Christmas is over and now tons of folks are making the trek to the stores to return unwanted gifts. This year, do it the smart way to save a lot of hassle. This year retailers have gotten far better about not charging restocking fees and are no longer allowed to slap maintenance fees on unused gift card balances for at least a year under a federal rule enacted last year. But some, including Target, Best Buy and Walmart, tightened the time frames in which gifts must be returned. Here are some useful tips from USAToday when returning those gifts;

•Call for help. If you got a gadget gift that you can't get to work, call customer service before you return it, says Bridget Trask, senior vice president of retail services at customer service firm Convergys.

•Check the policy. If you got a gift that was purchased online, see if the website offers paid return-shipping labels. Read the policy closely, as some are mind-bogglingly complicated. If you don't have a receipt, call to find out what the store will do for you. It may only be merchandise credit for the lowest price the product has sold for in the last few months.

•Keep the box closed if you can. Although many retailers dropped their restocking fees, some still charge a percentage of the purchase price for restocking and to discourage one-time use of electronics, like those camera purchases to film weddings. Everything must be returned unused and in the original package.

You could always avoid the return lines and consider donating the gift! You can take it off of your taxes, and make someone else happy! What are some of the gifts you received this year that you are considering returning?