The holiday season is an undeniably romantic time of year. The leaves have fallen off the trees, the streets are lined with decorative lights, hot chocolate is the drink of choice, and nights are best spent couch-side, cuddling under warm covers. For these reasons and more, you can expect your newsfeed to explode with engagement announcements. In fact, 26 percent of marriage proposals happen in November and December, according to one survey.
"The holiday season, as well as Valentine's Day, are a popular time for proposals because people get swept up in the anticipation of the festivities, and because guys have to come up with a gift," says Claudia Six, PhD, clinical sexologist and relationship coach. What better gift than an engagement ring, right? Not so fast. Just because snow is falling and your family is likely to pester you with questions when you see them in a few weeks is no reason to rush into a proposal. Here's why.
The holiday season already comes with enough pressure.
Think of all the responsibilities and commitments you already have during the season—between work outings, holiday gatherings with friends, and family obligations, you're already so busy. This is not a great environment for an unsure proposal, Dr. Six points out. "A person might feel pressured to accept a proposal in front of their family, or so that she or he can announce it to the family while they're all gathered."
It's better to propose at a time when the two of you can focus on your relationship. "Give the proposal the attention and time it needs," says Dr. Six. "It's a precious moment between two people, not a group event. The couple can cherish it privately and bask in the glow before going public with it."
You'll only get engaged once.
In other words, you can't recreate when and how you get engaged. Most of us dream about this day and how it might happen—you don't want to rush or force it. "The proposal forms the basis of your 'Story of Us,' an important part in the narrative about how you met, decided to date, committed to getting serious, and who and how the proposal was made," explains Kathy McMahon, psychologist and president of Couples Therapy Inc. "If this narrative is full of momentum that feels unsettling to one person, they weave this pressure into their story."
The anniversary of your proposal will be wrapped up in the holidays.
Not everyone considers the anniversary of the day they got engaged to be something worth celebrating, but if it's important to you, remember that each year it will be all about the holidays—not the two of you. "Separate cherished moments in the development of your romance," suggests Dr. Six.