Stocking Stuffers: 10 Cool Animals for Christmas Gifts

Christmas Pets

(Images via: Flickr, Atypical Girl, Freckles Cassie, Alaska in Pictures)

Christmas is less than a week away, which means if you have not done your shopping yet, it’s time to get in gear. For those people who are uninterested in engaging in all-out wars for the hottest Christmas toy or the latest technological gadgets, considering animals like dogs, cats, birds, fish and others as holiday gifts and family pets may be a different approach this year, with the memories more lasting and the long-term, altruistic value incomparable.

How Much Is That Puppy in the Window?

Christmas Puppies

(Images via: The Fun Times Guide, Lab Puppies, SQPN, M Frost)

Christmas Puppies II

(Images via: Flickr, Pet Talk, See Here, R-Pride Tiny Treasures, Daily Puppy)

For parents with young kids, a puppy may be a wonderful surprise for a Christmas morning gift. Of course, getting a puppy is a decision that should not be made rashly and without much thought. However, a puppy will likely make this Christmas stand out from all the rest, with your new four-legged friend probably helping your kids open their gifts and maybe even taking a bite out of these items if left unattended. Golden retrievers can be a handful when their young, but they are as loyal and kid-friendly of a dog as you’ll ever find, and an option worth considering if looking for a Christmas dog. For childless couples looking for a more chill dog, adopting a greyhound may be a low-key way to go. Greyhounds rarely bark, sleep most of the day and need one walk to be content. And with some greyhound racetracks officially closing after the holidays, some of these special dogs are looking for homes, making them great gifts this holiday season.

Tit for Tat: A Cat for Your Christmas Hat

Christmas Kittens

(Images via: Flickr, Flickr, Image Shack, About)

For unmarried, post-college couples who are looking to take another step in their relationship, consider buying a kitten or adopting a cat this Christmas. Relatively low-maintenance and to their selves, many cats are easy to leave home alone, which is especially good for young professionals who may be out of town for a couple of days every once in a while. When they want to be affectionate, they’re perfect to curl up with on the couch. And as seen in some of the pictures above, cats are easy to hide in the Christmas tree while kittens are literally the perfect stocking stuffer.

The Bird Is the Word: A Christmas Worth Talking About

Christmas Cockatiels

(Images via: The Jungle Store, A Typical Girl, Flickr, Boodelprod)

Maybe you don’t have the space for four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree this Christmas, but a cockatiel may do the trick. With the fohawk in style with the teenagers these days, the cockatiel’s mohawk-style haircut may be especially appealing to the youth of the nation. Especially cool with these birds are their abilities to learn simple phrases and whistle jolly tunes, especially in the morning. Also they’re plenty of fun to watch, especially when letting them out of their cages to spread their wings and fly around. And apparently, they like to hang out in Christmas trees!

Forget the Easter Bunny: Christmas Rabbits, Hamsters, Gerbils & Guinea Pigs

Christmas Rabbit

(Images via: Flickr, IAGARB, Kecute, Flickr, China Post, Rabbits N’Rodents)

Depending on your vantage point, Easter may come late or early with a rabbit as a Christmas gift. No, we’re not talking about when Ralphie dressed up as a rabbit in The Christmas Story. Fun to let out and scamper around an apartment, rabbits are calm, docile and easily accessible. In fact, perhaps you can simply go outside and grab one by the ears (just joking, of course). Other cool Christmas pets are hamsters, gerbils and guinea pigs, which are worth the price of admission when simply watching them move about in their obstacle-course cages. These friendly critters are especially popular among young children and affordable for cost-conscious parents.

In No Hurry for Furry: Fish and Reptiles

Christmas Saltwater Aquarium

(Images via: Ressim)

Christmas Reptiles

(Images via: Picasa Web, Thrifty Fun, Squidoo, Flickr)

Perhaps you’re allergic to dogs, cats and some of the other furry creatures above. If so, there are still plenty of pet options for you this Christmas. Consider spending some money on a saltwater aquarium full of exotic fish for that special loved one, who may spend hours at a time watching these species move about in the water. For the reptile lovers out there, red-ear slider turtles are an interesting pet that simply needs a 10- or 20-gallon aquarium, some gravel, a floating rock and a heating lamp to live a happy life inside your home. A bit of an investment in terms of set-up and providing adequate home environments, lizards are often worth the effort, especially when watching these reptiles snag crickets and other insects. If you have a lot of guts and know someone who would be interested, consider a pet snake like a boa constricter (just don’t let it wrap itself in the Christmas tree). Of course, giving a pet as a Christmas gift is a decision that requires some thought, so be sure to discuss these possibilities with potential gift recipients and make sure that they are willing, able and ready to be responsible pet owners.