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Holiday Gift Ideas: 100 perfect presents for everybody on your list

One hundred of the things we want most this year—starting with a puppy

Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday shopping is equal parts excitement and stress. The thrill of the finding the perfect gift is all-too-often mitigated by the chaos of frenzied shoppers, crowded malls and long lines at the counter. That’s why we’re here. We’ve made our list (checked it twice!), so that you can shop with the utmost efficiency. We have holiday gift ideas for everybody—kids, cooking lovers, gadget enthusiasts, fashionistas and more. Plus, an assortment of fun, wonderfully frivolous stocking stuffers to keep the season bright.

  • LeslieK

    Advocating a puppy as a present is irresponsible. Advocating the breeding of mutts when there are lovely mutts in the shelter looking for loving homes is unconscionable. Very disappointing.

  • Marianne

    When there are so many dogs in shelters looking for homes it seems extremely irresponsible to be advocating the creation of more mixed breed pups. Further, it is not a good idea to give a pup as a gift – particularly if it not an expected gift. Pups should be planned for, expected and cherished, they should not be an after thought or a poorly thought out impulse purchase.

  • Deena K

    Animals should never be considered as gifts on any occasion let alone Christmas. Unfortunately, it is these “gifts” that end up in crowed animal shelters. To see a puppy on a wish list with watches, sweaters and toys is sad. Very disappointing indeed.

  • Kacey

    You mention the chaos and frenzy of Christmas shopping, then #1 on your list is a living creature. How do you think it will handle the chaos and frenzy of Christmas Day? I can’t think of a more inappropriate gift. If you make a list of ‘how to traumatize a new puppy’, be sure to put ‘give it as a Christmas gift’ at the top of the list.

  • Tara M.

    Seeing a puppy under the tree would be a magical experience, however, when the reality and enormity of the responsibility involved in taking care of, training, socializing, and providing the necessary veterinary care for that puppy sets in, the magic quickly fades. Suggesting giving a puppy as a gift is irresponsible at any time of year. A puppy is not a toy that can be tossed into a closet when the novelty wears off.

  • Dawn

    Anyone who thinks that a puppy is a suitable Christmas present is more caught up in the fanatsy of life as a “Kodak” moment than the reality of what it is like to introduce a pup, who has just left the security of the only home it has known, into the sheer mayhem of a home during the holidays.
    Promoting a mixed breed designer dog as the next “big thing” is simply irresponsible. Cute isn’t good enough – what about the genetic issues associated with throwing together four breeds who all have their own issues? Eye Hip and elbow clearances are not enough.
    Coal in your stocking Toronto Life – and your name at the top of the naughty list for thinking this was a good idea.

  • Allison

    Very disappointing to see a puppy make your list of Christmas gift suggestions. In one fell swoop, you have encouraged impulse buying of an animal, portrayed dogs as a commodity, and discouraged people from rescuing cross-breeds who need homes. (AND — it’s “Wheaten”, not “wheaton” — oh, my!) As someone else commented, coal in your stocking…

  • Mabel

    A puppy is a TERRIBLE idea for a gift!!! Who writes this crap anyways? I can’t believe it’s on the list. Wow, wow, wow.

  • Roberta

    Puppies should never be considered a “gift” for any occasion. And to have a “puppy” on the list as #1 of ideal gifts is irresponsible. The frenzy of Christmas day is too traumatic for puppies to handle. If you know someone on your Christmas list really wants a puppy – why not surprise him/her with a fancy matching leash and collar, a fancy bed, a book about their favourite breed. A gift certificate from your local shelter – most shelters do not allow adoptions around the holidays. Please, do not give a living being as a gift for any occasion.

  • Carol

    There isnt a worse time of the year to get a puppy than Christmas. The kids want their new toys not running after a puppy that just peed on the floor AGAIN.
    You wonder why there are so many in the shelters?
    Breeders screen their new owners and will not let those puppies go just at Christmas time. Instead the breeders stay home, the new poeple get to have a great time with their kids and families then when they are done celebrating the puppy will then get the attention it needs. Puppies do not come with on/off buttons, they need attention and Christmas time is not the time to get it.
    Shame, Shame Toronto Life.

  • Norma-Jean

    A puppy for Christmas? Well, that ‘breeder’ managed to get some pretty good advertising for his MUTTS!! That is what they are…mutts. There is no way of knowing which of the plethora of breeds involved will show it’s face in the mix of DNA there. The BEST way a person can be assured of getting a certain kind of look or temperament in a dog is to buy a dog from a Canadian Kennel Club registered breeder. Those dogs will always come with some sort of guarantee because the dogs pedigree is registered. So a Labrador will BE a Labrador and a Wheaten will BE a Wheaton. There is no gamble there.
    If someone isn’t stuck on a certain trait, there are plenty of mixed breed dogs in shelters where folks are screened and interviewed to be sure they WANT and ARE ABLE to take care of a live pet before they are allowed to take the dog.
    Seriously, edit this before it goes to print. Let’s see a bit of journalistic responsibility here.

  • Christine Millman

    I am deeply saddened to see this advertisement referring to a dog as a #1 Christmas gift to give. The author I feel has not done research on this and quite honestly will now burden those of us with rescue with the post-Christmas ‘I can’t stand this pooping machine” gift. How irresponsible and unacceptable for your magazine to do this. You have given NO thought about the ramifications of dog ownership and definitely have no resources to help US, the people who have to clean up this post-christmas dumping of the unwanted gift they got that has issues abound – just because the GIFT is a needy baby that needs love / attention / and when they don’t get it – WE get the aftermath. No – Toronto Life has done a grave disservice and an even more harm to our canine community – you might have done better to say a DONATION for those thousands people pay for mutts that are cross breeds and purebreds that will ultimately end up on the streets starving or injured or simply NOT LOVED. I’m so upset with your magazine I vow to never even open another page – let alone continue with entertaining subscriptions to it. How could you do this? I’m soooooooooo saddened by this…so very very disheartened at your irresponsibility.

  • Darlene Allison

    I am deeply disappointed at this article, promoting puppies a Christmas present. A dog is a lifetime commitment, certainly not as a present. Promoting Mutts is a bad thing, lots in the pound! Disgraceful!

  • Emma Smith

    This is obscene.
    I foster for a breed specific rescue and we get “breeder” dogs and puppy mill dogs in ALL the time! We have so many dogs in foster that need forever homes. Advocating puppies for presents is so irresponsible. Come January/February, when the holidays are over the rescues and shelters will be overwhelmed with all the dogs no one wants anymore. If you want a specific breed and a puppy you can still get a rescue, we get pregnant dogs all the time! Adopt from a rescue!

  • JL

    How irresponsible of you to promote mixed breeding and expensive designer mutts!! Never mind that puppies should NEVER be given as Christmas presents. I cannot believe how uninformed these authors are. This sort of article promotes backyard breeding and careless breeding for profit. Aren’t the shelterss full of these dogs already? Why not support adopting dogs from a shelter or rescue group. Unbelievable!!

  • Lynn

    Truly an ignorant Christmas wishlist for an ignorant journalist. A puppy for Christmas….awful. I second the opinions expressed by concerned readers. Purchasing from breeders or pet stores is irresponsible, one should think responsibly and IF a family does want a family pet then adopt! I wouldn’t even want to think of the number of “Christmas gifts” of puppies that were given and are now sitting in an animal shelter or in a foster home. You are portraying puppies to be material objects to be enjoyed at the time of year which is busiest. Very irresponsible of you Toronto life, not just to the journalist but the the editor and printer who all believed this was the perfect gift and article. Maybe next time you should promote giving donations or adopting instead of this garbage! Shouldn’t Christmas be for giving not receiving? Selfish irresponsible pigs!

  • meaghan

    Shameful and irresponsible aren’t strong enough words to describe this article and the idea that a designer dog is the #1 best christmas gift this year.

    Many others have already said this but I really want people to understand the urgency that is being felt in the world of dog rescues. We are all overwhelmingly overflowing with dogs – dogs who have done nothing to deserve being adandoned in a shelter, rescue or worse. Please consider adopting a dog. There are breed specific, size specific and regional specific rescues and humane societies. There are healthy puppies, dogs and seniors all desperately waiting to find a new home.

    But I understand not everyone will rescue. If you are going to “buy” a dog please do your homework. Meet the parents, visit the breeder and see where and how the dogs are kept. Make sure that the dogs are not being over bred and that you are not contributing to the greed that fuels puppy mills. Ask for references too. Most importantly, the breeder should be interviewing you as well – if they aren’t, something isn’t right.

    Please make sure that you are ready and able to commit to bringing a dog home and cherishing it for its entire life. Please don’t be the reason another dog dies in a shelter.

    Shame on you Toronto Sun for publishing this list and and creating more heartache in the rescue community!

  • meaghan

    ** Toronto Life (oops!)

  • Donna

    A puppy is never a gift. It is a living, breathing animal that requires a lot of thought and education before owning. Rather than give any animal as a gift, give a piece of equipment such as a leash or food bowls with the promise that once the holidays pass, a search for the correct animal for your family will begin.

    It was very irresponsible for you to suggest a puppy for a Christmas gift and to add a cross-breed that may not have any health testing or medical background is a real disservice to your readers.

    People should consider going to their local shelter for a pet rather than encourage more breeding of mutts.

  • Gord

    This is incredibly irresponsible on so many levels. Did the Sun publish this out of ignorance or avarice.Puppies should never go to new homes at Christmas. Assuming you do want a dog (puppies do quickly grow into dogs), selecting the breed that fits your situation best should be done with care and not be based on who spends the most on advertising their cross-breeds.

  • Tracey Laframboise

    Great job. You have just made all the dog rescues out there busier. We work all year educating people about buying puppies and umpulse buy especially and supporting puppy mills and you just put that idea right back into people heads as acceptable. Do you know what rescuers call Dec?? “DUMP YOUR DOG DECEMBER”, why?? Well because this month of the year is the busiest at shelters and rescues for incoming. Out with the old and in with the new. And then you have “JUMPED THE GUN JANUARY” that’s when we are busy taking in dogs because people didn’t think the purchase of a dog through, or worse, gave it as a surprise gift. I am shocked at your ignorance in this overpopulation problem. Do everyone a favour and do some homework on it and do an article on that!!!

  • Kevin M

    Please take this article down. Consider a replacing it with a contrition piece called “Why animals as gifts are dumber than us”.

  • Eric

    What??? Offering a puppy/dog as a present is being advocated by Toronto Life??? How irresponsible for such a great magazine!!!
    Shame on you Toronto Life!

  • cathie

    Whichever one of the three people who wrote this article should be fired immediately. Their ignorance is shocking.

  • Jean-L

    A puppy for Christmas gift is irresponsible. Sham on you

  • Terri

    NOOOOOOOOO…..Do not give a puppy for Christmas. You writers should bang your head against the wall. You know how many puppies will end up in shelters because you are suggesting this for a Christmas gift? I can’t believe Toronto Life has published this…Naughty, naughty, naughty…

  • Paul Deck

    What if the puppy is a rescue from a shelter and you’re aware of all the responsibilities which come along with ownership because you’ve discussed them with the recipient. Would it not then make an excellent gift? In fact, wouldn’t you say it would be number one on the list?

  • Cathy R

    The person who made the previous comment doesn’t get it. Christmas is NO time to bring a dog into a home. It is just too chaotic to start training a dog to your lifestyle. Any dog, puppy or adult, regardless of how well trained and assessed, will need some adjustment time.

  • LP

    To be fair to Paul, choosing a rescue dog and properly discussing responsibilities beforehand is a big part of the issue – I personally have a very low key christmas with my family, and being off work it would actually be a good time to get a dog. But the point is that this article is completely ignorant to the issue – that the majority of people sadly do not think ahead or research this responsibility, and this article glamorizing the purchase of a dog that looks like a teddy bear is irresponsible.

  • FosterPuppyMom

    A puppy is far from the perfect Christmas present. Please take this article down before even more gullible idiots read it and impulsively buy an expensive MUTT without considering the future.

  • Debbie

    Congratulations! You win “Media/PR Blunder of the Year” award! Who’d of thought a dog (an ill thought out designer dog at that) would top ANYONE’S gift suggestion list. Do you encourage any research prior to publishing an article?

  • Giselle

    Irresponsible journalism at it’s finest. Puppies for Christmas is about the worst thing you can do. And making it a “designer” mutt, encouraging people to breed Fido to whoever to provide puppies for folks to GIFT, even more useless. I shudder to think of what will happen come February when the majority of those cuddly gifts start to be not so cuddly any more and end up tied in the back yard or at a shelter. Everyone who does rescue, including myself, says THANKS.

  • New Dog Lover!

    I can’t afford it, and I don’t know how to train a dog, and I live in a hovel…but seeing that it’s number one, I am going to go get a dog!!

  • Richard Parker

    Next year, I suggest Toronto Life pick “a sense of humour” as its #1 gift idea. I know of a few dozen commenters who really need to find that in their stockings.

  • Marie-P Babin

    Just awful !! What were you thinking !!!!

  • Irresponsible teen

    This is a great idea! I’m going to get two for xmas! and two more for hannukah! seriously


  • CdnSyrup

    Hey Toronto Life!

    Are you insane?! Or just seriously uneducated?

    advocating a dog as a gift for christmas?!
    ..nonetheless, a specific breed?

    this will be awesome .. rescues will be flooded in 5 months when the novelty they put under the tree has grown up a bit and the fun is over.

  • Côté Michel

    As a RESPONSABLE breeder and I can speak for all my responsable breeder colegues and friends;”A PUPPY AS A X-MAS GIFT IS ONE OF THE MOST IRRESPONSABLE THING TO GIVE IN GENERAL.”
    A SMART AND RESPONSABLE BREEDER KNOWS DARN WELL THAT IT IS not the best time and reason to sale a puppy.
    It is very cute on tv or in movies,but that’s all.
    Thank’s for getting this information and Have a Great Holiday Season 2012

  • Julie

    Shame on you Toronto Life! First of all for suggesting a puppy for Christmas. It’s articles like this, why so many pets end up at animal shelters. Dogs especially are a huge commitment. In bringing one in to your home, the whole family needs to be on board and contribute to the training and raising of the dog in order for it to be successful. And secondly TL, for advocating a mutt. A dog that is bred purely for monetary gain. The Ganaraskan is not necessarily non allergenic. It is not a reconized breed and I’m sure health testing the parents is the furthest from the so called “breeders” mind. The breeds making up this dog all carry some sort of health issue that combined, would make for a complete medical disaster in waiting. Shame on you for printing such an article. Probably the most naive journalistic writng I’ve seen in a long time. I will never buy or read a Toronto Life again now that I know this type of journalism is behind it.

  • Julie

    PS I think I’ll go buy a baby for Christmas. I don’t believe they shed!

  • Caroline

    This is a terrible idea for so many reasons. First of all a dog should never be a gift, it should only be bought or adopted on consultation with the whole family and in the full understanding of the responsibility it entails. Secondly you are recommending a mixed breed that has been deliberately bred by an unscrupulous person just out for the almighty dollar. If you want a puppy for Christmas go to a reputable breeder of CKC registered dogs and make a reservation. Buy a stuffed dog to put under the tree and when the excitement and chaos of Christmas is over, bring you new family member home. No responsible breeder will sell a puppy to be delivered on Christmas. Just not done.

  • Alice

    It is absolutely disgusting that the number one thing on your list is a puppy.

    Reputable Dog Breeders and Rescue groups spend countless hours trying to educate the public about responsible ownership, including that Christmas is the worst time to get a puppy. You have a palpate from which would could have done something good for the cause. Instead you undermine those working hard.

    These same people will be cleaning up your mess starting on December 26th. When the novelty of the new puppy has worn off and no one in the family wants to care for it anymore.

    Furthermore, the puppy you are pushing is a MUTT. It can not be guaranteed non-shedding, they can’t guarantee which traits each puppy will have. The only people who can do this are reputable breeders of purebred dogs. Who breed puppies with generations of health tested parents behind them. They don’t sell to anyone off the street, they screen the homes their puppies are going to. And if that new home doesn’t work out for whatever reason they welcome that dog back at any age with open arms.

    Shame on you Toronto Life. Any respect I had for you has disappeared.

  • stella

    How incredibly irresponsible and cruel to suggest a puppy would make great gift for christmas. Why would anyone knowingly purchase a puppy from a breeder or from a pet store (most are from puppymills) when you can save a life of a loving anilmal in the shelter.
    SHAME on Toronto Life for promoting cruelty to animals.

    How about writing another article on puppy mills and animal abuse???? that would be far more proactive and useful!

  • Floyd

    The Ganaraskan is a modern breed developed about 30 years ago by a group of breeders, mostly from around the Ganaraska river region of southern Ontario (hence the name), who set out to create the ideal therapy dog. The qualities required from a good therapy animal, such as above average intelligence, eagerness to please and a non-shedding coat, automatically make this dog an ideal family companion. The foundation breeds that contributed to its early development were the English Cocker, the Bichon Frise, the Poodle and the Miniature Schnauzer. Only dogs showing exceptional capacity to learn were used for the program. To this day, all breeding stock is required to be inspected and cleared for hip and elbow dysplasia by an accredited radiologist and also be certified by the Canine Eye Registration Foundation.

  • Floyd

    Ganaraskans have been breeding true for over 15 years, but to be legally recognized as a pure bred in Canada, a breed must first be approved for recognition under the Canadian Animal Pedigree Act. To do so, a long period of supervision of the breeding program, by the Ministry of Agriculture, over several generations is mandatory. If everything goes as planned, the Ganaraskan has a good chance of reaching full Pure Bred status within 3 or 4 years. At the moment, Ganaraskans are all recorded with the Canadian Identification Project, in Ottawa. This body provides recordation certificates and pedigrees for all dogs of this variety. All dogs are micro- chipped.

  • Floyd the Ganny

    A breed club, The Canadian Ganaraskan Breeders Association, has also been officially organized. This club closely monitors the quality of the animals permitted to enter the breeding program and assures that only breeders who follow the club’s strict requirements on ethical breeding are granted membership.

  • EV


    You really bring up a great point regarding RESPONSIBLE BREEDERS.
    The breeder listed above obviously endorses puppy gift giving during the holiday season which is anything but responsible.

  • Floyd the Ganny

    Interesting that no one is talking about the blue-purse-gun-bag. Or the cowhide chair, or the leather products. Oh Toronto.

  • Sherry Vervaecke

    Shame on your publication for advocating giving a live animal/puppy for a Christmas gift! Totally irrisponsible

  • Caveat

    While it’s true that Christmas is a great time to get a new dog, for various reasons, your number one suggestion is wrong on so many levels I can’t believe I read what I just read. Firstly, there is not one breed of dog that doesn’t shed. There are no “breeds” that are “smart”, whatever that’s supposed to mean. There are individual dogs that are more or less intelligent, within breeds. This, by the way is not now and never will be, a recognized breed. Dog parks are “teeming” with them, are they? Not around here, although poodle mixes are a very common type of mutt. This mix, while cute enough, is nothing you can’t find at the local shelter. I know there are lots of suckers out there, including the earnest followers of superficiality which seem to make up most of your audience, but this is so far out of touch with what most people are thinking I had to check to date to make sure it was a piece from 2012. Get with it. Good breeder or shelter are the two options. The poo puppies are old news.

  • Fran Lanham

    A puppy is never a good idea as a surprise gift. Many of them end up in shelters, euthanized. Adding a pet to a family should be a well thought out decision. This is just irresponsible.

  • Mia

    I highly suggest taking the puppy off the list! Shame on you, Toronto Life!

  • Catherine

    Buying any sort of pet for Christmas is NEVER a good idea. Buying an overpriced mutt is also NEVER a good idea – you can find very suitable dogs at any shelter.

  • TiskTisk

    BIG FAIL Toronto Life. You should revise this list and take down the #1 choice. Get with the times and FIGURE IT OUT

  • Judith Aubin

    It’s a shame that buying a “hot” breed is being promoted over adopting a homeless pet, especially given the overwhelming number of homeless pets in Toronto (and everywhere else in Ontario).

  • KateM

    For all of you who are concerned about the genetic issues of mixing breeds of dogs, you should probably think before spewing emotional bile all over the internet. “Mutts” as some of your readers have called these dogs, have a larger genetic pool (4 different breeds in this case) and thus have a greater chance of selecting AGAINST genetic mutations and breed specific conditions. They also tend to be smarter than purebreds (depending on the breeds of course). This is the argument behind a whole range of mixed breeds–Australian Shepherds, Labra/Golden-doodles.
    I also wanted to say that I believe Toronto Life readers, the intelligent gang of readers that they are, have the intellectual capacity to realise that a Wishlist is just that–a fantasy world list with everything that one might want until next Christmas. It’s a sounding of trends that already exist! It is also totally ridiculous that you’ve taken issue with the dog, and not the $2000 Porsche shisha pipe, $300 Guardian Angel purse with gun imprint, $200 pocket knife. What does that say about you as a person?

  • Jill

    I already wrote to TL this morning, shaming them for this suggestion of a puppy. I am happy to see so many readers agree and are coming forward! This is not what Toronto should represent…

  • Ivy Cunningham

    Incredibly disappointed that you included a puppy, and a breeder puppy at that. Puppies are not gifts. They are a 10-15 year commitment, and they require an incredible amount of time and patience. A puppy should be a result of a thoughtful decision entered into after much consideration, not something purchased for someone else like a sweater. On top of all that, to advocate that someone spend $1,200 to buy a fancy mutt when dogs are dying in shelters every day is ridiculous. I promise you there are dogs every bit as cute as this one waiting for someone to take them home. All in all, a terrible recommendation.

  • Joanne

    This is just plain stupid and irresponsible. There are people spending their lifes trying to save animals in shelters and you publish this. You should really be ashamed of yourself. If you actually did something worthwhile like advocate to adopt an animal from a shelter, that would be commendable. Do you just not get it???????

  • beta

    this article is awful. a puppy as a present? arguments above are well articulated on the subject, BAD IDEA. but on top of all that, these 100 gifts to get for every one are the most expensive gifts I’ve ever seen. This is not what Christmas is about.

    What happened to the spirit of the season. I hope this article is followed up with one about the best charities to donate to, or volunteer opportunities, or what the most heart felt and cherished gifts are. Just because you have money to pump into consumer products doesn’t mean you should.

  • Joanne

    Just for publishing this ridiculous article, I will be cancelling our office subscription to Toronto Life tomorrow morning. I hope a lot of others do the same. There is a responsibility in journalism and I sincerely hope you publish a retraction of this article and encourage people to adopt a shelter dog. $1,200 for a mutt??? Is this guy crazy or are people just irredeemably stupid?

  • Kyle

    Extremely irresponsible for you to be advocating a puppy (or any animal) as a gift.
    Animals are rarely if ever a good idea as a gift, especially at holiday time. They require serious committment for several years and it’s because of articles like this that shelters see a big influx of abandoned animals in January and February – after the novelty of a puppy has worn off. I volunteer at a shelter and see it every year. Do you know how many of these “gifts” are put to sleep?

    Some end up abandoned earlier, as all the excitement around the holidays spurs “accidents” around the house through no fault of the dogs.

    You want a dog? Go to a shelter or rescue group after giving it serious thought and you willing to take on the responsibility for up to 15 years, but for gods’ sake, forget about giving anyone a puppy at xmas, or chicks and bunnies for Easter.

  • Caveat

    To Kate: Not true at all. Mixed breed dogs are just as prone to heritable disorders as purebreds and when you mix four breeds that are in trouble healthwise you increase your chances. The only reason people think mutts are healthier is because the purebred people are keeping records. A dysplastic dog is a dysplastic dog, regardless of his ancestry. There are a lot of recessives out there as well.

    This particular mix boggles the mind. Two breeds known as biters, three coat types, all high maintenance, the aforementioned disease problems plus the fact that nobody really wants deliberate mixes any more make this a very weird suggestion by the typically out of touch Toronto Life.

    Some wag above wondered why nobody was commenting about a cowhide item. Hint: It’s already dead.

  • Barbara

    So disappointed in the editors of Toronto Life. Perhaps the writers of this article would like to spend a day at a shelter to see just how many “gifts” are returned. Let me know if any of them want to join our foster program. We are usually filled to capacity after the holidays and would welcome new homes to our program.

  • Holly

    I stopped reading at “It Dog” and “starting at $1,200″. Imagine spending that much on a “designer dog” when there are SO many wonderful dogs in shelters and rescues throghout the country that usually cost no more than $250-300, including spaying/neutering and all vaccinations. These are beautiful, friendly dogs who come in a wide array of personalities to fit so many different lifestyles. When will people get it through their heads? DON’T SHOP – ADOPT!

  • Jenny

    While rescuers all over Ontario (who work tirelessly to take in, house, treat, and transport dogs in shelters and foster homes) cringe in collective horror, at least we know who to blame for the inevitable influx of Ganaraskans (and similar fluffy crosses) next spring, and in the years to come. Never mind the usual spike in unwanted pets and puppy mill purchases this time of year.

    Be it on your conscience, Authors, for contributing to an already large problem. Be more careful what you publish.

  • Amy

    Wow, when most other people are finally waking up to the fact that thousands of unwanted and abandoned dogs are euthanized every year in Canada (which also ends up costing taxpayers around $2 billion a year, btw), and the word about responsible pet ownership and adopting/rescuing finally seems to be spreading, here comes Toronto Life, straight outta the 1950′s with one of the most ill informed, ignorant, and sad gift suggestions out there. A living creature should NEVER be given on a whim as a Christmas gift. If you don’t believe me, go to a local shelter and ask staff what they think. Seriously disappointing.

  • Carolyn

    WHAT on earth are you doing recommending a puppy as a gift?!! First off thousands of dogs are euthanized every year. If you want to recommend a dog the LEAST you could do is give a shout out to a local rescue, but animals should NEVER EVER EVER be given as gifts. They are a huge time and financial commitment and a lot of thought needs to go into a decision to take one on. Holy Smokes…so disappointed in Toronto Life!

  • Elizabeth Sanfilippo

    It’s socially irresponsible and reckless to advocate “purebred” puppies as a Christmas gift when Toronto’s (and Ontario’s) animal shelters are full of loving dogs that need new homes. This was done in poor taste.

  • Alfred

    What is more infuriating with this is that THREE day after all the comments have flooded in responding to the article, Toronto Life fails to react by removing or updating that specific part of the article. It is as if the Editor sat in a meeting in one of these past three days and goes, “you know what, we are getting all these comments about being responsible human beings, but we’ve chosen to stand by our original recommendation to give a dog for the holidays. Who cares about a minor subset of our readers who thinks it’s irresponsible.”.

  • Gina

    Awesome idea! Buy a dog for a Christmas gift! Is the writer of this article a 7 year old?

  • Keely

    Stupid suggestion giving a puppy as a Christmas present. How about suggesting people go to a shelter and adopt a dog. Use your brains.

    (From an Aussie)

  • Karen

    I was so pissed when I read that ANYONE would recommend a puppy as a ‘gift’………..but I can see everyone else feels the same way. Whoever wrote this article needs to get a CLUE………….PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kathleen

    This is horrible. Number one on your list is a ‘designer’ dog?! Dogs – ANY animals – are living beings and aren’t like sweaters or shoes that can be thrown away when they’ve lost their appeal, or peed on the carpet. Besides, why would you pay 1200 dollars for an animal when there are so many sitting on death’s row in animal shelters all over the country? You should be ashamed of yourselves.

  • mandy

    speaks volumes that a living creature – a dog – is classified as a thing amongst trinkets and frivolous objects – that’s exactly why our dogs end up euthanized in shelters – people throw them away like objects they dont want – like the outdated phone replaced by yet another object manufactured by poorly paid workers far away – we are a bankrupt culture ..

  • mandy

    better idea – sponsor a dog in need – oh not good for your “look” -your “image” gotta keep up with the jonses keeping up with the jonses – clonses i mean jonses – argg wake up

  • Marti

    Dogs and puppies should NEVER been given as Christmas gifts. Pathetic.

  • Everett

    Article is ignorant…. Feeble attempt to create hype. Only an opinion as to what a “best gift” should be. The best gift you can give anyone, is what they “want”!

  • Julie Conrad

    THINK about what you recommend before writing an article!! There are already enough stupid people who give animals as gifts! And they usually end up in a shelter and are killed. There are already do many anals killed every day due to lack of homes and now you recommend people give an animal as a gift and to get from a breeder! At least you could have recommended rescuing one!!

  • Tracey Bouma

    There are Millions of unwanted dogs in this world and to advertise this year’s so-called fad dog is irresponsible and potentially harmful the those animals. Almost everyone knows, but apparently not Toronto Life of the author of this article, that puppies and other pets are NOT Christmas presents. Most of them will end up being given away or given to a shelter and euthanized. Yes, there may be a few responsible families who actually will do the right thing when a pet is received at Christmas and look after it properly for its whole life but most won’t. On top of this to advertise for a breeder/greeder is disgusting. The world does not need any more dogs – ADOPT DON’T SHOP!!!!!!

  • A Osmond

    I am extremely disappointed that Toronto Life posted that a puppy is a great Christmas gift. You need to delete this page from your gift list asap. How irresponsible of your magazine – did no one on your editorial staff look at this and think “hmmm, maybe that’s not a good idea”? Let’s hope that your readers are smart enough to realize this is a huge mistake and ignore your list.

  • Dianne

    Adopt, don’t shop, while shelter pets die.

    Toronto Life was extremely irresponsible to the point of stupidity to suggest that a puppy be purchased for Christmas.

  • Sam

    Toronto Life, please rethink the first slide, change it to adopt. Respond to your readers. Fixing this will go a long way and give you great publicity in this dog-loving city. Right now you just look like a-holes.

  • Susan Hayes

    Please rewrite this wish list and leave out the puppy. Dogs/cats/hamsters, etc are living beings that require a daily committment from owners. So many wonderful and healthy animals that were once someone’s pet are killed in shelters everyday. And to make matters worse, backyard breeders, puppy mills and other disreputable money-grubbing people will start cranking them out by the hundreds and selling them. I am in the US and we are fighting tooth and nail to eliminate unethical and irresponsible over breeding and an overpopulation of healthy and adoptable dogs/cats being EU’ed everyday. Please please please do not be a part of the problem and redo this list.

  • Amanda

    A puppy is for life and is NOT a Christmas gift. Glad to see that the chorus of comments here agree. The responsible thing for TL to do now is rescind this guide and let people know that puppies are a full-time job, expensive to own, and can live 15 years. Shelters are too full already.

  • Monisa and Beaker

    Shame on you Toronto Life. I was going to get myself a subscription for Christmas but I am reconsidering in light of your decision to include a puppy as a perfect gift. What nonsense. You owe it to Toronto dogs and their owners to dedicate an issue to urban dog living. You could feature the best and worst parks in the city with suggestions for off leash etiquette, how to select a trainer, feature some of the better daycares and interview some vets.

  • Stephanie

    I am incredibly shocked that this article was published. How many people saw this in the Toronto Life office before it went to print? And not one person raised the red flag? I work in rescue and do you know which animals we see the most in shelters? The latest ‘designer’ dog, a year later. Until people realize that animals are living things and should not be treated as a commodity, we will always have this problem. Articles like this reinforce passe ideas that, quite frankly, are dangerous now. To accompany this comment, if I could, I would post a photo of my facebook newsfeed that is always filled with photos of unwanted, neglected, and abandoned animals. I hope you will retract this portion of your article and do you know what would be a nice touch? A donation to any of the beleaguered rescues in the Toronto area. They could use it.

  • Alison C.

    I think everyone has covered it all.

    What I am truly surprised about, is not only did a journalist irresponsibly decide to write this segment, an editor/supervisor approved and published it. No one in the office spoke up to say, “Maybe this is not the best idea, let alone put it at number one.”? I think that is what is shocking.

    So, I am guessing, not only should I give a dog for the Christmas holiday, but, one for Valentine’s Day, and a bunny/chick for Easter?

  • Garry

    What cretin would suggest a puppy is a present to give away under a christmas tree?

  • Corrie

    What is wrong with ya’ll!!!! No one should get a dog/puppy for Christmas!!!! I volunteer at a shelter I should know!!! Plus your telling people to get them from breeders that make you pay 1200 dollars?!?! There are shelters that sell there dogs for as low as 10 dollars!!! Really?

    Would you rather have a dog for $1200 or $10 they both love you the same! Plus there are purebreeds in shelters too if your heart is dead set on one(which I personally think is stupid) but whatever!

    Ya’ll need to put this retarted article away and anyone who listens to that advice should be put down in a shelter!!!!

  • Kristy Alger

    How anyone could in all good conscience promote the sale and purchase of animals for Christmas presents is beyond me. Post-Xmas is incredibly busy in shelters, as thousands of ill-thought Xmas pups and kittens are dumped. When you buy an animal as a gift for someone, it is likely all you have contributed to is the breeders purse and the over population crisis. Nothing more. Please, do not buy at Xmas, and if youo really want a dog, wait for the weeks after Xmas day. I can guarantee the shelters will be full to capacity of pups needing a proper home and saving from the gas chamber.

  • Barb Macdonald

    Your first “present” on the list is the reason so many animals are killed in shelters every single day. You should do some research before you make such a stupid suggestion. As a former Animal Control worker, January/Feb/March was a very busy time, as we tried to look after those pesky unwanted after Christmas pets. Most of them are killed for space.
    Shame on you, Toronto Life.

  • Melanie Ritchie

    Shame on you Toronto Life magazine for condoning the sale of puppies as Christmas gifts. These are living breathing creatures, not a product that you go out and purchase. The rescues sites are overflowing with dogs, and you advising that someone purchase one as a gift only adds to the amount of animals that are surrendered and discarded every year in this country.
    And to advertise this apparently new breed of pup like he is a new fashion statement is just so wrong in so many ways.

  • Andrea Douglas

    Just adding my voice to the chorus. It’s highly irresponsible for you to suggest that giving a dog — a living thing that needs care, and training, and feeding, and exercise, and at least an eight- to fifteen-year commitment — as a Christmas present is comparable to giving a Kate Spade watch or a lambswool sweater or any of the other material things on your list. How on earth did this manage to get published?

  • Monica Curtis

    Now you’ve done it, Toronto Life. There are a whole lot of outraged people that didn’t make it past item number one on this vapid list! You might want to dedicate some serious space to Toronto animal shelters/rescue organizations in a future issue to *start to* make up for this gaffe.

  • The Daily Koya

    From (Koya is rescued puppy that has a facebook page)

    Please don’t listen to Toronto Life’s gift idea of giving designer puppies for Christmas. Getting a dog is a lifetime commitment and should be careful planned and thought out before adopting or buying one. If you have made the well thought out decision of getting a dog, if at all possible, adopt.

    There is always an influx of unwanted Christmas pets in the beginning of the new year…carelessly abandoned or dropped off at a shelter. I was one that was lucky enough to get
    dropped off on the doorsteps of the SPCA in the beginning of February, and lost 8lbs (1/4 of my body weight) in the 2 weeks I was there before I was adopted. I was one of the lucky ones.

    To Toronto Life: If you can retract this post that would be most appreciated, I wouldn’t want anyone other pup to go through what I had to go through.

    Thank you.

    Love, hugs and tail waggles,

    The Daily Koya (

  • Chris

    This irresponsible article is a slap in the face to all those organizations and breeders out there who refuse to sell puppies at Christmas because it is WRONG on so many levels. The article should be removed, or at least revised. I find the very suggestion a puppy makes a great Christmas gift to be totally repulsive…WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!

    Meaghan, Simone, and Mark, why not volunteer in a shelter for a few hours this week, perhaps then you’ll actually “get it.”
    You all should be fired!

  • LMiller

    Wow, I was hoping that the dog was just a festive holiday picture that showed up as the first thing on the list instead of an actual gift suggestion, but nope…… As many others have said, this is ridiculous and irresponsible. The only good thing about this is the numerous comments from people with common sense advocating against pets as gifts.

  • Daniela Dixon

    Are you kidding? A puppy for $1200… when there are millions of animals being killed every year in shelters? Do you know that many of the “purebreed” and “designer” dogs also wind up in the shelters… just to be killed … because they were given as a gift, but not wanted, and often not cared for. These babies are dumped in shelters, left to fend for themselves after being dumped along the road or in the middle of nowhere, or chained to the backyard as an ornament, not a “family” member. You know what happens? THEY DIE!! WHY purchase a puppy that you don’t even know where it came from? A giant majority come from puppy mills!!!! And their health is questionable!!! I would never, ever BUY a puppy (or adult) if I can save the life of one in a shelter or rescue!! EVER!! WHY???? This is total greed and insanity … what for? You’re chance to show your “affluence”? My Heinz 57s, several of which ARE purebred were not bought!!! Rescued or adopted! Their lives were SAVED!!

  • iloveto

    everything on this list is $$$$$$ do you forget the we are STILL in a downturn? and puppy!?

    delete this article and try again.

  • dsczer

    Gosh. Cute as it may be, it is a MUTT…Heinz 57 variety with a fancy name and an even more fancy price tag. Are you KIDDING???? Eight MILLION animals humans summarily kill (not counting the ones we kill to eat – that number starts with a B) every year because they have no home. The people got bored, divorced, moved, didn’t socialize the animal, can’t be bothered, can’t afford the vet when they’re sick or boarding costs when they travel, et al, and you promote a puppy as the perfect Christmas gift? Incredibly irresponsible to my way of thinking. Shame.

  • Susan

    Adding my voice to the outcry to this article (which I am sure makes Toronto Life think it is popular: “Gosh, look at all the comments!”) An animal is not a gift, and it certainly does not belong in a section called “The Goods”. Glad I gave up my subscription a long time ago.

  • kim waterfield

    I am adding my disappointment and shock to the numerous other people commenting here. Toronto Life!!! we are talking about a living breathing feeling sentient being who will live at least 15yrs, and needs exercise, veterinary care, training, and lots of love. This “puppy” suggestion, or any animal given as a gift is wrong on so many levels. I wouldn’t think a reputable breeder would even sell a pup for Christmas giving. I am saddened by those that think this is OK.

  • Wanda

    I hope people boycott your magazine , What a stupid suggestion to get or give a puppy for Christmas … I suggest you remove it !!!!

  • Dottie

    Buying any living animal as a”gift” is a bad idea, spending $1200 for a mixed breed dog is stupid!!! Buy a shelter animal and save $$$.

  • Diane Moak

    Wow! Irresponsible, to say the least.

  • Trish

    Unbelievable. How irresponsible to suggest a dog as a Christmas present. It is so sad that Toronto Life is supporting purchasing a pet as their #1 gift idea. You can return a pair of shoes, and ugly sweater, and they don’t mind. But it is not fair to a dog to be returned, and likely end up in a shelter, or worse. Getting a dog needs to be a family decision and well thought out.
    So disappointed Toronto Life!

  • Caryl Myers

    Suggesting “designer dogs” is irresposible and obviously research hasn’t been done on the writer part.
    The “designer dog” takes the best traits of both breeds, but it also takes the worst, including genetic problems. The shelters are filled with rescue dogs, suggest they search that avenue first, or pick a breed and go to their rescue site. All breeds have rescue, and you are getting a healthy dog, usually spayed or neutered already……….

  • Davina

    I can see you’ve already been flogged in the comments for endorsing a puppy du jour as a Christmas gift. I’m behind the sentiments. Your endorsement is misguided, harmful, and, worst of all, undermines so much of the work that animal shelters and dog rescues do.

    Surely someone on your staff is cognizant of the fact that the thousands of abandoned dogs who are routinely dropped off at shelters and euthanized each year were impulse buys by “shoppers” who didn’t think through the responsibilities of owning a dog. Perhaps they were looking at a magazine like Toronto Life and decided to follow the dopey suggestions. Endorsing a fashionable puppy encourages this kind of thoughtless impulse buying. Please understand that a puppy is not an object that belongs on the same “wonderfully frivolous” gift list that includes a tea pot and a skull candle. A puppy is a living being that will very quickly outgrow its fuzzy cuteness and turn into a full-grown dog that needs to be fed and exercised and stimulated each day. A puppy is not a pretty tea pot. Or a knitted cactus.

    I get that magazines aren’t doing well, and that you have to appeal to the dark consumerist nature in all of us in order to survive. I get it. But when it comes to dogs, I wish you would insert a caveat about the responsibilities of owning one. Or, better yet, suggest adopting a dog from a rescue or shelter. It may be less glamorous, but what are the holidays if not a chance to do right and give back? Your endorsement of an expensive, trendy puppy as a gift object is the exact opposite of this. It’s irresponsible and it’s no wonder that animal lovers have raked this piece over the coals. I’ve always understood that Toronto Life is essentially a gussied up consumerist magazine, but this endorsement is so out of touch and hits a new low.

  • Dan777

    A $1200 mutt? If i ever needed confirmation that TL is basically the rag for the 1%, I’ve got it right freaking here.

  • Emily

    Very very sad that puppy is on this list at all – never mind topping the list! I work as a dog trainer as well as with a rescue and have seen this story play out too many times. Dog ownership is not something to be taken lightly, it is a household decision and everyone needs to take responsibility. However, I am also so relieved to see the masses of comments here condemning puppies as x-mas presents!

  • Rescue Lady

    Advocating a puppy as a gift idea is a rotten idea. The acquisition of any living thing is a serious commitment and requires forethought and planning. And bringing a new puppy into the home in the midst of the chaos that is the holiday season is not a great idea either.
    Promoting a dog as a ‘trend’ is often deadly for that dog when the trend wears out. See the tiny chihuahuas a la Paris Hilton. See the many abandoned and discarded pugs after Men In Black came out. I could go on and on.
    Want a puppy? Fine, but not as a gift and not as a trendy must-have accessory.

  • Kona

    Shame on you Toronto Life for promoting the purchasing of a living being as a present to be given as a gift. So many dogs languishing in shelters and being euthanized each day. A dog is a living, breathing sentient being and should never be given to someone on a a whim. The decision to add a life to ones family/life should not be thrust upon them, but should be taken with care and consideration. Check the shelter stats. More Christmas “presents” result in higher surrender numbers in the months following the christmas season. I will never purchase another one of your magazines after reading this article.

  • Ashley

    A dog for Christmas?!? Really, what was Toronto Life thinking? This is not only dumb but to promote one breeder? I smell a conflict of interest. These are designer mutts for people with more money than sense. So many good reasons have been enumerated above and they’re all valid. Shame on you TL!

  • Karina

    How can such a prominent magazine encourage people to even think of “buying” a puppy as a xmas gift???? It’s extremely irresponsible and ignorant. These “gifts” are a reason why our animal shelters increase in numbers right after the holidays. Toronto Life do your homework & research before advocating such ridiculous ideas!! I’m outraged & very dissapointed.

  • Mia

    I have officially cancelled my subscription to Toronto Life! The fact that you have not even acknowledged the overwhelming feedback about having a puppy on the list states how out of touch you are with your “market”.

  • Sarah

    So many very well articulated points about the irrresponsibility of suggesting a puppy as the #1 gift have been posted here. No one should get a puppy because it is a good gift recommended by a magazine that clearly has a relationship with this particular breeder. They should get a puppy after careful consideration of the tremendous time and effort involved in what is basically another child. Secondly, there is absolutely no such thing as a dog breed that is good for everyone. There are reasons why there are so many breeds. Each different breed is well-suited for a different lifestyle and every person should consult many different dog options before selecting the breed or mix that they think is best for them. Too often people think that by mixing dogs you will get the best of each breed, and this is absolutely untrue. Finally, I have a poodle and she does shed, she just sheds a lot less than other dogs. There is no such thing as a non-shedding dog. Dogs like her require an immense amount of grooming – and I don’t groom her like a fancy poodle! The fur grows and instead of falling off her, stays on and then you have to cut it. The lack of shedding also means that she collects a lot more dirt than other dogs, therefore I have to bath here at least twice a week, and every day it rains. Even if you decide that a puppy will make your christmas a richer experience (as it did a few years ago in my family when my sister got herself a puppy for christmas), suggesting a particular type of dog (that is not an acredited breed) from a particular breeder takes this issue to a whole other level of stupidity and irresponsibilty on the part of Toronto Life. You should be immensely disappointed in this article you have created.

  • Lindsay

    Thousands of dogs available for adoption and without homes in Ontario right now. Boo on you Toronto Life.

  • Mark

    A puppy!!!…Really…give you head a shake. Obviously from the number of negative posts you have yet again misread the people of Toronto. I would have thought that someone at TL over the years would have seen other publications get slammed for this exact same Christmas present idea and said NO..we can’t print that!!! FAIL!!!!

  • Quick question

    I am considering getting a puppy for Christmas. Should I go to the pound, or buy one new, maybe something like the one they suggest here?

  • daleth

    120 comments, overwhelmingly majority thoughtfully pointing out that gifting a puppy is a bad bad idea, and NOT. ONE. PEEP. from TL, no retraction, nothing.

    Yep, cancelling my subscription.

  • Samantha

    I have one of these designer mutts and I have to say she is such a great pet/friend. We love her sooooo much. They are also extremely healthy and the breed was recommended to me by our vet who had a few as clients.
    Instead of suggesting to purchase a Ganaraskan for a gift, I think TL could have handled it much better by suggested that someone could look into the breed if they were thinking of getting a dog in the new year. I know that the breeders would never release the pups to any impulsive buyer as they make extremely thorough background checks (they are not a puppy mill!) and besides there is a really long waiting list so the impulsive shoppers need not apply.

  • Jane Graydon

    Considering how many comments of disapproval and/or disgust at the notion of giving a living thing as a Christmas present, I think your magazine ought to retract it and apologize for the cliche ignorance. And to make things right, perhaps you could suggest that people go out and ADOPT a homeless pet AFTER the holidays. Kind of unbelievable.

  • Jill

    Wow, two weeks in and still not a single comment/edit/retract from TL. Speechless.

  • Bethany Cairns

    Although I normally enjoy reading your magazine and look forward to your luxury gift ideas, I was shocked to see that a Ganaraskan puppy had topped your list of perfect presents for the holidays! Puppies are not toys and should not be promoted in the same catalogue-type style as Porche sheesha pipes and iPhone accessories.

    The way Toronto Life has advertised the puppy as the new ‘it’ dog of the year (replacing labradoodles and wheatons), suggests that puppies are as disposable as last season’s fashion trends. Puppies are a 10-15-year commitment that should only be made after careful consideration.

    Toronto’s animal shelters are overflowing with dogs and other animals that were once impulsive purchases. It’s important that your readers understand that buyer’s remorse has greater implications when applied to a real living thing. Toronto Life should NOT be encouraging parents to stash a puppy under their Christmas tree like it’s the 1940s. Your publication is better than that.

    Perhaps Toronto Life could explore the city’s animal shelters in an upcoming issue, or highlight the diversity in the city’s many dog parks. There is a time and a place for luxury consumerism, but it should never apply to animals.

  • Nancy

    Unbelievably irresponsible of this writer and the editors to promote the purchase of a puppy as a Christmas gift! You all need to spend some time at the dog shelters in January and February when a large number of those impulsively purchased “gifts” are dumped after the novelty wears off. Please, please do some thorough research and do your readers the good service of publishing an article about the issues of puppy mills, backyard breeders, animal abuse and neglect, and encourage people who truly want a dog to do their own research and adopt from shelters and rescue groups. If someone is really set on a specific breed, almost all breeds have rescue groups dedicated to rehoming purebred dogs too. And older dogs need homes too!!!!

  • kay maccoubrey

    Really? You haven’t altered the list YET??? this make me furious

  • james

    Are you all insane? dream a little at Christmas time. Stop taking everything so literally. Everybody dreamed of a pup under a tree at one time or another. Did it happen? No it did not. I own a Ganny, It is the best Christmas present anyone could dream of. Laugh a little Toronto. You are all so uptight.

  • Juliette

    Disgusting! Sometimes it’s a good time to add a FAMILY MEMBER during the holidays when everyone is home. But a puppy under the tree as a GIFT? Ridiculous and irresponsible. How have you not altered this list yet?

  • Samantha

    Bravo, Toronto Life. While I’m sure your page views on this article are super impressive, it’s all for the wrong reasons. I didn’t bother to read the rest of the “perfect presents” list because I was too disgusted at the first option. Pets should never be a present, for all of the points that have been touched on here – and the fact that you’re telling people to spend money on a “designer dog” is really lame. Not all dogs that end up in shelters are rough-looking mutts! If I had the room for a dog (another issue that is totally ignored here with this ridiculous suggestion – how many people in Toronto have the palatial properties or time required to really have a dog?!) I’d rather give a shelter pup a second chance at a good life.

    How many negative comments do you receive on a story before you apologize? You likely should have checked this list more than twice. I won’t be purchasing your magazine again.

  • David

    I got a puppy for my 12th birthday and he was the absolute best present I ever received. I was in love with that dog for his entire life and did absolutely everything to make his life as happy as possible. It changed my life for ever and later when I lost most of the rest of my family he ended up being my only family member and was probably my soul mate. All the negative comments on this board are just misreading the entire point of the article. Which is definitely not promoting the irresponsible gift giving of animals. You are all projecting your negativity onto a harmless article.

  • Alex Rascanu

    Neat ideas! Thank you.

  • Lisa

    When giving a gift, one would think it’s given with love and thought; hence, the suggestion of a puppy could work for those who are responsible. As a children, my sister and I longed for a puppy. Finally after Santa had given it a good long thought and knew our family could take the time and energy pet ownership involves, he delivered the perfect Christmas present to us. It was a gift that kept on giving. Our family has many cherished loving memories of dear Roxy. To this day, that Christmas remains one of the best ever.