The holiday season is almost here—time to get those gift ideas nailed down! The holidays also happen to be a popular time of year for men and women considering cosmetic surgery to take the plunge. Paid holidays make it easier to take time off to recover, and healing incisions are easier to hide beneath sweaters and scarves.

It’s no wonder that we get a lot of questions from patients and their loved ones this time of year about whether or not plastic surgery can—or should—be given as a gift. While we do have a number of patients each year who have their procedures paid for by a loved one, it’s not a good idea in every situation.

Before you give a loved one cosmetic surgery as a gift, make sure you have the right motives and that surgery is safe and appropriate for that individual. Cosmetic surgery should never be a surprise gift.

Successfully gifting cosmetic surgery requires thoughtful planning, appropriate timing, and finesse. You’ve got to have the right motives and be certain that surgery is safe and appropriate for your gift recipient, so if you are considering a cosmetic procedure as a holiday present, read the following guidelines before you make a decision.

When gifting plastic surgery is appropriate…

When your loved one is planning to have plastic surgery whether or not she receives it as a gift

The best case scenario for gifting plastic surgery is when the patient has already had a consultation and committed to having plastic surgery. If costs are the only thing keeping your loved one from scheduling a surgical date, a monetary gift can be a great way to help them undergo their procedure sooner than they might have otherwise. You can send money directly to the plastic surgeon’s practice to pay off some or all of the balance, or give a pre-paid debit card to the patient with a personalized message attached.

You’ll still want to be sensitive in how you give the gift, so give thought to how you present it. It’s probably better to let your loved one receive her gift in private, rather than have her open an envelope with the whole family watching and wondering what it is. Also, avoid implying that your loved one “should” change anything specific. Giving a check with a note that says “for breast implants” can come across as “you need those breast implants” and lead to relationship conflicts.

The giftee might also change their mind about which procedure they want, so is important that the gift has no strings attached and the giftee knows they are free to make their own choices. Remember that you’re giving them a gift and they should decide what procedures they are ready for—whether that is skin resurfacing, BOTOX, or surgery.

…and when it’s not

If you want your gift to be a complete surprise

Surprises are great, but there are just some things in life that call for a “heads up” to confirm that the other person is on board. Plastic surgery is one of those. Be sensitive to your loved one’s true desires and needs. If she’s just casually mentioned breast augmentation a time or two, you should hold off until her intentions are more clear.

If your loved one is considering plastic surgery, but isn’t certain she wants to go through with it

Even if it’s not your intention to pressure your loved one, gifting plastic surgery before a patient has made a decision can make her feel obligated to have surgery before she’s ready. This is the time to offer your support, but not your wallet.

If it’s really a gift for you

Never, ever offer to pay for plastic surgery as a ”gift” out of the blue because you think your partner, friend or family member could look better. In fact, don’t even suggest it.

A good rule of thumb: if there’s any doubt that plastic surgery is the right gift, give something else this holiday season.

Alternative Christmas presents for plastic surgery patients

If you are uncomfortable with paying for your loved one’s procedure, or if it’s out of your budget, there are plenty of other great gifts you can give to support his or her cosmetic goals. A few of our Hampton Roads cosmetic surgery team’s top picks:

  • Give a gift card for skin care or a professional bra fitting
  • Create a recovery TLC package: cozy PJ’s, a juicy novel, cappuccino or cocoa mix, and homemade vouchers for the patient to “trade in” for housework
  • Help her show off her new look with jewelry: a glitzy pendant to highlight a boost in cleavage, or a string of pearls to complement a beautifully rejuvenated neckline

The flip side: how do I ask for plastic surgery as a gift?

What if all you want for Christmas really is new boobs? First, make sure that plastic surgery is the right choice for you. Consult with an experienced plastic surgeon before you request surgery as a gift. This ensures that you are a good candidate for the procedure, you understand the risks and recovery, and that your decision to have surgery is entirely your own. You’ll also get a clear idea of costs and what options for payment and financing are available. Many plastic surgeons offer consultations. With this information, you’ll be better equipped to approach your loved ones about helping you pay for your procedure as a holiday gift.

Making the right decision this holiday season

If you or a loved one are considering cosmetic surgery this season, we’ll be happy to assist any way we can. If you’re in the Hampton Roads area, our experienced plastic surgeons offer consultations for cosmetic procedures at our office locations in Newport News and Williamsburg. Just give us a call or contact us online today.

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