All I Want For Christmas

Is You [To Buy Me A Car]

by Kota Reichert

This is a guest post by Carjojo intern Kota. He writes an open letter to his parents explain how to gift a car. Hopefully, they get the ‘hint.’

Dear Mom and Dad,

Things have been good. Our intramural inter-tube water polo team just took 2nd place. The other team had some people who actually played water polo in high school and they sort of cheated by making sure our best scorer, Sam, couldn’t get away from the wall. We’re pretty stoked though for having made it to the championships and think our same team could play well in the indoor soccer league.

Some of us are talking about going on a road trip at the end of break. Remember when we went to Death Valley? My friends said that this seemed really cool and they like my background photo from Dante’s View. I told them about hiking in Mosaic Canyon and think they all want to go. The only problem is we don’t have a good car.

I told my friends how Old Faithful didn’t survive our trip. They thought it was crazy that we had to hitchhike our way out, and that we couldn’t just Uber or something. Even though the trip still ended up being fun, my friends don’t want to go somewhere with Taylor’s old van and get stranded. We looked into rental cars, but they charge a lot unless you have a driver over 25. It doesn’t seem very fair. I’m a much better driver than most people out on the road.

How to gift a car

How To Gift A Car – 6 Things To Consider

Actually, I was sort of hoping to get a permanent vehicle. My advisor said that since I want to do a summer internship, I need to start meeting with people in the spring. She said that it’s hard to connect with email or LinkedIn and that I should ask for coffee dates. Even if I were to take a job back home, she thinks it’s good for me to start making connections in person. Right now, I’m mostly stuck on-campus except when we all ride in Taylor’s van.

I did a bit of research (see college is paying off) on how to gift a car incase you needed a bit of guidance.

Ownership Costs

Tell The Dealer

You should tell the dealer if planning a surprise gift.

  • Salespersons who have helped with a surprise car deal tend to enjoy being part of the experience. Some dealerships may hold a car until the gift day, usually with a small deposit.
  • Dealers can ensure you complete the proper paperwork before the surprise, including registration, titling, and financing.

Registration and Title

  • DMV papers must be signed by the new owner to accept legal liability for the car. The dealer can help you determine which names to include on the registration and title.
  • If you want to register the car in the recipient’s name, the dealer can draft the necessary papers for the new owner to sign on receipt of the vehicle. The dealer may require a copy of the recipient’s driver license to facilitate completion of the paperwork ahead of time.


  • If you’re paying cash, you’ll simply pay for the car and register the vehicle in whoever’s name you want
  • If you need to finance the vehicle, you must register the car in either your name solely or as a co-owner with the recipient. In other words, you can’t take out a car loan in one name if the vehicle title is in someone else’s name. Additionally, you cannot take out a loan for another person, unless you are a co-signer. Any ideas you have about signing up your giftee as a co-signer for a loan need careful consideration.
  • Consider leasing the car. It costs a lot less to give a lease rather than an entire car as a gift. You may qualify for a lease deal with a low monthly payment, after you pay a lease drive-off fee, which is a deposit that includes the first month’s payment. The drive-off fee is different from a down payment, which is nonrefundable and reduces the monthly payment amount. A down payment is usually required, depending on the lease deal.


  • You may want to put your name on the policy either as the sole insured party or as an additional insured party who shares liability.
  • Automobile insurance laws vary widely by state, so well before purchasing, consult an agent or our state’s Department of Insurance:

Order In Advance

  • If you’re ordering a car rather than buying one already on the dealer’s lot, do it way in advance. Deliveries can be delayed, so allow yourself a buffer to make sure your surprise goes as planned.

I would be super excited if you surprised me with a new vehicle which could get my friends to Death Valley and help me meet with professionals. Also, next summer, I will probably need a car to get to work.

I remember it took us a while to get Big Green from the dealership after returning from Death Valley. We hung out most of Christmas Eve in the show room while Dad haggled with the finance people. We were determined to get to Grandma’s for Christmas in a new car. I wouldn’t mind spending all day at a dealership again, but you might check out this site, called Carjojo, which seems to make it all much easier.

Otherwise, classes have gone well and I’ve got only 2 real finals. The other classes are papers. I think I’ll do well in chemistry as much of it is review. I’m studying hard for calculus and meeting with some friends in the library later.

Looking forward to coming home for Christmas!

Over to You

Have you gifted a car before? Tell us your story in the comments below. We would love to know your experience. For more details on how to gift a car, please read Surprise! I Got You a Car for Christmas!