They are everywhere this time of year, cute pictures of puppies and kittens in big red bows ready for Christmas giving.
If you are going to give a pet as a gift, please ensure that the family will have time to spend with the animal immediately during and after Christmas.
Veterinarian friends tell me what often happens is that people adopt a pet for Christmas, then board it as they take a vacation. The young animals quickly bond with office staff, then don't warm up as quickly to returning pet owners. It's one of the reasons why populations at animal shelters significantly increase in January.
Adopting a pet is a lifelong commitment. Puppies and kittens will grow up to be well-adjusted pets if you invest time in them from he beginning. It takes time, patience and love to develop a relationship with any animal, and the earlier you can do so, the better you both will be.
If you do want to adopt but have a planned vacation, consider wrapping a stuffed toy in a red bow with a stocking and tell the kids you will pick up the animal when you get home. That way your pet will not have the trauma of being in a vet office for several days and you can start bonding as soon as you get it.