My strong advice on the subject is to halt this idea in its tracks immediately if not sooner. Pet selection and timing should be absolutely up to an individual or family and not something that is forced upon them through gifting.
The only circumstance where I would advocate the gifting of an animal to another person is when it involves a parent to their minor child and where the parent assumes ALL responsibility for the care and welfare of the new family member.
broadwaybarks.wordpress.com advises that 50% of animals given as gifts will either be returned, abandoned or, placed in an animal shelter within 3 months of the Holiday Season. Without a doubt this is not the end result desired when gifting an animal. Try to imagine from the other side of the fence for a moment what it would be like to find a happy home, only to be ripped away from it through no fault of your own. Being accepted into a family only to be turned over to a shelter or dumped on the side of a road somewhere is not a situation that any animal deserves.
Animals are highly intuitive and will pick up on negative emotions whether they are expressed verbally or not. If you or someone you know is considering gifting an animal this Holiday Season, why not start small with a stuffed Teddy or create an I OWE U voucher that offers to cover an adoption fee when the time is right? Another great option is to donate to a rescue, shelter or, animal charity on behalf of your friend or family member.
In the interest of ensuring that an adoptive home is a FOREVER home, please do your homework on the long term impact of gifting an adorable wriggling puppy or warm fluffy kitten this Holiday Season.