The Customs of Christmas

Christmas Returns

In each of clues 6 and 12, three different consecutive returns are given; so there must be some overlap between the two clues. By clue 2, Erica's return wasn't the gift that was too small, so there isn't complete overlap between clues 6 and 12. By clue 9, the sweatshirt didn't go back to the Gap. So, in clues 6 and 12, either Tara's gift was the wrong color or the Gap return was because the item of apparel was too small. Testing the first case, clues 6 and 12 would combine to give the following order of returns: to the Gap, Erica's gift, Tara's wrong color gift, the item that was too small, and the sweatshirt, By clue 1, the Banana Republic return wasn't the 5th one Mrs. Holly made, nor was the Banana Republic return Erica's gift or the item that was the wrong color (5). The Banana Republic return would be the article that was too small. By clue 1, Zach's item wasn't returned to Banana Republic and wasn't the 5th return, so Zach's return would have been to the Gap. By clue 11, Tara's article wasn't the jeans; in clue 1, then, Tara's return would have been because she didn't like the item – a conflict with the information that her gift would have been returned because it was the wrong color. So, the first case for combining clues 6 and 12 fails. Therefore, between clues 6 and 12, Mrs. Holly would have made the following consecutive returns in order: Tara's item, the too small article to the Gap, Erica's sweatshirt, and the article that was the wrong color. If the item that was the wrong color had been the 5th one returned, by clue 3, the hat would have been the 2nd and Mindy's gift the 3rd item to be returned. However, Mindy's gift would have been from the Gap – no (9). So, the article that was the wrong color was Mrs. Holly's 4th return, with Erica's sweatshirt 3rd, the too small item from the Gap 2nd, and Tara's gift 1st. By clue 1, the return to the Banana Republic wasn't the 5th one. The Banana Republic item also wasn't Erica's gift nor the wrong color (5); Tara's gift was from the Banana Republic. Since Mindy's gift wasn't the one from the Gap (9), by clue 3, Mindy's item was the 5th returned, with the hat then returned 4th. By clue 1, the jeans weren't bought at the Banana Republic and weren't Mrs. Holly's 5th return, so they went back 2nd to the Gap. By clue 1, Mindy's item wasn't returned 5th because Mindy didn't like it; and by clue 8, Mindy's article of clothing wasn't the wrong style. Mindy's return was because the item was too large. Mindy then didn't get the shorts (7); Tara got the shorts, and Mindy got the jacket. Mindy's too large jacket wasn't from Abercrombie and Fitch (4) or American Eagle Outfitters (10); it came from Eddie Bauer. By clue 2, Erica's sweatshirt was returned to Abercrombie and Fitch; the 4th return was to American Eagle. By clue 1, Zach got the hat; the jeans were a gift to Ben. By clue 1, the Banana Republic return was because the shorts were the wrong style. Erica's sweatshirt went back because she didn't like it. Mrs. Holly made the Christmas gift returns as follows:

  1. Banana Republic, Tara's shorts were the wrong style
  2. The Gap, Ben's jeans were too small
  3. Abercrombie and Fitch, Erica didn't like her sweatshirt
  4. American Eagle Outfitters, Zach's hat was the wrong color
  5. Eddie Bauer, Mindy's jacket was too large

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