We are considering surprising the kids with our new puppy as sort of an early Christmas gift this year. I am fundamentally against the idea of giving a puppy as a Christmas gift (or any animal, for that matter), because so often it is done in haste without thought or consideration. But that is not the case in our situation.
We have surprised the kids with things before -- like not telling them about our big Disney trip until a few months ahead -- and those are moments I will treasure forever. We even surprised our daughter by buying a horse for her -- we'd been leasing her for awhile and I think she knew we were considering buying her, but it was still fun to videotape her reaction to seeing the horse's stall door all decorated and her name listed as the owner.
But I feel differently about this. I feel there is great value in letting the kids see the time, research, consideration, and patience that go into selecting a dog or puppy. So maybe I should let them see me on the computer, the phone, hear about my visits to breeders? And I think they would benefit from and enjoy helping to pick out all of the things the new puppy will need -- crate, blanket, toys, etc.