Who wouldn't want to see a puppy wrapped in a bow underneath the tree on Christmas morning?
But as the young animals grow, so do the responsibilities.
When you're searching for the animal that may share your home for the next 15 to 20 years, you don't want to make an impulse buy. Kittens and puppies aren't like other gifts you can return.
The president of the Aiken SPCA Gary Willoughby said, "This isn't something that's like exchanging a gift, it's really a long term commitment."
But it's a commitment that too many times is forgotten as soon as the holidays are over.
"It really breaks our heart when we see animals coming back to any shelter after the season is over," Willoughby, said.
Willoughby said the best time to bring an animal home is before Christmas, "Get a puppy or kitten a couple weeks before Christmas. That way you have enough time to think it through before you have everyone come over and your house is really crazy."
Willoughby also recommends picking the pet with the entire family; so you can decide which animal will be the best long-term fit for your family.
As you search for the perfect pooch, beware of puppy scammers; there are plenty of bogus web sites, shelters and breeders.
You can protect yourself by checking their credentials, because you can't be too careful when choosing your loved ones next best friend.
After all, getting the right puppy for Christmas is the gift that keeps on giving; no matter what the season.
To check a breeder's credentials, ask the American Kennel Club if they are a member.
If you're interested in adopting an animal from the SPCA, you can reach them at (803) 648-6863.