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Christmas gifts that may end up on the return pile

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Picking the right gift is never easy, but there are some gifts that have a higher risk of being more unwelcome than others—and not just the obvious oddballs that end up on worst-gift list, like a tacky Christmas sweater or a belly button lint brush.

Shoppers who returned gifts last year took back about 10 percent of gifts received, according to the National Retail Federation. Nearly three-quarters of Americans think it's OK to regift, too, with a third saying they did so last year, per an American Express survey.

Not that you, the giver, will ever know. In a 2011 AmEx survey, 59 percent of shoppers said they wouldn't tell a loved one that their gift was returned. To limit the odds of an unhappy return, give these risky gifts carefully.

By CNBC's Kelli B. Grant
Posted 22 Dec. 2013

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