Proposing at Christmas: is it a good idea?

A Christmas proposal isn’t the dream for everyone? [Photo: Getty]
A Christmas proposal isn’t the dream for everyone? [Photo: Getty]

The twinkly lights, the mince pie martinis, the festive merriment, there’s no doubt that Christmas can be one of the most romantic times of the year, whipping even the coldest of hearts into a loved-up frenzy.

Those festive feels are manifesting themselves in a spike in holiday proposals, research shows. Year after year, Christmas continues to be the most popular time for starry-eyed romantics to pop the question.

The Annual Wedding Survey found that 43% of proposals happen between 24 December and 1 January. While Bridebook predicts that the most popular day for proposals in 2018 will be Christmas Day, followed by Christmas Eve.

But while many of us swoon at the sheer sparkly romance of a Christmas proposal, popping the question underneath the mistletoe isn’t the dream for everyone.

According to relationship guru and matrimonial consultant, Sheela Mackintosh-Stewart, the perfect proposal will vary from couple to couple, and while getting a tinsel-adorned ring box under the tree is one person’s ideal, it can be another’s nightmare before Christmas.

“Christmas is a time of celebration and romance,” she says. “As such, many couples capitalise on this festive spirit by popping the question and making it a special and unforgettable Christmas.”

But though a public declaration of love across the bread sauce might seem like peak romance, there are some things to bear in mind if you are planning to get down on bended knee this Christmas.

Nia Williams, founder of Miss Date Doctor, says one of the explanations for this festive question-popping urge is the proximity to family.

“The Christmas period seems like the perfect time to propose and is favoured by many because it is synonymous with love, family and celebration so it seems like a great time to pop the question to the person you love,” she says.

No doubt for some, the intentions of proposing while family and friends are present are well thought out. “I want to marry this person and I want the world, and her cousin twice removed to know it!”

But the very public nature of getting down on bended knee in between the turkey and the pudding course comes with a whole host of problems.

For a start trapping your other half when they’re sandwiched between their nan and great uncle Bertie could be seen as the best way of coercing a ‘yes’.

I mean, they have to say ‘yes’ or they’ll ruin Christmas.

What’s more, your soon-to-be betrothed might not be in the right frame of mind to be proposed to. If you’re proposing on Christmas Day they’ve likely had their fill of family, they’ve had too much mulled wine and they can’t wait to get out of their scratchy crimbo jumper.

And proposing in amongst all the festive busy-ness brings with it other potential problems.

“Christmas might be a fun and festive time, however it is also a period where a large number of couples break up,” explains Sheela. “This can be due to excess time with in-laws and relatives, or even each other, the stress of getting everything sorted or the extra financial aspect around Christmas.”

With that in mind is proposing in between arguments over that hair dryer you didn’t want and whether you spent too much on Christmas decorations really the best idea?

There’s the upstaging element to consider too. Finding a giant sparkler in the bottom of your stocking means you basically win Christmas. Sad as it is but those other, carefully chosen, presents you receive just pale into insignificance.

“Thanks for my socks uncle Pete, did I tell you I also got an engagement ring?”

Popping the question at Christmas: Dream or nightmare? [Photo: Getty]
Popping the question at Christmas: Dream or nightmare? [Photo: Getty]

For those who are still determined to have their special moment sandwiched between Christmas carols and mince pies, there are some things to bear in mind, so potential proposers don’t wake up on Boxing Day regretting anything but that fifth Snowball.

“It’s important to really know your partner well,” advises Sheela. “Are they ready for the commitment? Do they like public proposals or grand romantic gestures in front of everyone or would they prefer a more private or subtle proposal?”

If you do decide to go ahead with a festive question pop, Sheela advises you prepare yourself for all responses.

“Unless you are absolutely certain that your partner will say yes, rejection will be cringingly awkward and a massive blow during this time of year,” she says. “A bad outcome could leave you feeling miserable and you’ll be forced to explain the rejection to friends and family.”

“Just as awkwardly, they say ‘maybe’, especially in front of the whole family, opening discussions and no doubt arguments on the subject whilst everyone is within earshot, not ideal for anyone during the festive period,” she adds.

So Sheela suggests you prepare yourself for the answer you don’t want to hear.

“Always be prepared that they might say no especially if it’s a complete surprise and you haven’t done your homework as to whether she is ready to take the step to marriage.

“Ascertain how you would deal with the rejection at this time of year whilst in close proximity to family.”

But even though there are clearly some pitfalls to proposing at Christmas, for many getting engaged over the festive period is the actual dream scenario.

“If you love someone and want to spend the rest of your life with them a Christmas proposal can be really sweet,” says Nia. “The winter atmosphere of Christmas can be romantic with twinkling lights, family around and a cosy atmosphere. And if you take all your partner’s likes and dislikes into consideration Christmas could be an ideal time to propose.”

For others, the sentiment behind a festive proposal isn’t enough to counter balance the annoyance of stealing the Christmas limelight.

For some, there’s a time and a place for a marriage proposal and Christmas Eve or Christmas Day just isn’t it.

As for Valentines Day, that’s a whole other argument…

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