"The gifts should be returned to the givers if the wedding is dissolved within a short timeframe like hers was," Lizzie Post, author of Emily Post's Etiquette 18th Edition, tells PEOPLE.
"I don't want to come across as saying that charity wouldn't be a great way to handle it. It's just that in that case, you're making a charitable donation on someone else's behalf under your name."
Post, who says Kardashian, 31, now comes off as undeservingly "generous," adds that the reality star will also "get a huge tax write-off for them, because I am sure they are not Target gifts."
Kardashian, who filed for divorce from NBA player Kris Humphries on Monday, says she will donate "the money for all the gifts to the Dream Foundation."
But a source close to the couple tells PEOPLE they may still also return the gifts. "They'll figure it out sometime soon," says the source. "They genuinely feel horrible."
Adds the source about Kardashian's frame of mind: She's been particularly mortified when considering her wedding's epic scale and "all the hard work, all the people that got involved."
Value UndisclosedKardashian's donation, according to the foundation's president, Thomas W. Rollerson, speaking to ABC News, will be a "symbolic donation in the value of the gifts she received." Rollerson did not disclose how much money that amounts to.
But, according to Post, "Even if she donates ... in the name of the sender, that's inappropriate, too, because then you're making a donation and you don't know how the person feels about the charity."
The only exception, she says, is "when [gifts have] been used or if they've been monogrammed or personalized in some way."
Post also advises including notes to accompany the presents being sent back.
What you want to say in that note is, 'Thank you so much for your generosity; however, our marriage is going to be dissolved,' " she says. "Then you end it with, 'Thank you so much for your support and understanding.' "
Post, 29, wishes to emphasize that she is not criticizing Kardashian as a person. In fact, she's going through a breakup of her own at the moment. "People close to Kim should support her at this time and not judge her," the etiquette expert says. "This is something really difficult to go through."
With Additional Reporting by JENNIFER GARCIA
For more exclusive details on Kim's split and how the couple are faring, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE