By Lauren Pastrana

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Christmas is over and all the presents have been handed out, but maybe there’s a gift or two that missed the mark.

You can either wear those tacky pajamas from grandma with a smile, or you can trade them in for something you actually want!

Today’s “Lauren’s List” has the return rules you should follow to get the most out of that unwanted present.

Return It ASAP
According to Shopper Talk USA, December 26th is expected to be one of the top five busiest shopping days of the year. That’s thanks in great part to the fact that people want to return presents as soon as possible, so they make sure they’re still in the return window. Plus, the longer you wait, that item might be on clearance by the time you make it to the store in January. And if you don’t have a receipt, the store will only give you what the item is worth at the time of return.

Protect The Packaging
If you have any doubt about a specific gift, leave it in the original packaging. Some stores won’t take returns of items like movies or video games once the plastic wrapper is ripped off. Other retailers may even charge a restocking fee if the box is opened.

Don’t Waste Gift Cards
Consumers spent more than $130 billion on gift cards last year, but advisory company CEB Tower Group found roughly $1 billion went unused in the year since they were purchased! That’s money just burning a hole in your wallet. If you don’t shop at the store for which you received the card, you can trade the cards for one you’ll actually use. Sites like GiftCardGranny.com will tell you where you can get the maximum value for your unwanted cards.

Have Your ID Handy
Some retailers use a computerized return-authorization system to make sure people aren’t abusing the return policy. Even if you didn’t purchase the gift in question, you may have to show your license or other government issued ID so the clerk can track your return history.

Do you have gifts you want to return?

Tell me on Facebook or Twitter.

If you have an idea for a future “Lauren’s List” send it to lpastrana@cbs.com.

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