Email Marketing

Merry Conversions and Happy New Sales: How Holiday Emails Work

Merry Conversions and Happy New Sales: How Holiday Emails Work

For consumers, holidays are associated with gifts, family gatherings, Mariah Carey’s songs, and well-deserved sleep-ins. For businesses, the holiday season is the most stressful and challenging time of the year: the competition is fierce, deadlines are tight, and consumer expectations are high.

Knowing all that, how can marketers make the most out of each holiday season? Holiday email campaigns are a good place to start.

In this post, we’ll discuss how to write irresistible holiday emails. We’ll also talk about holiday email templates and give you some design tips and ideas. In addition, we’ve gathered some of the best holiday emails for you to draw inspiration from. Ready to dive in?

What are holiday emails?

Holiday emails are email campaigns specifically designed and sent out during holidays or special occasions. These emails are intended to engage subscribers, promote holiday-themed products or services, offer exclusive deals or discounts, and generally capitalize on the festive spirit and increased consumer activity during holidays.

holiday email example
A holiday email example from Athletic Brewing; source: Really Good Emails

Holiday emails can be tailored to various occasions throughout the year, such as Christmas, New Year’s, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Easter, Independence Day, and more, depending on the target audience and the geographic location.

The content of holiday emails may include:

  • seasonal greetings — warm wishes and greetings unique to the holiday and resonating with your brand values;
  • promotional offers — discounts, promo codes, or other bonuses tied to the holiday;
  • gift guides — curated product selections or recommendations to help buyers pick the perfect gift from your assortment;
  • holiday-themed content — festive images, videos, or interactive elements that create a holiday atmosphere but also represent your brand;
  • gifts — freebies or samples from your brand intended to acquaint customers with new products;
  • event announcements — educational tidbits helping consumers learn more about the history of the holiday;
  • reminder emails — gentle reminders about shipping deadlines or short-lived seasonal offers.

In short, an effective holiday email is like a postcard from your business that also encourages the recipient to take the desired action, such as making a purchase or visiting a website.

Why should businesses use holiday emails?

There’s a lot you can achieve by sending relevant and well-thought-out holiday email campaigns:

  1. Increase customer engagement through holiday-themed games, contests, and trends. Holidays create a sense of excitement and anticipation among consumers. By encouraging them to participate in a social media trend or try a new cinnamon-flavored or heart-shaped snack, businesses can tap into this emotional connection, increasing the likelihood of engagement with their brand and content.
  2. Boost revenue by driving spontaneous and last-minute shopping. Holidays are typically associated with increased consumer spending, and that spending isn’t always rational or well-planned. By sending holiday emails that offer exclusive promotions, discounts, or limited-time offers, you can capitalize on this heightened buying mentality. Holiday emails can drive more traffic to your website, increase online and offline sales, and ultimately boost revenue during these peak shopping periods.
  3. Strengthen your bond with customers by sharing precious festive moments with them. Sending holiday emails allows you to connect with customers on a more personal level. By extending warm wishes, sharing touching holiday-themed content, or offering personalized recommendations, you can foster a sense of goodwill and increase customer loyalty and advocacy in the long run.
  4. Make your brand more visible amidst the global holiday shopping frenzy. Holiday emails allow you to showcase your brand’s unique identity and values. They empower you to reinforce your brand image and increase brand awareness among recipients. Even if recipients don’t make an immediate purchase, they may remember your brand and associate it with something positive and heart-warming.
  5. Gain a competitive advantage and avoid getting overshadowed. During the holiday season, many businesses engage in marketing activities to attract customers. By not participating in them, you run the risk of being left behind. A witty, well-executed holiday email campaign can differentiate your business from competitors and help you stand out in a crowded marketplace.
  6. Collect data and gain valuable customer insights. Use holiday email campaigns as an opportunity to learn more about your customers’ spending habits and preferences. By tracking email open rates, click-through rates, and conversions, you can gain insights into consumer behaviors and buying patterns. This data can be used to refine future marketing strategies and tailor offers to specific customer segments.

Getting customers into the holiday spirit is always a good idea, but it’s easier said than done. Let’s discuss how to craft holiday campaigns to sound relatable and authentic.

How to pick the right occasion for your industry

You’ve probably noticed that some holidays are too culture-specific while others are too niche or controversial to be used in a commercial context. After all, you don’t want to accidentally offend, confuse, or exclude any of your customers.

So, holiday emails should align with your brand’s voice and values while considering the cultural sensitivities and diversity of your target audience.

Surely, you don’t forget to send Christmas cards and discounts to your audience. The same probably goes for Valentine’s Day, International Women’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Mother’s Day. But what about less obvious festivities and awareness days, especially the ones with a less expressed political or religious background? Here are some other exciting occasions any business can take advantage of:

  • Super Bowl Sunday — on the second Sunday of February, celebrate with customers by running a contest or giveaway and sharing some game-related memes and GIFs in your emails.
  • Saint Patrick’s Day — on the 17th of March, launch an on-theme green product and show your support of non-profit environmental organizations.
  • April Fool’s Day — on the 1st of April, play harmless practical jokes on your customers or launch fake products to create online buzz around your brand.
  • World Health Day — on the 7th of April, inform your audience about the ways in which your products or service can help them lead a healthy, full life.
  • International Day of Families — on the 15th of May, celebrate your customers’ families by giving them a discount on a family plan/bundle or introducing a referral program.
  • Halloween — on the 31st of October, surprise your customers with a spooky email template, scarily generous discounts, and Halloween-themed freebies.
  • Human Rights Day — on the 10th of December, invite your customers to buy a specific product and donate a percentage of sales to a human rights organization of your choice.

Hopefully, these ideas will help you integrate more holiday emails into your communication strategy. Now, let’s move on to the practical part.

How to write eye-catching holiday email subject lines

Writing eye-catching holiday email subject lines is essential to capture the attention of your recipients and demonstrate that these aren’t regular commercial emails.

Here are some tips to help you craft compelling subject lines to put your recipients in a festive mood:

  1. Use subject lines with fewer than 50 characters. Be concise and get to the point while conveying the value or benefit of opening the email.
  2. Use words or phrases that create a sense of urgency or FOMO (fear of missing out). For example, “Limited Time Offer,” “Last Chance,” or “Ending Soon” can encourage recipients to take immediate action.
  3. Incorporate personalization by addressing recipients by their name or referencing their previous interactions or purchases. Personalization can grab attention and make the email feel more relevant.
  4. Clearly communicate the offers, deals, or exclusive benefits recipients can expect by opening the email. Use enticing words such as “Limited offer,” “Save,” “Discount,” or “Free Shipping” to grab attention.
  5. Tap into the holiday spirit and evoke positive emotions with words and phrases associated with the occasion. Use familiar words and expressions like “Celebrate,” “Magical,” or “Jingle Bells” to instantly communicate your celebratory mood.
  6. Intrigue recipients by using subject lines that pique their curiosity or pose a compelling question. For example, “Guess what’s inside?” or “Unwrap the Surprise!”
  7. Include relevant holiday keywords in your subject lines to make it clear that your email is holiday-themed. Examples include “Holiday,” “Christmas,” “New Year,” “Thanksgiving,” or specific holiday-related terms like “Stocking Stuffers” or “Gift guide.”
  8. Emoji can add visual appeal and convey the mood of a specific holiday. Choose emoji that align with the message you want to convey, but use them sparingly and make sure your audience will understand them.

Remember, it’s important to be authentic and consistent with your brand voice while crafting subject lines. Avoid using clickbait or misleading tactics that may disappoint or frustrate your recipients.

Holiday email subject line examples

Here are some examples of interesting subject lines for Christmas emails:

  • Unwrap the Savings: Our Holiday Gift to You!
  • Give the Gift of [Product Name] This Season
  • Santa’s Secret Sale: Up to 50% Off Inside! ?
  • Our Christmas sale Is ON
  • Ho Ho Ho, Shop for a Friend And Get 30% Off
  • Warm Wishes and a Special Gift Just for You ?
  • You’ve Been Nice! Enjoy Our Holiday Treats
  • Knock, Knock! Santa’s Here
  • No Time? We’ve Picked Gifts For You
  • The 2024 Gift Guide Inside ?
  • Last Chance for Speedy Holiday Delivery!
  • Our Holiday Items Are Selling Out Fast
  • 15% Off Everything! Shop Gifts While Stocks Last
  • Lots of Gifts Under Our Tree ? Unwrap Them All
  • The Perfect Gifts for Your Special Ones
  • Our Festive Collection Is Here
  • Stock Up on Holiday Essentials Before They’re Gone
  • Check Out Our Christmas Gift Box
  • Hello 2024. Hello [Product Name] ?
  • Your New Holiday Obsession

This should give you an idea of what an effective holiday email subject line sounds like. Now, to the rest of the email.

What makes a great holiday email template?

SendPulse offers various email templates for popular occasions. Let’s look at some holiday templates to find out what tricks you can use to get your emails read.

holiday email template collection
SendPulse’s holiday email template collection

Let’s start with this Mother’s Day email template. It features a nice pastel color palette and floral illustrations, sharing some cheerful spring vibes.

email template example
A Mother’s Day email template example

The template features the same CTA twice to reinforce the effect and draw more attention to it. The default copy is in line with the holiday’s theme, and the headline clearly states what’s being celebrated. Finally, the social media buttons allow the recipients to connect with the sender on multiple channels.

Moving on to the next example, this is a more minimalistic template for Christmas campaigns.

email template example
A Christmas email template example

This is a more appropriate template for when you don’t want to get too festive, but acknowledging the upcoming holiday is necessary. This template contains a single CTA, which is the center of attention.

Our spooky template is perfect for promoting Halloween-themed deals. It allows you to feature multiple products in a single email and announce a special offer.

email template example
A Halloween email template example

Before showcasing your products, make sure to set the mood by announcing your scary-good sale in a spooky way, in alignment with the occasion.

These and other email templates from our collection can be fully customized to suit your brand’s identity.

5 clever holiday email examples

Here are some of the best holiday emails from popular brands.

Orangewood Guitars

This cozy, tasteful, and Christmasy holiday email example shows that you don’t need that many words to convey the festive mood — attractive images and discounts speak for themselves.

holiday email example
A holiday email example from Orangewood Guitars; source: Really Good Emails

The brand offers its customers buy-now-pay-later options, which is another smart trick since it allows users to shop in a less restricted fashion and act on the special offer while it’s available.


This example demonstrates how important it is to acknowledge and celebrate awareness days related to your niche. In this case, a supplement brand informs its audience about American Diabetes Alert Day and helps them discover educational resources and otherwise contribute to the cause.

holiday email example
A holiday email example from Buoy; source: Really Good Emails

Even though the subject of this email is serious, the template design itself is positive and visually pleasing. The headlines instantly grab attention, and the email copy is not only informative but also easy to read.


This holiday email is all about New Year’s resolutions and helping customers achieve their personal goals. The topic of hair loss is a sensitive one, but this email handles it with professionalism and empathy.

holiday email example
A holiday email example from Hims; source: Really Good Emails

The design of this email is pixel-perfect, from the step-by-step visualizations to the application example. The brand doesn’t make any empty promises — every statement is verifiable, and the product itself is trusted by doctors.


This colorful holiday email is simple but surprisingly convincing, thanks to its great product images, friendly copy, and irresistible discount.

holiday email example
A holiday email example from Finn; source: Really Good Emails

Here, we see another clever tactic, which is to show the exact price difference to help customers understand how much they’ll save if they purchase now.

Munk Pack

Our last holiday email example proves that small occasions are also worth celebrating, especially if they have a direct relation to your product.

holiday email example
A holiday email example from Munk Pack; source: Really Good Emails

This is a fantastic way to shift focus toward one specific product or ingredient and make the whole message entertaining and light-hearted.

Supercharge your holiday email marketing with SendPulse

Our intuitive visual editor and template collection allow you to create good-looking email campaigns in minutes. You can also rely on SendPulse’s automation features to set up triggered emails or autoresponders for specific holiday-related actions. Segment your audience based on criteria like demographics or past behavior, schedule the email campaign for optimal delivery, and track the performance using our built-in reporting and analytics tools.

We support a variety of communication channels, including email, SMS, web push notifications, pop-ups, and chatbots, allowing for perfectly orchestrated omnichannel holiday campaigns. Additionally, SendPulse provides sales automation features, enabling you to track your holiday sales with ease. Try it now for free!

Date of publication:

July 13, 2023
Elena Timofeeva

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