4 Must-Know Tips for Pulling Off a Holiday Proposal

Holiday season is officially here, and if right about now there's an engagement ring burning a hole in your pocket and plans for a stealthy Christmas Day proposal are in motion, chances are you're a) breaking out into spontaneous sweats or b) so pumped you've benched pressed three-times your body weight—and you haven't worked out in a year. But before you get down on bended knee in front of her friends and family on Christmas morning, Lizzie Post, etiquette expert and cohost of the Awesome Etiquette podcast, is sharing a few things you need to consider.

Contributing Writer
Photography by: Pekic

Know your S.O.'s personality  

This would seem like a no-brainer, but it's easy to get so wrapped up in the proposal itself that you completely forget whom you're dealing with and that she detests public displays of affection. "Not only do some people not want to share an intimate moment in front of other people, but they also might feel pressured to say yes," says Post. Should the proposal (gasp) not go as planned, a holiday can also be an opportune time to erase the memory and celebrate something fun instead, she says. But hopefully, by now, you and your partner have already had that "check-in" about a future together, so a proposal wouldn't come as a complete surprise, she says. If your S.O. would be totally into a public engagement, than a proposal on Christmas Day or New Year's Eve could be a really special way to share the news in the company of friends and family, says Post.

Assess the situation beforehand 

So maybe you do know her inside and out, but have never asked for her opinion on this topic (so there's one thing you haven't covered). While you don't want to blurt it out and ruin a potential surprise, you can sneakily bring it up in the context of other people. Try to gauge her thoughts by mentioning someone else who got engaged during the holidays: "What do you think about Joe proposing on Christmas?" Or, consider asking her loved ones. "It's probably a good idea to run a proposal by her family if you're planning on doing it while visiting them," says Post. Plus, you'll also want to make sure they are ok with sharing the holiday with your special moment.

Find another day to pop the question if the holiday also falls on a family member's birthday

Your sister has (reluctantly) shared the day of her birth with Christmas for her whole life—and has never stopped letting your entire family know just how she feels about getting the shaft where presents are concerned. So, imagine her state of mind if she had to divide her thunder into a third with an event that will trump everything else, says Post. Enough said.

Ask during a private moment within the party

If your S.O. is the type who would rather have a root canal than show any PDA, you can still propose over a holiday to make it a special occasion, but just don't do it in in front of a crowd, says Post. "There are lots of little ways to make the moment personal even in the midst of a big New Year's Eve party," says Post. Step outside the party, go for a walk—do whatever it takes to be alone.

About the Author

Jennifer Tzeses

As an eight-time bridesmaid Jenny knows just a little bit about mitigating a makeup meltdown and distracting a meddling mom. As a former editor for Martha Stewart Weddings magazine, her knowledge of all things weddings extended to bridal beauty and fashion, etiquette, and honeymoons. Her writing (weddings and otherwise) appears in such publications and websites as Martha Stewart...


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