Breaking Down the Big Bow - is Holiday Car Gifting Worth it?

It seems like the common thing to do on Facebook these days is laugh at the car ads, where someone is surprised on Christmas morning with a new car in the driveway, festooned with the big bow.

Who is getting a CAR for Christmas???

People laugh, but it's something my husband and I have talked about for the past few years. It might be corny or seem extravagant, but it happens, and happens often!

Surprisingly, this is actually a great time of year to buy a car. You can get a great deal with year end incentives (actually, you can occasionally get an even better deal the week after Christmas). Car dealers want to end the year strong, and they know that with all the money being spent on other purchases, it's not a time for most families to add a big one.

But it does happenhere's how to make it feel more like a GIFT.

1. The gift can't be a surprise. This is sort of misleading. The final act can be a surprise. However, the research, options, models, all need to be vetted with the recipient first, because it's it not quite right, it's a pretty big and expensive mistake. My husband and I know exactly what we want from my new car.

2. The gift is in the work. Buying a car can be a huge hassle. If you, like most of us, will be financing, the car is not so much a "gift" as it is a line item in the budget. The GIFT part comes into play when one person takes over the hassle of it. They go to the dealership, get the paperwork taken care of, and do all the annoying parts of car shopping. If you're getting them the gift, the gift is not taking them car shopping and then calling it a gift.

3. If you're going to do it, do it big. Most likely, you're going to take delivery before Christmas Eve, but if you're really making it a gift, make it a gift to remember. Talk to a friend or family member who can help you out and let you keep the car at their home until late Christmas Eve. How you work out getting over there to get it home gets a little more tricky. I read of someone who intentionally ran out of milk on Christmas Eve so he could "run out" to get it. He used that last minute errand as an excuse, and had some good friends help him get the car into the driveway late at night while his wife was busy getting the kids to bed.

And, if you're going to do it, spring for the big bow. It's cheesy for sure, but it will definitely make the moment special.

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