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No matter the occasion, situation, or location, any wedding proposal can prompt surprise, tears, goosebumps, excitement, or all the above. Add in a holiday setting, and the bliss can rise to levels seen only in Hallmark Christmas movies.

Still, not all holiday-proposals are created equal: Popping the question on a long, store checkout line (or even while filling a shopping cart online) is the proposal equivalent of getting coal in your stocking. Instead, leverage an already-special holiday moment and upgrade it to the kind of event others will recount for years.

For anyone preparing to pop the question, here are five clever ways to make the holidays work for you.

Recruit Carolers: Are you friendly with singing folk? The kind who’ll do you a favor? You can recruit these holiday revelers to tweak their carols into a wedding proposal. Perhaps you can ask them to change a few lyrics? Or, maybe have them hold up a Will you marry me sign at one point? Their reward: tears of joy.

Recruit Santa: Know any department store Santa’s? Any street-corner St. Nick’s? A plump friend who’ll dress up for you? Who better to help you pop the question than someone who already goes around asking people what they want for Christmas?

A Holiday Engagement Story: James Olsen and Chelsea; Seymour: James surprised Chelsea with a trip to Manhattan to see Christmas lights. Instead, he took her to Central Park, where he proposed.

Enhance the Mistletoe: Already endowed with a romantic pedigree, mistletoe is the perfect proposal prop. Not only can proposers pop the question under the mistletoe, they can attach an engagement ring to the mistletoe. (“Hey, look up—mistletoe! Oh, wait, this one has something shiny in it . . .”) Just a note to the proposer: If you tie in the ring, make sure the mistletoe is hanging within reach.

Turn the ring into an ornament: For those times where the mistletoe may be out of reach (high ceilings can have a downside) or mistletoe logistics aren’t working out, simply embellish the tree with one truly special ornament. An afternoon of tree-trimming can become one they’ll never forget.

Sync your proposal with Hanukkah: For the first seven days of Hanukkah, drop hints that you’ll propose. On the eighth day, do it.

Light up their life with holiday lights: True, it can be hard enough to untangle seasonal lights in the first place. But if you can do that, consider using them to spell out Will you marry me?

Another Holiday Engagement Story: Devin Hahn and Amanda Salicki; Bristol: Devin took Amanda to the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington for a private tour. On the porch, Devin got down on one knee.

Let it go with snow: Live in a climate where snow’s a sure thing? Then write your proposal in it.

Give the gift that keeps on giving: There is something to be said for simplicity: Make the engagement ring a holiday gift. But please—at least engineer some surprise: Make sure the ring comes in a box that in no way looks like a ring box. Make sure to gift it in something much larger. And add some weight to it.

Keep in mind: These are just some ways to turn the holidays into a wedding preamble. We haven’t even mentioned holiday cards, snowmen, family gatherings . . . When it comes to popping the question, the holidays offer limitless opportunities.

Need a ring with which to propose this holiday season? Visit Michaels Jewelers to find the perfect diamond.

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