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Everyone has received bad Christmas gifts before. Here are types of gifts you should avoid. There are exceptions to many of these, but these are good guidelines to keep you out of trouble with your friends and family this Christmas.

Passive Aggressive Gifts

Whether you intend to send the message, "you need help to stay clean and neat" or not, avoid gifts that can be taken in a negative way. These include personal hygiene products such as toothbrushes and deodorant. Your teenage son, who probably needs these the most, will not appreciate them. Maybe it would be fine if your son or friend told you the exact electric razor he wanted for Christmas, but otherwise stay away from this category of gifts.

Your office mates will not appreciate the ear and nose hair trimmer that you give. Maybe all of the other people in the office would benefit, but you don't want to be the one giving the blackhead remover to a co-worker. That goes for giving out a year's supply of diet pills or buying a gym membership for someone.

Joke or Gag Gifts

Often these gifts are not that funny. Unless you are at an event like a White Elephant gift exchange where these types of gifts are expected, then you are probably better off not giving them. Gag gifts can be funny for about 30 minutes, but after that they will probably find their way to the trash can or the bottom of the closet.

However, if you are buying gifts for a clown, these might be perfect. Just be careful about calling your mother-in-law a clown and thinking she will enjoy a whoopee cushion.

Tasteless and Unthoughtful Gifts

Your vegetarian friend won't appreciate, and will probably be offended by, your gift of The Real Meat Cookbook. Musical boxer shorts for your boss would fall into the category of tasteless. You should avoid that great deal on the Girls Gone Wild DVD collection for your church staff.

Totally tacky is giving away a single grocery item with a "buy one, get one free" sticker still attached. Toilet brushes also don't rank very high in the Christmas gift giving spirit.

There is the ever popular "socks and underwear" gift. When we were kids we hated getting these. However, when we grew up and had to start buying clothes with our own money, socks and underwear don't seem so terrible. I did read a tip for guys buying lingerie for your lady: unless she tears out the page from the Victoria's Secret catalog and circles the exact item and size, then don't even consider lingerie as a Christmas gift. Sounds like this was wise advice from someone who made the mistake

Used Gifts

Hand me down clothes and your old skis fit into this category. We all agree that there is no reason to throw something away if it still has good life left in it. But these are the types of things you give out of kindness-not as Christmas gifts.

Homemade Gifts

Not all homemade gifts are bad. Sometimes they can be the best gifts you can give. A good example is homemade food related items. But you should probably stick to these items only if you are good at them. My wife is such an excellent cookie baker that we get invited to events just so we will bring cookies, but if you manage to burn water while cooking, you should probably avoid food related gifts.

Giving away homemade sweaters will probably not be as appreciated as you would hope, unless you are grandma and it is expected. Especially if the person does not wear sweaters. That is just as thoughtless as giving The Real Meat Cookbook to a vegetarian. Again, if you are known for the quality of sweaters you make and the recipient has shown interest in them, then they may be a great choice. But just because you know how to make something does not mean that it is the right gift for everyone on your list.

Surging HamsterAnimals as Gifts

Only if you know the person wants a particular animal companion, you should avoid live animals as gifts. Of course, if your children want a puppy, and you are willing to take care of it, then an animal is a perfect gift. But, typically, for your casual friends and office companions, animals should be avoided as gifts. Animals can be a blessing and a burden. Don't be the one who gifted the burden.

The exception to this is maybe your office-mate wanted a hamster for Christmas, yet he probably wants to be able to pick out the hamster at the pet store himself to find the color and personality of his choice. While gift cards are typically seen as thoughtless gifts, this is a great use for one. It shows that you knew what the person wanted, but also realize how personal such a choice can be.

Gift Cards

This is a gift that has gone back and forth in popularity. When these little cards first became popular a few years ago, they were a big hit (though gift certificates have been around for many years). Gift cards were seen as a way to allow the recipient to get whatever they wanted, up to the amount of the card. Or, they could combine a couple of cards and a bit of cash to get a really great gift for themselves. The problem now is that a card to a store says, "You try to figure out what you want at this store because I couldn't take the time to pick out something thoughtful." Today, gift cards are seen as a thoughtless way to ease your conscious when giving gifts.

In defense of gift cards there are times when they are not only appropriate, but appreciated. If you have a friend or relative who is really passionate about a subject you know nothing about, then a gift card can be helpful. For example, you know your sister is a fanatic about cooking and buys quality tools for her kitchen. You want her to have something special, but wouldn't know a good knife from a screwdriver. Find out where she gets most of her cooking utensils and get her a gift card from there. That is thoughtful and appreciated.

Your Worst Gifts

Maybe you have gotten one worse than these. Take a moment to share in the comments below what you think are the worst gifts you have ever gotten or have heard of.

Maybe you have your own list of good and bad gifts for Christmas, or any time of the year. Write an article on Info Barrel to tell us more.