How Long Do You Have to Return Unwanted Holiday Gifts?

If you're not quite happy with your holiday gifts, you don't need to keep them.

If you're not quite happy with your holiday gifts, you don't need to keep them.

"Don't feel bad if you have to return something because most people are doing it," said Lisa Lee Freeman, co-host of the Hot Shopping Tips podcast.

She answered Inside Edition's questions about returning gifts.

Is there a time limit?

"Return stuff ASAP because you always think you have more time than you really do," Freeman said.

She added that you should go to the retailers' websites to check their time limits and be aware that some departments within the same store have different time limits.

What if you don't have a receipt?

"You don't have to have a receipt all the time," Freeman said. "But the problem is if you don't have a receipt you may only get store credit or you may get the lowest price that that item sold for in the last month, so it may not be the price the gift giver paid."

Just be careful how much you return without receipts, she said. If you don't have a receipt, a store may ask for your ID, which some stores use to keep tabs on your returns.

"If you do too much returning, you can get banned from returning things from that store," Freeman added.

Does it have to be returned in the packaging?

Hang on to the packaging. Some stores won't take things back that are out of the packages.

"But there are some things you can open up, use and still return," Freeman said, such as makeup and perfume.

What about gift cards?

"Gift cards are not returnable," she said.

But you can get money for them by selling them on websites including, or, although you might not get full value for the card.

When do items from Amazon need to be returned?

"You have to get the gifts back by Jan. 31," she said.

She added that if the gift came from Amazon Marketplace, you need to check that specific seller's policy.