Unless you've got the kind of luck that it takes to win the huge Powerball drawing, there is likely a trip to the returns counter at a nearby store in your immediate future.

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Joshua Lott - Getty Images
Joshua Lott - Getty Images
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Christmas gift-giving brings it on every year. Something broke. Something never worked. It didn't fit. It's ugly. It's the wrong size. Two people gave you the same gift.

There's a plethora of reasons for your trip to the dreaded returns counter, but regardless, it's got to happen and you look forward to it with the same passion as a root canal.

The biggest question though, is when to go? From personal experience, unless it's the toy your child has wished for all year and it's not working, do not go this week!

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This week, from Walmart to Home Depot, their return counters are busier than the public restrooms at Mexican food festival.

And if you happened to have purchased a gift online that needs to be returned, some of those retailers are now charging a fee for returns, so that's not a whole lot better.

In an article from fox5atlanta.com we learn that you probably want to wait until after New Year's Day to make that dreaded trip to the returns counter.

Usually, the best time to return or exchange a gift, according to  smart shopping expert Trae Bodge, is after the new year to avoid crowds while taking advantage of post-holiday bargains.

"In my opinion, it’s best to return or exchange a gift between Jan 2 and Jan 15 because the week after Christmas is the busiest time for returns, Bodge says. "This window is a sweet spot because crowds will start to thin out, yet the clearance sales will still be in effect.  And most retailers guarantee returns through mid-January."

Emily Elconin/Getty Images
Emily Elconin/Getty Images
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The shopping expert adds that it's also a great idea to have a gift receipt if at all possible.

" If you don’t have a gift receipt, you might have to accept a refund of a lower amount if the item you are returning happens to be on sale."

So, relax for a few more days.  Enjoy your New Year's Eve party and don't rush in that return until sometime in the next couple of weeks.

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