Before having any kind of color applied to your hair, select a salon with a certified color professional. Not every hairdresser is an expert in color. Find a salon that specializes in color and ask about the qualifications of their staff. Usually a high end colorist will charge more, but it's worth it. Considering you are looking for something for the holidays, think of this as a gift to you.
When you use the services of a real professional, go to the appointment with an open mind. You may have your heart set of pale blond, but if the colorist can prove to you that a deep strawberry is really your best shade, listen to her. She is trained to match color with skin tone. She knows what will work, and what won't.