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.
A good color means natural. Look carefully at a fistful of hair in the mirror. See how each strand has a different tone? Perhaps even different colors on one strand? These are the natural striations that Mother Nature gives each head of hair to work with natural lighting. A good "color job" must duplicate these natural highlights to be effective.