I was not lucky enough to grow up with pets. Every Christmas, I used to wish for a cute puppy in a big red bow. It never happened, but now I know that it was probably a good thing. I think growing up with a family pet would have been wonderful, but getting one as a holiday gift could have been trouble. That's because dogs given as holiday gifts (especially to children) are all too often forgotten when the novelty wears off.
Choosing to get a new dog is a big family decision that requires advance planning. If you are a parent and the kids are begging to get a dog, then you'll need to consider whether or not you are ready to take on some of the responsibility as well. If you want to give your significant other a dog as a gift, think about the responsibility you will be putting on that person. Either way, if you decide the time is right for a new dog, the announcement itself can be one of the presents. Actually picking out the new dog can wait until after the holidays. After all, it's a big decision!
This is not to say that all dogs given as gifts end up unwanted. There are times when it works out for everyone, but these are situations where the new dog owner is dedicated and responsible. Before giving a dog as a gift, think seriously about the details. Is the person or family ready for a dog? How do you know what kind of dog is right? You might stop yourself and realize that it really can wait until January.