Mistletoe and diamond rings

Ruth McCullagh

Some couples say “I do” to holiday engagements, jewelry stores

With the holiday season comes presents and holiday cheer, but for some couples it means proposals. Some jewelry stores notice increase in diamond ring sales during the holidays.

Credit: Jason Hall

Lights twinkled on the nearby tree surrounded by packages of every size. A video camera recorded each present opened, every joyous laugh and glistening smile. Meagan Sherman sat with her longtime boyfriend, Matt Patron, and his family on this Christmas Eve exchanging gifts and taking in the holiday cheer. She and Matt, both Kent State education majors at the time, had dated for two years. This was their third Christmas Eve together with his family.

The couple had looked at a ring a few months before, and it was possible that Matt was going to propose, making the evening even more special.

“It was exciting,” Meagan said. “All the people at work thought it was going to happen, so I was nervous all day.”

Although they had picked out a ring, Meagan was skeptical. Matt said he couldn’t afford it. Some said he was fibbing. Either way, she waited with anticipation as each present was given.

“We opened all the gifts and he didn’t do it,” she said. “So I figured he had told me the truth and that he couldn’t afford it.”

When Matt took her home that evening, he made a point to drive by the front of his house. He had made a display he wanted her to see. Standing in the middle of the lawn was an eight-foot-tall hand-crafted Christmas tree decorated with candy canes in the shape of hearts. On it he had painted and outlined in lights, “Meg, will you marry me?”

Matt said he asked his dad to watch for them to drive by before turning on the lights. After slowing to a stop, he went to her. On one knee covered in the snow and slush, he asked for her hand in marriage.

“I was surprised,” Meagan said. “I didn’t think he’d do it.”

Matt wanted to make Meagan’s Christmas fun and memorable. To him, it seemed like the right time of year.

“In times I’d talked to her in the past she didn’t seem too keen on Christmas,” Matt said. “I just wanted to do something special for her to make her like it more.”

Matt, who now lives with Meagan in Canton, isn’t the only man who wants to make Christmas a more memorable holiday for the one he loves.

Christina Polcin, a sales associate for Art’s Jewelers in New Towne Mall located south of Kent in New Philadelphia, said she sees a lot of men buying engagement rings around the holidays.

“We see an increase in diamond ring sales around the holidays,” Polcin said. “Especially Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.”

Across the way at Zales, sales associate Linda Shaffer said the store’s holiday specials and Christmas engagements are two reasons she usually sees men buying rings during the month of December.

Ken Ulicny, a graduate student working on a masters in biology, said Christmas is a good time to propose.

“The ambiance is all ready there,” Ulicny said. “It’s the atmosphere.” Although Ulicny has no immediate plans to marry his girlfriend of two-and-a-half years, Kelly Decker, a senior technology major, he does have some potential proposal ideas.

“Wouldn’t it be cool to have an ice carving with the ring in it?” he asked.

Kelly, on the other hand, doesn’t think Christmas is the best time of year for an engagement.

“It’s not special enough,” Kelly said. “It kind of takes away from the rest of the holiday.”

Janet Mason, operations manager for Dunkin’s Diamonds in New Philadelphia, said her store does sell more diamonds around the holidays, but with the war she has seen a shift in buying patterns.

“Typically at Christmas time, we do have more people buying diamonds,” Mason said. “But because we’re in war, we’ve had a lot of guys buy diamonds before they head overseas.”

But unlike most men, Matt didn’t buy Meagan’s ring at a local jewelry store. Unable to buy the ring they had originally looked at because of finances, he created her ring from family diamonds handed down to him.

Meagan said her ring is even better than the one they looked at since Matt designed it, and it’s part of the family. Now, so is she.

Contact features correspondent Ruth McCullagh at [email protected].