Have a friend or family member on your holiday shopping list who's interested in the stock market? What child doesn't love robots? Or how about shares of a growing orthopedic company focused on kids? Or maybe a piece of the leading fighter against COVID-19? Let's look at three healthcare stocks you can buy this holiday season, hold forever, and feel good about it.

1. Intuitive Surgical

It's not just kids -- surgeons love robots too. Over 55,000 surgeons worldwide have trained on Intuitive Surgical's (ISRG 1.62%) minimally-invasive, da Vinci robotic system, which is utilized for a variety of surgical procedures. More than 6,500 of its systems are installed in 67 countries around the world. In fact, the $119 billion company holds a nearly 80% share of the still-growing global robotic surgery market.

Stockings over the fireplace.

Image source: Getty Images.

Yet, robotic surgery is still in its early days; generations of surgeons are still untrained in the field. Plus, Intuitive continues to expand and innovate in new corners of medicine. As its technology improves, patient outcomes will likely follow, further embedding the surgical company into medical practice.

The company's products are not only widely used but also highly popular -- boasting a net promoter score of 69. That's a measure of how likely customers would recommend a product. Intuitive's score is considered excellent.

As a beloved company with a dominant position in a growing market, Intuitive Surgical is a perfect starter stock to put under a loved one's tree this year.

2. Pfizer

It's been hard not to hear about Pfizer (PFE 0.66%) this year. Not only has this healthcare Goliath provided us with the first and best-selling COVID-19 vaccine, but it is likely in a one-horse race as the only pill to treat patients who already have the virus. That should help keep plenty of cash coming to fuel its 2.7% dividend yield.

But Pfizer is more than a coronavirus play. It has a sizable presence in a number of healthcare segments -- and it has been using its COVID-19 windfall to diversify still further, picking up Arena Pharmaceuticals and Trillium Therapeutics for a total of less than $9 billion this year. For about a quarter of its expected 2021 Comirnaty revenue, these two purchases will bolster the company's anti-inflammatory and oncology pipeline.

The company remains on the lookout for further acquisitions. With the S&P Biotech ETF (XBI -0.55%) down over 30% from its February 2021 highs, Pfizer may well find them. If even a few of these acquisitions yield big winners down the line, the pharma giant could be a gift that keeps on giving for years to come -- making it a safe present for a young investor.

3. OrthoPediatrics

For those interested to venture further afield, perhaps a small-cap growth stock might be just the thing. OrthoPediatrics (KIDS 2.55%), a maker of novel orthopedic surgery solutions for children, has been a sure-fire winner. Since its October 2017 IPO, the company has gained more than 200% compared to about 80% for the S&P 500. In 2021 alone, the company is up over 40% vs. about 25% for the market.

Chances are good nowadays that any orthopedic surgical procedure for children utilizes the company's hardware. In fact, OrthoPediatrics serves 100% of the top children's hospitals in the U.S. From scoliosis surgery to broken bones, OrthoPediatrics is there to fix it, offering a better alternative to the repurposed adult implants that were the previous norm. It has the broadest pediatric-specific, orthopedic surgery portfolio in the industry.

Its products are much-needed. The company believes it has an addressable market of $1.5 billion in the U.S. and $3.5 billion worldwide. With little competition that specializes in pediatrics, the company has plenty of room to grow -- and that's what it has been doing. OrthoPediatrics boasts a compound annual growth rate of just over 21% since 2016. 

So this stock may find its way not just under the tree but on Santa's watch list as well.

Putting a bow on it

Holiday shopping can be stressful, and choosing a single stock for a gift is no different. A basket approach may be best. And for high-priced shares like Intuitive Surgical, fractional shares may be worth considering. Whatever you choose, may your stock picks have a merry, new year.