How to return holiday gifts without hurting feelings

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Thursday, January 2, 2020
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Jan. 2 marks "National Return Day," and even if you're frustrated with not getting what you want over the holiday, experts suggest these tips to keep your cool at the return counter.

The second day of the New Year is typically known as 'National Return Day.'

According to UPS, shoppers are expected to return 1.9 million packages on January 2, a 26 percent increase from last year.

In total, Americans are predicted to return a record $100 billion worth of gifts, according Business Insider.

So, what is the 'nice way' of returning that sweater your aunt gave you that isn't quite your style? Here are the top four etiquette tips for returning a gift, according to

Give it time to grow on you

Don't let first impressions sway you! The gift may not be perfect for you at the moment, but it may be in the not-so-distant future.

Assess the situation

If the gift included a receipt, don't worry about returning or exchanging it, according to The giver probably knew you might not like the item and would want to return it. If it didn't come with a receipt, however, you'll need to be a bit more thoughtful.

Choose your battles

Maybe the gift came from someone who really wants you to use it.

"If this is somebody who is expecting to see this gift used or displayed in your home, sometimes you need to keep it for a year or two," said Jodi R.R. Smith, owner of the etiquette consulting company Mannersmith. "Once they can see it a few times, you can pass it off."

Do what you want, but say thank you.

Ultimately, it's up to you to choose how to handle an unwanted gift.

"Once a gift is given, it is owned by the recipient and it is up to the recipient what they want to do with it," Smith said.

She personally suggested to not throw things away others can use, so selling or donating a gift is fair game.