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.
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.