The Wall Street Journal had an article about buying a house for your child for Christmas. I guess it's appropriate that such an article would be in the WSJ, but it's an interesting idea and deserves some thought!
However, for the average person, it's time to think about buying a property as a holiday gift for yourself. If you hurry, and really move on the mortgage and the inspections, you might even get in for the New Year's celebration. We bought our current house that way. We signed the contract around Thanksgiving, and moved in the weekend before New Year's Day. We even thought of the purchase as a present to ourselves, since, at the time, it was our second home. Many people now do that--buying a vacation home now, with the idea that you might retire to it, is increasingly common with baby boomers. After all, how many socks and sweaters do you need? Putting all the gift money together, and doing something big with it, is likely to be the present that you remember--and enjoy--longest of all.