I have said in various threads that imho, Whirlpool has not maintained the high caliber of workmanship that made Kitchenaid famous. However, I do give them credit for their promotion and advertising of the product. I also think that if you can not get a Hobart Kitchenaid for some reason, a Whirlpool Kitchenaid is better than most other brands on the market.
Price wise, you will do better to get a Hobart Kitchenaid mixer. You can get a good one on Ebay for between $75 and $130. They weigh in at 20 lbs, so shipping should be an addition $20 or so.
Even on Sale, a new Whirlpool Kitchenaid will cost at least $250 or so. I would rather have 2 Hobart Kitchenaids for that price.
Hobart Corp. is the manufacturer of the big gray mixers you see in restaurants. They developed the Kitchenaid. They sold the brand to Whirlpool in the 1980s.
Of course, if you buy a Hobart Kitchenaid, it will be used, but it will also be a workhorse you can depend on for many years to come. I have noticed on most of the Chef forums, and on eGullet, the members would rather have a used Hobart Kitchenaid than a new Whirlpool Kitchenaid. There has been considerable talk of problems with the Whirlpool Kitchenaids - even on the Kitchenaid forum itself!
Your best bet for getting a Hobart Kitchenaid cheaply before Christmas is Ebay. You can tell the difference by the Name Hobart on the band around the top of the mixer.