So, you’re ready to hit the after-Christmas sales, and just happen to have a gift or two that doesn’t fit or doesn’t fit. As eager as you are to make the switch for something you really love—at a discount, yet—we suggest you hold that thought. Return lines are notoriously long this time of year—nobody’s going to be in any kind of festive, good cheer holiday mood at this point, and you’re really just going to make yourself miserable. Wait out the crowds, and if there’s no good sales going on when you do return, take store credit so you can hit the next big markdowns to get something really great.

If you must return (say you got that luxe sweater you’ve been swooning over for weeks, but in the wrong size—and you don’t want to risk missing out), make sure you’re prepared. Receipt (if you can get your hands on it)—check. Plenty of time (not, say, running out in the last 20 minutes of your lunch hour)—check. Comfortable shoes—check. And be sure to check those receipts or the store’s website for their return policies before you go, so you know what to expect when you get there.