The holiday season is one of the most popular times for proposals for a few reasons. Often the love filling the air is tangible, giving most couples a slim chance of getting through it without gushing over each other in some form. With families coming together to celebrate the season, the additional presence of a different kind of love makes any proposal scene doubly sweet.

It’s true that a holiday proposal isn’t exactly a unique idea, and if you choose to add your names to the list of couples who got engaged over Christmas, you won’t be the last. However, if you put your own special spin on it, the mere timing won’t take away from the romance of your moment. Take some inspiration (whether for what or what not to do) from the holiday couples who came before you.

Dean McDermott & Tori Spelling

Your own relationship should determine how elaborate you want your proposal to be, but if you’re going to do it big, do it right. On Christmas Eve in 2005, McDermott took his bride-to-be on a carriage ride around a Christmas tree farm, following a string of lights to a candlelit table in the woods. Immersed in their very own winter wonderland, he then pulled out the ring and popped the question. How many girls could turn down a show like that?

Bill Rancic & Giuliana Rancic

It makes sense that these two TV stars met on camera, but Bill wanted to keep it a little more private when it came time to propose. Luckily Giuliana held no detail back when describing the magical moment that took place just a few days before Christmas in 2006. Not only did he send a limo to pick her up at the airport, but the limo took her to a helipad where Bill was waiting with her favorite pizza and champagne. As if that wasn’t enough, he asked her to marry him as they flew over the holiday lights in downtown Chicago. Talk about romance!

Russell Brand & Katy Perry

Looking to surprise your beloved beyond simply hiding a ring under the tree in a wrapped box? Throw her off course by giving her something even bigger first. That’s what Russell Brand did, at least. For Christmas in 2010, he took Katy Perry to India on a vacation she’d always dreamed about. While they were there (and she was surely distracted by her incredible gift), Brand seized the opportunity and proposed.

Lily Allen & Sam Cooper

Perry isn’t the only one to have such a surprise sprung on her during a romantic vacation. Her pop star pal Lilly Allen also got engaged in 2010 while on a holiday getaway to Bali. Now-husband Sam Cooper didn’t dream up anything too fancy; he simply proposed on their balcony during the sunset on Christmas. If you let the elements take over, sometimes you’ll find that simpler is better.

Drew Barrymore & Will Kopelman

Third time seems to be the charm for Drew Barrymore, who got engaged to Will Kopelman while on a holiday retreat in Sun Valley, Idaho in late 2011. Barrymore was previously married to both Jeremy Thomas and Tom Green, but Kopelman must truly have something special, as the two have been married for two and half years (longer than both of her previous marriages combined). They welcomed their second child together earlier this year.

John Legend & Chrissy Teigen

John Legend proposed to his now-wife Chrissy Teigen on their Christmas vacation to the Maldives in 2011, but he almost had to pop the question while in line at airport security. He says he successfully hid the ring for a few months, but feared the moment would be spoiled when TSA agents began sifting through his carry-on. Luckily, they bypassed the little black box and he was able to pull his proposal off without a hitch. If you’re planning a faraway surprise for your sweetie, make sure you think through every possible packing scenario.

Matthew McConaughey & Camila Alves

He’s made it no secret that he’s a down-home kind of guy, and McConaughey proved it with his 2011 holiday proposal (and subsequent camping wedding) to longtime girlfriend Camila Alves. There were no exotic vacations or breathtaking backdrops for this couple, who had two children together at the time (they’ve since welcomed a third). Instead, McConaughey got down on his knee in front of the Christmas tree and refused to get up until Alves accepted his offer. (He later admitted “yes” wasn’t the first word out of her mouth.)

The winter holidays are full of hustle and bustle, so if you want your engagement to be the only thing anyone can talk about, you might want to save the surprise for another time. If you do choose to sweeten your holiday spirit with some extra good news though, don’t stress out if you can’t afford a glamorous vacation on which to pop the question. Stars like Justin Timberlake, Natalie Portman, and Reese Witherspoon all got engaged quietly over Christmas, sharing nothing but a simple announcement of the happy development. No matter where or how you get engaged, be sure to bask in the moment and carry that feeling with you into the new year.

ROCHELLE SHIPMAN

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