Christmas is perhaps the most cheerful holiday of the year—having time off to relax on your own and bond with loved ones is always a plus. And beyond that, there’s the enthusiasm and warmth of Christmas celebrations: gift-giving, enjoying the snowfall, joining a group of carolers, and marveling at colorful lights, to name a few. As you’re bound to notice, too, it’s also a season for preparing your “Congratulations!” as delighted couples announce their engagement.
Of all the months, December sees the most wedding proposals. According to Wedding Wire, around 40 percent of engagements happen between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, and to narrow this down even further, the time between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day makes up a huge chunk of that, at 16 percent of all annual proposals! Predictably, Christmas is the favorite day overall for getting engaged. There is some disagreement, however, between men and women’s ideal proposal time—two surveys have shown that men prefer their proposals at Christmas, while women would rather go for Valentine’s Day.
If you’re going to stage a romantic scene, then the Christmas holidays do seem ideal for that, both in terms of logistics and ambience. People are already in relatively high spirits, and you’ll never lack for decorations, with garlands, angels, flowers, and ice sculptures at almost every public place. Another plus is that schedules are easier to work around, with friends and family readily available in case you want to break out into celebration right away. It also complements the peak season for weddings, which runs from March to October, and makes for a lovely way to end the current year and move on to the next.
The holiday’s reputation as a season of love cuts through cultures and nationalities. Couples often seal their New Year’s countdown with a kiss for luck in love over the coming year, and all over the world, different countries even have their own romantic traditions. In the Czech Republic, for example, single women wondering if they’ll get married soon can turn their back to the door and throw a shoe over their shoulder. If the tip of the shoe points to the door, then it’s a yes! For the Japanese, there’s a casual tradition of couples eating together at KFC for Christmas, and only couples typically exchange gifts. And, though not exclusive to the holidays, there is a uniquely Irish custom for proposals as well. Instead of the classic question of “Will you marry me?” an Irish man going for the old-fashioned way may opt for “Would you like to hang your washing next to mine?” or “Would you like to be buried with my people?”
Despite all these perks, a holiday proposal isn’t for everyone. One worry is that it might be more well-suited for an ordinary day. The festivities might deprive your engagement of its place in the limelight, not to mention that it’s a hectic time where everyone’s likely to have out-of-town trips or plans with their family. Combined with the stress of holiday preparations, you might be too frazzled to enjoy it! Another drawback is that your engagement will forever be associated with Christmas or New Year. This might make celebrating your anniversary over the years difficult, or worse, if a split ever happens, it’ll cast a lasting shadow over your enjoyment of the holidays. In addition, it takes a bit more effort and creativity than a typical proposal since you’d want to avoid the clichés!
There’s no so-called “best season” for you to propose. To figure out whether or not you should kick start your engagement during the holidays, you need to take a close look at your relationship: is the timing right, based on your comfort level with marriage and both of your schedules during the holidays? How does your partner feel about the season in general—make sure he or she doesn’t have strong negative associations with it—and when do you want to hold the wedding next year?
6 TIPS TO ENSURE THE PERFECT PROPOSAL
If you’ve decided that you’d love to have it at Christmas or New Year, then rest assured that there are several other people on the same boat as you. The actual task of proposing can be daunting, so here are some tips to help you orchestrate a perfect, unforgettable moment for you and your partner.
Reflect On Your Life Together
Before excitedly calling jewelers and florists, lay a good foundation for your proposal by reflecting on your relationship, including the reasons why you want to marry your partner, what you’ve been through together, and what your plans are for the future. Christmas and New Years are both ideal for pondering over your life in general, and you’d want to set the right intentions and remind yourself of your love for your partner prior to moving forward with a major change such as a wedding.
Budget and Plan
A good proposal is almost always due to careful planning. Ideally, you should be thinking about it a few months before—rushing it on December 24th isn’t recommended, especially since shops and suppliers will be at their peak season then and you might experience delays in your orders! Set a budget first to make sure that you don’t overspend, then write down several options for the logistics, including the venue, props and decorations, bouquets, and people that you may need such as photographers or musicians.
Choose a Ring
Because you’re likely to wear your engagement ring (along with your wedding ring) for the rest of your lives, it’s important to choose one that’s high-quality and imbued with meaning. To make your ring stand out, you can take inspiration from the Irish and get a Claddagh ring, representing love, loyalty, and friendship. Go for a classy diamond band, or play on double symbolism with this emerald heart set ring, which incorporates a Celtic trinity knot to stand for the three promises of a relationship: to love, honor, and protect.
Check In with Your Partner’s Family
To find out your partner’s schedule without making it too obvious, you can talk to a close family member whom you trust to be discreet. Do your best to avoid conflicts with family reunions or any religious or cultural celebrations they might have then! Alternatively, if you think your partner might want a public proposal with her family in the background, you can disclose your plans to them and enlist their help in setting up (as well as taking photos and cheering for you after your partner says yes).
Personalize the Proposal
Since Christmas is peak season for proposals, there’s always the possibility of your own announcement not having much of an impact. Rather than resorting to oft-suggested methods like hanging the ring on a Christmas tree or hiding it inside pudding, put more creativity into it and try to come up with a proposal that genuinely suits you and your partner both. Consider your partner’s favorite Christmas activity and preference for a private or public setting, or your Christmas memories as a couple.
Have a Backup Plan
We’ll say it now: don’t expect everything to go according to plan. That doesn’t mean, though, that you should leave it all up completely to fate. Make a Plan B and a Plan C for every aspect of your proposal, from the time and date to how you’ll be popping the question. While it’s definitely an exciting and nerve-wracking moment that requires extensive preparation, the best approach is to enjoy every step of the process and have fun. Because you’re doing it during the holidays, you might as well soak in the exuberant, light-hearted vibe.
Christmas and New Year are both meaningful times to propose—as one year transitions to the next, your bond with your partner deepens from a committed relationship to marriage. There’s a reason, after all, why these two are consistent favorites for proposals despite the holiday chaos! Regardless of when you’re planning to propose, the key is to be attuned to your partner’s preferences and your own and to plan ahead of time while allowing for the unexpected—all with joy and excitement, since across the horizon is your new life together!
Shop ShamrockGift.com for the best selection of Irish Engagement Rings.