I love pets. Seriously, who doesn’t adore playful puppies and cute kittens? No matter who you are, you can probably agree that pets are a great addition to any home. Personally, I’ve owned turtles, birds, cats, and dogs over the years, and each of my pets meant the world to me.
With that being said, I don’t think that pets make the best Christmas gifts.
Although your friend or family member might love to receive a new four-legged friend this Christmas, gifting a pet can cause some serious problems. For starters, when you give someone a pet, you essentially hand them a bundle of responsibility. Not everyone has the time or money to handle such a huge commitment. Raising a pet may interfere with your loved one’s personal or career goals. They may also not have the time to properly train or care for the pet. Most animals require lots of undivided attention that many busy young adults just can’t manage.
I learned firsthand how difficult it is to receive a pet for the holidays. One holiday season, my uncle bought me a new parrot. Although I loved the beautiful bird, I quickly learned just how noisy parrots can be. The noise interfered with my studies and caused other problems in my home. I eventually rehomed the parrot, but I felt so guilty about giving away my uncle’s gift.
Also, the pet you choose may not be a compatible match for your loved one. The pet may not fit your loved one’s living space, lifestyle, or personality. Since holiday pets are often surprises, you may not realize the “matchmaking” problem until it’s too late.
Once, my neighbor received a pet turtle as a holiday gift. The turtle wasn’t a compatible pet because it bit everyone it saw. Ultimately, the turtle needed a larger home where it could swim freely and live a happy life.
Although pets make wonderful additions to many families, they don’t make the best gifts. Before you purchase a pet for someone you love this holiday season, stop and consider the responsibility of pet ownership. Also, don’t forget that pets require specific living spaces. Remember that people bond best with animals who fit their personality and lifestyle. People should choose to bring pets home on their own, and giving a pet as a holiday gift takes away that important decision.