Tips on returning holiday gifts

(CBS) -- Stacey Flynn takes her time picking out gifts hoping to avoid the dreaded task of returning them.

"It could take a whole day depending on how much you have to return," she says.

A survey from the National Retail Federation estimates almost two-thirds of people made at least one return during the past holiday season. Return policies vary dramatically from "No questions asked" to "Strict rules" which can aggravate the most seasoned shopper.

Consumer Reports Senior Editor Donna Rosato offers strategic tips on making returns more efficient.

"First don't open the box, many stores will charge you a restocking fee on certain items, especially electronics if you don't return it in the original packaging," she warns.

Rosato says to keep all receipts. If you're returning at a store, bring your ID and keep an eye on the calendar.

"Some retailers are very generous but others have very limited time that you can return. In fact, many major stores will only allow you 90 days to return an item but some as little 30 days or even 15 days," she says.

Most shoppers agree they try to avoid one day in particular.

"Well you definitely don't go the day after Christmas I think we all know that's rule number one," says shopper Marguerite Lacorte.

It's a rule that could save you time, money and aggravation this holiday season.