Iuliia Nesterenko

Technical Writer

How to Create a Holiday Email Campaign

How to Create a Holiday Email Campaign in 2021: 20 Best Christmas Marketing Strategies and Ready Practical Solutions

Christmas and New Year fall on the end of the year, and their email campaigns are usually an embodiment of all the previous marketing efforts. And to be so, start preparing way in advance to meet December 25 fully equipped.

To help you nail it down, I’ve picked up 20 best holiday email marketing ideas and divided them into four sections - Content, Design, Supportive Techniques, and Practical Solutions. Those in need of inspiration may first check the creative greetings ideas; those already armed with all the necessary information may jump straight to creation guidelines. All tips are provided with email examples and complementary instructions, where applicable.


1. Come with a powerful Christmas email subject line.

Creating a great subject line is never easy. And it’s twice as hard during the holiday season when the Inbox of your customers will be definitely flooded with numerous Ho-Ho-Ho, Big Christmas Sales, Deal Expires Today, etc. To go beyond 50% OFF All, check our special guidelines on holiday email subject lines, and see some good pieces of seasonal writing to spark the holiday spirit and win hearts.

Holiday subject lines

2. Say thanks.

2021 was hard for everyone and extra hard for many. Yet, we all can find a reason to be thankfull even at these challenging times. For a business, loyalty of customers is one of such reasons, so use your Christmas emails to tell your audience how their support helped you make it through 2021

What's more, ask what gave them comfort and inspiration to move on. Ask about their palns for the future and what they expect 2022 to bring. To make the feedback process easier and faster, use an AMP form that enables to write answers straight in the email. In our editor, we have a ready AMP form block, so all you need to do is to drag it to the template and fill with your own questions. Your recipients won't have to upload a site page or Google Form to drop several lines, so you have more chances to get a response. 

Later, you can compile the most inspirational answers into a separate campaign, sharing the word of optimism with your whole community.

Email template with an AMP form

350+ free email templates for Christmas

3. Offer gift guides.

More than any other holiday, Christmas is about family reunions, meetings with not-seen-for-a-long-time friends, and Friday parties with colleagues. This year they all might be online only but this doesn't steal the general idea.

And gift giving is typically a key element of any of these events. A heartwarming gift for mom, a memorable present for your college bud, something for Tiffany from the Sales Department - finding the perfect gift can be really challenging and time-consuming. The challenge doubles when people don’t know much about the recipient (for example, a new workmate or a neighbor who just moved in next door), but still want to commit.

So what a smart email marketer needs to be doing is to simplify the gift finding process, and an extensive and well-structured gift guide inside Christmas marketing campaigns is the straight way to success. You may take the standard for him/for her route, or opt for more diverse division:

  • gifts by category;
  • gifts by personality;
  • gifts by popularity;
  • gifts by price, etc.

Each category can be divided into numerous sub-categories and accustomed to your particular products. For example, craft material sellers can organize gift categories by craft (embroidery, knitting, needle felting, macrame, etc.); sports gear retailers may go for more specified categories (basketball fans, yoga lovers, TRX crew, etc.); perfume brands can split their product range based on the scent (wood, citrus, floral, spicy, etc.). The main condition is that your guide should be easy to navigate and jump to the necessary section.

And in 2021, a gift guide for work-from-homers or study-from-homers will be rather useful as well.

Christmas email with a gift guide

4. Back up last-minute shoppers.

You’d be surprised to find out how many people procrastinate and wait till the last day when it comes to buying gifts. But poor self-organization of some buyers may be an opportunity for your business. Help the last-minute shoppers make it through the gift-picking race with relevant and useful holiday campaigns. A good way to do it is to employ geotargeting: offer discounts on in-store purchases, launch shop guide pop-ups, or promote local events (fair, garage sales, etc.). Make sure people can use your last-minute ideas without facing shipment issues (as much delay can be experienced during the holiday season) or product shortage (Sorry, the item you’ve picked in is no longer in stock).

Another way to save the day of the holiday procrastinators is to offer electronic gift cards. Yes, it’s less personal, but when time is running out, a well-designed eGift card can be a good replacement for a more traditional present. Moreover, it may be a better solution for people you don’t know much about.

Christmas marketing ideas by Precision Camera & Video

5. Promote seasonal products.

Fill your campaign with holiday-relevant products and help people find what they’re looking for right now. Too many options or a too extensive product range can slow down the decision making; a focus on one or two specific choices instead can be more effective.

There are a number of products - cozy blankets, clothes, candles, sweets, mugs, decoration, jewelry, and cosmetics, to name a few - that are typically associated with the holiday and rank first among most popular Christmas gifts. If you produce any category, make it your top campaign priority. If you sell, let’s say, tile or gardening tools, that hardly deliver the holiday spirit, focus on Christmas-related colors (red, green golden, white, blue) and patterns.

Christmas digital campaigns

6. Use inclusive holiday greetings.

Your audience most probably consists of different people with different cultural backgrounds and beliefs. Not all your subscribers celebrate Christmas and New Year in December, and some don’t celebrate them at all. However, it doesn’t mean you should give up on Christmas marketing: consider using neutral greetings like Season’s Greetings, Enjoy This Winter, or Happy Holidays, instead of event-oriented Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Don’t be afraid you’re taking away the charm of Christmas. With a seemingly simple inclusive wish, you show your readers your respect whatever traditions they may follow.

Christmas digital campaigns

7. Go for a humorous angle.

Want people to buy from you or at least remember your brand’s name - make them smile or, what’s even better, laugh. The holiday promos and greetings are a good opportunity to demonstrate your good sense of humor and wit. You may start with subject lines or keep the best part for the copy. Jokes, puns, wordplay, references to Christmas carols or classic novels, custom funny CTAs - try to encapsulate the holiday spirit in new untraditional forms.

Christmas email marketing

8. Focus on gifts for recipients.

Tell your audience their holiday budget isn’t just for congratulating others. Everyone wants to receive special presents, but the presenters may guess wrong with the gifts, have a bad taste, or even leave you off their holiday list. Which doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself well this December 25.

So in your Christmas email campaigns, focus on your audience rather than their family and friends. Think of what they may want this holiday season, and make them feel not as gift buyers but as gift receivers.

Christmas email marketing

9. Add extra value to your offer.

There are many little things that can turn a good deal into a great one. Offering free extra services is probably the easiest way to win people’s hearts and purses. But free shipping, which in December will be offered by 99,9% of companies, isn’t the only incentive to drive results. Based on your service or product, you can come up with more original and relevant incentives to catch people’s attention:

  • fee-free membership;
  • custom loyalty cards;
  • double points for purchases;
  • extended trial period;
  • access to limited collections;
  • holiday packaging;
  • workshops;
  • app or software upgrades or premium versions.

Any extra bonus gives your offer more chances to get into your reader’s holiday shopping plans.

Happy Christmas email

Last post

10. Run a time-sensitive campaign with a themed name.

Encapsulate your specific products and offers relevant to the season in a limited time period, and name it correspondingly. 12 Days of Christmas, Two Weeks of Best Deals Only, or Christmas Gift Hunt not only fit thematically but also create a sense of urgency.

You may also run a holiday-themed contest or challenge. Encourage people to share their best cookie recipes, house decorations, gift ideas, or even Christmas pajama outlooks. Invite their friends to participate as well to spread the word and grow your contact list.

Christmas email with a contest

11. Run a charity.

Any business can incorporate donation options in their holiday email campaigns. Christmas is that time of the year when people are more likely to give, so why not use it to make a difference. If your company runs non-profit campaigns on a regular basis, share stories of the people in need who received your help. Actually seeing how their donations may improve lives is the best drive to commit.

The more ways you’ll provide to get involved, the bigger the response you may get. Apart from small monetary donations, offer other ways of participation relevant to your product and audience type. For example, point donation (mile donation/bonus donation, etc.) is the most universal and clear method: people make a purchase, gain points, and donate them to the cause or the organization they’re most attracted to. This is a win-win situation - you sell your products and gain a reputation of a committed brand; your customers feel they’ve contributed to something good; people in need get help.

Christmas charity campaign

12. Come up with an original shopping card name.

The below Holiday Shopping Pass by La Provence is a good example of how a well-thought gift card name can contribute to your Christmas email marketing strategy. This technique can be especially useful if you don’t have a special holiday-devoted product range or offer non-physical services, but still want to introduce some novelty into your holiday campaign.

Christmas digital marketing

13. Get a bit personal.

Personalization doesn't always equal addressing by name. But a holiday greeting is where recipients would love to see their names for sure. If you think that you'll need to add each and every name manually, have no fear. Modern email automation technologies of mass email services, Velocity in particular, enable to insert in the templates data straight from the contact card. You only need to specify the corresponding variable (for example, %FIRSTNAME|%), and it will be substituted with the right name at the moment of email launch. 

You can also use special services like Nifty Images to create personalized images and use them as email banners. 

Personal Christmas greeting

All tools for marketing automation within one platform


14. Make your campaigns more dynamic.

Spruce up your Christmas email marketing with visually appealing elements to deliver your messages in a more interactive way. Depending on the content and email type, consider using

Apart from making your campaigns more entertaining and fun (which is exactly what you want for Christmas), dynamic blocks serve different practical purposes - showcase products from different angles, simplify instructions, and draw the attention to particular parts of the email body (time limit, promo code, price, etc).

Best Christmas digital campaigns

15. Use a seasonal emoji.

Holiday-related emojis are a great way to visually boost your Christmas marketing content, especially if you opt for plain-text emails this December. If there’s no way to incorporate them in the email body, think of upgrading your subject line with one or two themed symbols - ?, ?, ❄, ?, etc.

Emoji in a subject line

16. Come up with a custom CTA.

Send Gift or Bring Joy sounds more appealing and holiday-spirited than Buy Now and Start Shopping. A CTA is a key element of any email, regardless of the type, content, and occasion. It may be hard to come up with something more effective than good old Get Started when it comes to regular newsletters, but holiday campaigns give your imagination opportunities to shine. Free Treats, Claim Your Gift, Santa’s Favorites, Spread Holiday Cheer, Handle That Gift List - original CTA wording will help you have a meaningful advantage over other offers.

Best Christmas marketing campaigns

17. Drive urgency with a countdown timer.

A good old countdown timer that sets a deadline for a lucrative offer or free holiday delivery is one of the best motivators to complete a purchase. And such supporting words as limited edition, exclusive, # left in stock, or ends midnight turn a regular product in a highly relevant and desirable item.

Countdown timers are supported by almost all email clients (except Outlook 7, 10, 13, 17) and are easy to add to a Christmas email template. You don’t need to be a tech guru to remind your customers that your sales won’t be here for too long.

Best Christmas marketing campaigns

Supportive Tactics

18. Speak to customers in their language.

If you know the preferred language of your recipients, take advantage of this knowledge and compose a Christmas campaign in their native language. You don’t necessarily have to translate the whole body; focus on only greeting phrases instead. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Holidays have standard translations that can be easily found for any language and need no adjustment. You can put them as a headline or include them in the subject line to make your email more personalized and engaging. People like it when their preferences are considered and would appreciate the extra effort you took to sound more human-like.

Christmas email in Spanish

19. Use as many channels to reach out.

To perform your best holiday routine, take advantage of all channels available for interaction with your customers. Back emails with web push notifications or mobile pushes, or run a Viber campaign to let as many people know what you’re up to this holiday season.

Christmas web pushes

20. Get covered by social media.

Not all your followers on social media are subscribed to your campaigns. However, many of them also belong to your engaged customers, so don’t forget to reward them as well. Share exclusive deals on social media platforms with digital coupons and codes, giveaways, contests, and key product promotion.

Apart from generating sells, social media can also help boost loyalty. Encourage your community to use product-related seasonal hashtags and share the best user content with the audience, turning your most creative followers into your ambassadors.

Christmas Insta post

How Our Platform Сan Help with Your Holiday Campaigns

Now when your creative juices are all flowing, and you’re ready to put the above tips into practice, it’s time to craft a winning Merry Christmas and Happy New Year email. And that’s where our platform steps in to help you do the trick.

Our easy-to-use email creator is optimized for easy email building: regardless of your design skills, you’ll be able to create a stunning Christmas email for your clients with ease. All you have to do to get started is to sign up for a free trial and get down to work.

Below, I'll show some of the options available for Christmas marketing campaigns, with links to the detailed instructions on how to use each of them. Of course, you don’t necessarily have to incorporate all of them; stick to one or two elements that will deliver the holiday message in the best way.

  • Create a custom Christmas email template on your own. You can choose any of free standard templates and upgrade it based on your company style and product. You don’t need to be a tech guru or possess a code knowledge to come up with attractive and appealing design. Our intuitive drag-n-drop editor is easy-to-use even for those new to layout designing.

Christmas email emplates

  • Insert a countdown timer. Speed up the decision making and show people how much time they left until the deal is off. Double-check the time setting and make sure you provide actual and relevant information.
  • Add a rollover effect. Demonstrate your product from different angles and show more options. Each picture can be provided with a corresponding link, so that people can go straight to the offer they’re most interested in.
  • Insert a GIF. A small animation element will help spread Christmas fever and add some festive vibes to your campaign. You can upload the ready image or insert the code, if you’ve built a custom GIF.

template with a GIF

  • Add AMP-powered elements (carouselaccordion, form). To send AMP content, you need to be registered with Google. The procedure isn’t complicated, but the approval process may take some time, so it’s better to get the registration done in advance.
  • Customize CTAs. You may come with any wording, and change the text and background color, based on your brand image.
  • Create unlimited multilingual copies within one template. Companies with international market presence may consider composing multilanguage campaigns. Unlimited languages are available within one template, so you don’t have to create complex workflows or extra segments. What’s more, there’s one report for multilingual campaigns, where you can switch between copies in one click, without opening extra windows or pages.
  • Add a combo of personalized promo codes + product recomemndations. First, give people a gift discount and next show how they can use it by adding product recommendations based on their previous shopping experience or campaign activity.
  • Segment your contacts. Your contact bse isn't homogeneous and consists of various groups (males, females, singles, families, seniors, teenagers, sports fans, glam lovers, etc) that have to be addressed differently. In our system, you can segment your subscribers and customers by age, sex, language, location, profession, preferences, previous purchases, response to previous campaigns, etc.
  • Get omnichannel . You can add several channels - Email, Web Push, Mob Push, SMS - within one workflow and reach contacts where they're most likely to read your messages. 

Multichannel workflow

I want to learn more on functionality

The list of Christmas email marketing examples and solutions can go on and on, but the basic rules are obvious – start planning in advance, don’t miss a chance to reach out, deliver a valuable offer via the original design, and don’t be too pushy with sales. When Christmas fever is spreading, greetings must go first!

?Merry Christmas and Happy New Year?

May your emails be as great as your service?

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Iuliia Nesterenko

Technical Writer

Comments 2

Alex paul 3 years ago

Thanks a lot for sharing 20 Best Christmas Marketing Strategies for the holiday season these strategies will help a lot for companies to build marketing campaign for the season. One of my friend suggested me a article that shares important information on 6 best strategies to boost eCommerce sales and I would like to share that - https://www.i95dev.com/marketing-strategies-for-holiday-season-ecommerce-sales/

SEM Updates 3 years ago

Even some marketers use exit intent integrations to retain the audience on the website. But these days holiday campaigns are at risk because the marketers don't take care of certain things like target audience, audience intent, the reason of the season, as per the recent report: https://www.semupdates.com/4-reasons-why-your-holiday-campaign-fail/

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