Christmas returns: What you need to know before taking back unwanted gifts

The gifts have been given; the unwrapping is done and while many gifts were the perfect fit, some may have missed the mark. So how can you return those that weren’t quite right?

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Optoro, a reverse logistics company, estimates that about $120 billion in goods will be returned this holiday season. Some items will land back on store shelves, but many will be sent to landfills, USA Today reported.

CBS News reported that the amount of merchandise that goes to landfills could fill 23 million refrigerators or 6,400 Boeing 747s.

It is estimated that two of every three consumers will return a gift this year, Business Insider reported.

But if you need to get rid of the gift, and either want to return it for cash, credit or another item, there are some deadlines you need to be aware of.

Each retailer will be different. But here is a list of popular stores — both online and brick-and-mortar locations.


Amazon will accept holiday returns until Jan. 31 for most items if they were purchased between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31. Otherwise, there’s a 30-day return window, USA Today reported.

Visit to start the process.

You can also return items purchased on Amazon at Kohl’s, saving you the time trying to find a box and printing a label. You may also get a Kohl’s coupon when dropping off a return.

You can also do returns at UPS Stores, Amazon Books, Amazon 4-star, Fresh Grocery and Whole Foods Market locations.

Best Buy

Best Buy’s deadline for returns for items purchased between Oct. 18 and Jan. 2 is Jan. 16, Fortune reported.


For items purchased at GameStop after Oct. 31, you have either Jan. 15 as the deadline or 30 days after purchase, whichever is later.


Target has varying return windows depending on brand or products, according to Fortune.

Smartphones and Lego Collection items can be returned until Jan. 8.

Apple products, except for iPhones, can be returned until Jan. 9.

Other electronics can be returned until Jan. 24.

Other items can be returned within 90 days of the purchase date.

For more information, visit Target’s holiday help website.


The return period for items with a 14- or 30-day window started Dec. 26 for items purchased from Nov. 1 through Dec. 25, according to Forbes.

For more information, visit

The “Today” show says to try to do the returns in person for the quickest refund and have it in the original packaging. Some stores may even offer curbside returns. Also, have your ID and — if you have it — the receipt ready, and document your return if you returned the item via mail in case there’s an issue.