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.
Hard as it is to believe there was once a time when those who colored their hair were looked down on by "respectable" women. Some would sneer, "She gets her color out of bottle, you know." Making it sound like that was a bad thing.