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20th Dec 2023

Etiquette expert on the reason why you shouldn’t plan proposal on Christmas Day

Sophie Collins


An etiquette expert has said proposing on Christmas day should be considered a ‘no-no’

When it comes to asking the one you love to marry you it can be an extremely nerve-wracking experience and it’s essential to get the proposal right.

Lots of people opt for a romantic proposal during the festive period, but according to what is deemed to be ‘the correct etiquette,’ popping the question on Christmas Day is off limits. 

Etiquette expert and former royal butler, Grant Harrold, revealed that getting down on one knee in front of the family on Christmas Day should be avoided at all costs.

He explained that Christmas should remain about being with family and that a proposal would take the attention away from that. 

However, he did say that if you are away for the festive season on a romantic break, that would be more acceptable.

While Grant advises putting a proposal on hold for Christmas Day, he is a fan of a New Year’s proposal as it’s a celebration in itself and people are excited for ‘new beginnings’. 

But whatever you decide to do, make sure you follow tradition by getting down on one knee.

Speaking on behalf of Spin Genie, etiquette expert Grant Harrold reveals:

Dress smart and avoid putting your engagement ring in food

“When it comes to dressing up, present yourself how you would on a date. You should dress smart if you’re going out with your partner. If you’re planning to propose, I would advise you to wait until the end of the meal. 

“You should get the meal out of the way, even if you feel nervous the whole time. Also avoid putting the engagement ring in the pudding – you don’t want to be heading to the local hospital on your engagement night!” 

Avoid proposing at Christmas markets or shopping centres – and stick to tradition!

“When it comes down to love, people will propose in the most unusual places and circumstances. But there is a limit to where we should be proposing. Christmas time is a really special time of year, and why so many like to propose around now. You might be off on holiday or off to see your family. 

“I would avoid proposing at Christmas markets as they’re too busy this time of year. A shopping mall? You might as well propose in a public toilet. I think the best place would be somewhere romantic where you can plan it out properly and make it really special. 

“Somewhere like Blenheim Palace with Christmas lights would be a good option. Writing an old-fashioned letter is a sweet way of proposing, but the classic option of getting down on one knee is really the way to go – you can’t go wrong with tradition.” 

Proposal nerves? Try and switch your mind off and enjoy the moment as much as you can

“Proposing is not easy. I think you need to try and switch yourself off. Try and talk about something which will take your mind off it. Focus on being with that person, and be as present as you can. 

“Don’t show any nervous laughter or act crazy. Try and enjoy the moment, as you want to look back on this night for the rest of your life.”

Proposing on Christmas Day isn’t the right way to do it


“When people propose on Christmas Day and in front of the family, it’s a bit showman. Christmas Day is about family time and to do something like that is taking the attention off everyone else. 

“I think it’s acceptable if the two of you are away for Christmas alone, but when you’re having a big family Christmas, it’s best to leave the proposal until another time. Christmas can be a very hectic time when there are a lot of people under the same roof, and it just isn’t the right way to do it. 

“It’s more acceptable to propose in private, and then you can celebrate with your family afterwards. I do think families will think it’s a bit much for Christmas Day, regardless of what your family is like. It starts to become an engagement party and people find that a bit overwhelming.”

If they say no to your hand in marriage on Christmas Day, this is what you should say

“If you propose in front of the family and they say no, don’t be disheartened by it. It’s bound to be very uncomfortable for everyone involved. The best thing to do is to say, ‘I understand, thank you for being honest,’ but add that you’re going to keep asking until they say yes. It’s important to laugh about it at some point. 

“The Queen’s mother reportedly turned down a proposal three times. Royals even get rejected from time to time, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of!.”

Proposing on NYE is more accepted but make sure you follow tradition

“Proposing around your family at New Year’s is more acceptable. It’s a nice occasion, people are excited for new beginnings, and it won’t steal anyone’s thunder either. 

“I would opt to do it around New Year over Christmas, it just works a lot better because it’s an evening of celebrating. 

“It would be nice to propose on NYE if you’re away for the holiday, or on a nice brisk walk on New Year’s Day. I would still recommend following tradition by one of you getting down on one knee.”