’s policy. It’s important to be polite, calm, and patient throughout the return process.

Speak To The Manager

In the event that there are issues returning an item, be diligent by speaking to the store manager.

In some cases, managers can override certain policies that clerks can’t. Always reiterate your issues to the manager and be understanding and patient.

Store Policies Of Popular Retail Stores

Before you decide if you want a refund or exchange, it’s important to know the store policy first.

While there are stores that will adjust their policies on a case-to-case basis, others will not accept returns on items that don’t have a receipt or aren’t in their original packaging. 

We’ve rounded up some store policies of popular retailers that are worth checking out.


To get a full refund, items shipped by Amazon between November 1st and December 31st, 2019 can be returned until January 31st, 2020.

After repacking your item, log in to your Amazon account to start a “gift return”. On the packing slip, enter the Order ID number. Print and affix the provided return label to your package.

Once the item is received, you will get a refund in the form of an Amazon gift card.


Apple can only accept returns if the item was purchased through their website or in an Apple store.

If you received the item between November 15th and December 25th, you have until January 8th to exchange or return the item.

Refunds are issued in the form of an Apple gift card. If you are returning an iPhone or an iPad, remember to follow up with your wireless cell phone or internet provider to make sure that they cancel your service.


If the item you want to return is purchased between November 1st to December 31st, it is still eligible and covered by the extended return policy period until January 14th. However, tablets, mobile phones, wearables, major appliances, and monthly AppleCare is not included in this extended policy. 


Products purchased at JCPenney can be returned whether or not you have the receipt.

If you still have the proof of purchase, you can either exchange the item or return it and get a full refund (in the original form of payment) for the purchase.

However, if you are returning an item with a gift receipt, the refund will be given to you on a gift card.

For items with no receipt, JCPenney can still offer you an exchange or refund. However, you will get the lowest selling price  in the form of a merchandise voucher.


The return policy at Kohl’s allows you to return any unwanted items with 180 days from the date of purchase.

Premium electronic products purchased between November 1st and December 2nd can be returned on or before January 31st. However, you need to have the original packaging and a valid receipt.


Return items at Macy’s need to be in original condition with the original tags. If you had an item shipped, it cannot be returned.


Nordstrom is the most lenient when it comes to return deadlines. Unlike other stores which usually only accept returns within 30 days, there is no amount of time before they won’t accept a return.

To receive an exchange or refund, bring the item you want to return with the proof of purchase.


If you want to return an item purchased from Target, it should be in new condition and returned within 90 days from the purchase date in order to receive a refund or an exchange.

All entertainment and electronic items need to be returned within 30 days. Apple products, not including smartphones, need to be returned within 15 days.


Walmart offers an extended return period for holiday purchases. If the item normally has a 14 or 30-day return window, Walmart will allow you to return it until December 26.

You don’t need to let unwanted gifts collect dust or be thrown away. Instead, return or exchange it for something that works for you. This is more economical and ensures you get something you really wanted for the holidays.