Thanks for your thoughtful gift! Did you happen to keep the receipt?

That's probably not a conversation you want to have. So what should you do with those three extra coffee grinders and charming needlepoint "Puppies in a Basket" throw pillow that aren't quite right in your mid-century modern pad?

Here are eight tips that will hopefully make your holiday returns happy:

  • If possible to do so without looking like a cad, get the gift receipt from the gift giver.

  • Return the unwanted item ASAP. Wait too long, and that lovely $55.97 deluxe mahjong set may be marked down to $7.99. And that's what you'll get in return.

  • Return the item in its original packaging. Neatness counts.

  • Be willing to exchange the item or accept store credit, if it means you'll get more to spend.

  • Remember to bring the original credit card you used for the purchase if you're returning a gift you bought.

  • Befriend the sales staff. Niceness counts. Employees sometimes use their discretion about whether to allow return/exchange transactions.

  • Avoid peak shopping hours so employees are less frazzled and more willing to work with you. If you hit a brick wall of resentment, try a different location. And remember -- smile!

  • Unable to exchange or get a store credit or cash back? There's always the fine art of regifting.