We all know the song, “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth,” but as long as I have been a parent, or a teacher for that matter, I have never heard a child ask for teeth. What I have heard is the phrase, “I want a puppy for Christmas.”
As a parent, it is hard to ignore this request. Everyone can imagine Christmas morning; the children rushing down to the Christmas tree and sitting under it, in a well ventilated box, is a puppy. The kids screech in delight, gush about how much they love their new puppy and how much they love you, and the rest of the morning is a blur of opening the remaining presents with the warm, fuzzy feelings that the puppy brought with it still abounding throughout the day.
Unfortunately, that feeling does not last very long. Sure the initial excitement is there but that Christmas present comes with a lot of long term commitments that can make the present a little less shiny by the end of the week. Puppies require a lot of care, they need to go out several times a day, they will whine at night until they adjust and there will be months and months of training that will need to occur.
Okay, you are probably thinking to yourself that a puppy, regardless of the time of year, is always a big responsibility and if you are ready for a puppy, what does it matter when you get it. Usually, I would completely agree with you but unfortunately, a puppy for Christmas can take the responsibility and blow it up significantly.
Christmas is a busy time of year. Children are home from school for the holidays and you spend much of the time rushing around for last minute Christmas presents, or going out to visit friends and family. This means that there will be less time to take on the needs of the puppy at that time. You won’t be home as much as at other times and you will be tired from dealing with crowds, and family dramas – you know there is always drama – the last thing you will want to do is deal with a puppy.
Even if you are not going to be out very much over the holidays, Christmas can still be a very stressful time. Usually at this time, you are not following your regular routine. This can be stressful for a puppy; not only is he being separated from his litter and dam, but he has no routine. His feeding schedule will be off, the time you can spend with him will fluctuate and he will not know what is happening. This can throw off any housetraining that you are trying to accomplish and can lead to long term problems for both your puppy and your relationship with him.
On top of that, Christmas is a time when there are more hazards in the home than at other times of the year. Puppy has more things to get into and chew. People are less aware of things, such as chocolates, and puppies can easily swallow a toxic item, which can lead to serious visits to the vet or even worse.
If you are still set for a puppy for Christmas, I would recommend finding a puppy that is ready just after Christmas. Instead of placing a puppy in a box to put under a tree, place all the gear that you will need for the puppy. Your children will still be able to unpack all the little gear, and a picture of their puppy. You can explain to them that Christmas is not the best time to get a puppy but he will be arriving on a specific date.
The children will be just as overjoyed and the warm, fuzzy feelings will last for weeks as you prepare your home for the newest arrival. You can mark on the calendar when your Christmas puppy is expected home and you can also arrange a visit with the breeder so your children can meet the puppy before the big day.
This is an excellent way to get a puppy for Christmas without having to worry about all the negative aspects of puppyhood over a holiday. You will also have more time to prepare for a puppy, making it less of an impulse buy and you won’t have to worry about the puppy going to a shelter after the holiday, a fate that is very common for Christmas puppies.
In the end, you will be left with a wonderful Christmas and a lifelong companion if you simply wait a few weeks. Trust me, it is worth the wait and everyone will have a merrier Christmas including the puppy.