Sending Christmas newsletters is a long-standing tradition and one email marketers love. It’s one of those once-in-a-year opportunities where you can engage and reactivate subscribers over a considerable period without needing a particularly good reason. You just need to ensure you do it well. Below is everything you’ll need to get started, plus new ideas, best practices, and inspiring Christmas newsletter examples.
Does the sight of pretty packages surrounding a Christmas tree or a stack of presents placed inside your front door bring a smile to your face? It does for me.
It brings back warm memories of family and friends, time spent together, and the joy of getting that special gift I was hoping for when I was a child. Then there’s that magical feeling of anticipation as you wait and wonder what’s inside each package. Oooh, the warm fuzzies! 🤗
Waiting to unwrap those enticing packages can be hard. Lots of people go ahead and allow themselves a little taste of fun before the big day. There are office gift exchanges, Secret Santa swaps, and Advent calendars that have a tiny present for each day in December leading up to the 25th.
All these activities extend the fun of the holiday seasons and add to the sense of togetherness and community people feel around this time of year.
Join the festivities and give your subscribers an early taste of the holiday spirit with your Christmas newsletter. Send a holiday-themed message that provides value for your subscribers and a participant in the seasonal celebration.
Need some Christmas newsletter ideas and inspiration for upcoming campaigns?
Look no further.
Win your subscribers’ attention, grow your customers’ loyalty and win your brand a share of consumers’ holiday shopping budgets –everything is organized for you below! For extra, non-holiday inspiration, check out our newsletter examples blog.
Read the most significant, most organized volume of information written about email deliverability.
Best practices for creating Christmas newsletters
Newsletters, unlike transactional email campaigns, are a powerful tool for connecting with your subscribers. These messages are sent on a consistent schedule, helping companies to stay top of mind and keeping subscribers updated on a business’s latest news and deals.
Newsletters are also an excellent vehicle to distribute content such as how-to guides, customer testimonials, or interactive polls and quizzes, that inform and engage subscribers.
Holiday-themed newsletters come with all the benefits of a regular email newsletter but with extra sparkles. 🎇
A newsletter that acknowledges the season is more relevant and contextual than one that delivers much the same content in May as it does in November. The use of Christmas imagery and copy that references holiday traditions (including shopping) link your brand to the positive emotions the season evokes.
But standing out in the inbox during the peak shopping season is not easy.
If your brand plans to get on board the holiday express and add to the cavalcade of messages invoking the Christmas spirit, you need to build your Christmas newsletter templates now. But what should they say? What should they look like?
Decisions, decisions, decisions.
It’s almost as difficult as choosing which type of pie to have as dessert following Thanksgiving dinner!
When it comes to pie, I believe that you should go for a slice of the most popular flavor after dinner while you still have a chance. You can grab a piece of one of the other pies for a midnight snack later. 🥧
That advice also applied to your Christmas newsletters:
Make sure you get the basics right. Then add lots of holiday flair.
Tips to craft awesome Christmas newsletters and for the rest of the year
🎁 Decide if you’ll send a seasonal newsletter
I know I just spent several paragraphs explaining why holiday newsletters are a viable strategy for the holiday season. But that doesn’t mean that they will work for every company. It’s important to know your audience and understand how they feel about the holidays, and Christmas in particular, before you decide on your Q4 email marketing strategy.
If you acknowledge the specialness of this time of year, then you have to decide how you’ll do it.
We are talking about Christmas newsletters here. However, not everyone celebrates the Christmas holiday. Should you broaden the scope of your newsletter?
Some other festive options include celebrating:
- The holiday season.
- The holidays.
- The winter holidays.
- The end of the year.
- The coming new year.
- Festivus (Not familiar with this classic? It was popularized by a 1997 Seinfeld episode.)
Nordstrom’s newsletter announces “It’s time to Make Merry!” during the holiday season, calling it the season of joy and inviting subscribers to use its holiday gift guide for easy, one-stop gift shopping.
Choose the language and theme most suitable (and least likely to offend) to your audience. Also, before you begin your seasonal newsletter series, alert your subscribers and add a section to your preference center that empowers them to opt out.
🎁 Define the purpose and objectives of your Christmas newsletter series
To avoid overloading your subscribers with email content, it’s likely that your Christmas newsletter will replace your regularly scheduled newsletter. But that doesn’t mean your seasonal newsletter should continue with the same objectives as your regular communications.
“It’s wise for retailers to use promotions to capitalize on early shoppers, not just to drive sales but also to avoid inventory glut.” ~Zak Stambor, eMarketer Retail Daily newsletter, September 23, 2022
Devise Christmas newsletter ideas around a specific set of objectives. These may include increasing your brand’s reputation with subscribers, shoring up brand loyalty, or increasing sales.
Secondary objectives may include encouraging subscribers to pre-order popular items so you can assess demand or getting them to order their holiday gifts early to avoid last-minute shipping issues.
🎁 Activate your seasonal subscription pipeline
Your newsletter isn’t the only place where Christmas-themed content can give you a boost. Optimize your email sign-up forms to capture holiday shoppers hoping to grab a deal. Offer incentives tailored to gift shoppers to win new subscribers.
Balsam Hill sells decor items throughout the year but dresses up its sign-up form for its primary season, Christmas.
The graphic for this DevOps’ giveaway makes me want to subscribe just because it’s so festive and inviting.
🎁 Prepare your Q4 newsletter content calendar
Map your newsletter content in the context of your overall business objectives and the unique challenges you expect to face this holiday shopping season. Then schedule your newsletter topics and content to ensure that your goal-focused messages are delivered at the right time.
🎁 Coordinate your newsletter content with your other channel content
Your customers expect a seamless, consistent omnichannel shopping experience this holiday season. Prepare a unified messaging plan and ensure your subscribers see the same offers and product selections across every channel. Shorten their path to purchase by creating tailored landing pages for your email promotions.
Plant and decor brand Terrain invites subscribers to take a sneak peek at its Holiday Shop in its newsletter, introducing this year’s new seasonal decorations. A click on the CTA takes shoppers straight to a collection of enticing Christmas decor pieces.
This Terrain email example incorporates several Christmas newsletter ideas and best practices. The subject line introduces social proof and excitement by announcing that a “best-selling” item is back in stock. The preheader text in the message adds urgency saying, “Get it before it’s gone.”
The email also demonstrates the product and includes an upsell, showing subscribers how they can achieve the pictured look with decorative ribbon (also available for purchase). The Holiday sneak peek CTA has an inviting design and copy that draws the eye, and the retailer mentions the availability of gift cards in two different locations. 🥂
🎁 Don’t be complacent
Despite your well-laid plans, be prepared to pivot as the holiday season progresses. Consumer behaviors may shift rapidly as economic conditions change. Monitor your performance metrics closely so you can change your content in response to your subscribers’ actions.
🎁 Segment your audience
You may need to fine-tune your regular email newsletter segments for your Christmas campaigns.
First, you’ll have to separate those who have opted out of seasonal messages from those who haven’t and decide whether you’ll continue your regular newsletter for your opt-out subscribers. Your loyal customers may still be interested in hearing about your latest products and promotions just without the holiday wrapping.
Next, create segments that will enable you to customize your Christmas newsletter templates to maximize conversions.
How does that work?
You’ll start with a Christmas-themed but basic newsletter template that contains the content you want to distribute to all your newsletter subscribers.
Then, you can customize this content in one of several ways.
You can use behavioral, psychographic or demographic characteristics to add content relevant to different geographic regions, favored products, or other preferences–just like you do for your regular newsletter.
You can also create segments to match each group to the best promotional offers.
- A holiday sign-up segment. Create a special segment that includes your most recent subscribers and offer deals that incentivize gift purchases, such as buy one, get one free promotion.
- A long time listeners, first time callers segment. These are your subscribers who have engaged with your emails previously but have never made a purchase. Use a dynamic content block or field to insert an amazing offer that will get them to commit!
- The VIPs. You’ll definitely want to add something special to your Christmas newsletters for your most valued and valuable subscribers. Their dynamic offer might include tiered discounts, bonus rewards, or a gift with purchase.
Use recency, frequency, monetary value (RFM), and other purchase and engagement data to help you identify the best segments to target.
Should you try to capture the attention of lapsed subscribers during the holiday shopping season? It depends.
If you suspect that your lapsed subscribers are actually seasonal gift shoppers, it makes sense to reconnect with them during Q4 each year. Think of them as loyal customers who just don’t come around very often.
However, it might not be the best use of your resources to create messaging for subscribers who aren’t engaged with your brand at all. With sending and your team’s creative bandwidth at a premium, consider pausing or reducing your send frequency for your lowest value segments.
🎁 Optimize your content
What? Isn’t your content always optimized? Of course it is. To make sure you win those Christmas conversions, optimize it more. 👍
- Follow the best practices in our article, 29 Newsletter Examples and How They Activate Subscribers, to create Christmas newsletter templates that are mobile-ready and accessible. Make sure you’ve added alt-text to your images and a plain text version of your message to your send file so all your subscribers can enjoy your Christmas newsletters.
- Invest extra time to develop subject lines that grab attention in the inbox. Craft copy that evokes emotions or answers the question, “What’s in it for me?”
I was charmed by an email from yarn shop Jimmy Beans Wools with a subject line preview text combo that said, “Cozy Season?! We’ve got you covered! – Blankets from Tosh, Cascade, & More!”
Business software brand Adobe’s subject line and preview text get right to the point, “Everything you need to prep for this holiday season – New Adobe Commerce Content to check out this month.” Inside the email is a link to a downloadable holiday prep guide.
Uncommon Goods takes a humorous approach with the question, “Too early for a tree? Asking for a friend” in the subject line for an early seasonal shopping promotion.
Punny, heartfelt, with emojis or without. Test different subject line/preview text combos to find the ones that earn you the most opens.
- Set up your sending names to display your logo using the Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) protocol, use Google Annotations if your emails are headed for Gmail’s promotions tab, and sprinkle some festive emojis in your subject lines to add to their visual interest.
PayPal and Partake Foods are both onboard with BIMI.
- Personalize your subscribers’ Christmas newsletters by adding dynamic email content to the messages’ subject lines or body copy. Greet subscribers by name, mention their hometown, or even their favorite color or flavor to show them that you’re paying attention to and care about their interests.
- Incorporate interactive elements in the body of your emails. Engage your subscribers with fun holiday polls, product (and gift) recommendation quizzes, or games that reward players with discounts or other prizes.
You can also include inventory and countdown timers to animate important information. Just make sure the information you’re relaying is accurate. Don’t try to fool today’s savvy shoppers with fake urgency signals.
- Add extra Christmas cheer to your messages with GIFs. Watch your file sizes though. After adding your images and animated GIFs, use an HTML compression app to make sure your messages don’t get clipped.
The animated GIF at the top of Sugarfina’s email adds a touch of whimsy to Sugarfina’s email introducing its 2022 Candy Carousel Advent Calendar. Close-up images of the 3D calendar’s details add to the magic.
- Make your CTAs the star of your newsletters. What do we want? Action! How do we get it? We ask!
Whether your newsletter is informational or promotional, it should move your subscribers forward on their buyer’s journey. Use unique, clear, eye-catching CTAs to achieve your newsletters’ objectives.
- Anticipate your subscribers’ questions and objections. Include relevant links to your FAQs about shipping, returns, price guarantees, delivery locations, and other critical facts in your newsletters’ footers, along with your contact information and links to your preference center and unsubscribe pages.
One of our clients, the Travel website KAYAK, knows its subscribers will be looking for ways to make their holiday travel planning easier. It sent out an early season newsletter with a link to a webpage dedicated to identifying which airlines offer routes to get people home for the holidays.
KAYAK took extra care to craft the subject line appearance for this message to grab holiday travelers’ attention. The most important information is at the lead of the preheader, with plenty of details following for those who have a widescreen view of their inbox.
Before you even click open, the message is clear: “Holidays, here we come! ⛄ – Book soon if you want to save this season. Flights Hotels Cars Packages Get home (quickly) for the holidays…”
🎁 Be transparent and authentic, even if it hurts
Be honest about anticipated shipping problems and other issues.
In this 2021 Christmas newsletter, Sephora warns subscribers that the brand is experiencing shipping delays. In the same message, the company details shoppers’ delivery options, including buying online picking up in-store (BOPIS), and curbside pickup.
This promotional email from Sephora includes lots of tempting sales offers and product recommendations, along with a warning about shipping delays.
Diaspora Co. sent a sincere update to its customers during the December 2021 shipping crunch explaining the details of its supply chain and urging subscribers to place their orders before the shipping deadlines.
⚠️Be cautious when using countdowns, limited quantity warnings, and similar content that encourages shoppers to act quickly. But you should never fake scarcity or urgency to drive sales. If your audience catches you, you’ll lose their trust and your chance at winning a share of their holiday spending.
🎁 Document your Christmas content and design choices
Add an addendum to your brand style guide that includes any additional colors and fonts that your team can use for holiday editions of your newsletter. This guide should also include a list of the words and phrases your brand will and won’t use when creating holiday messages.
Finally, designate a location for your approved holiday-themed assets, so your creative team can find what they need quickly and stay on-brand when building your Christmas newsletter templates. Digital asset management software (DAM) offers the most comprehensive solution for storing files in multiple formats. But your CRM or marketing platform may provide an option for asset storage as well.
🎁 Perform quality checks throughout your newsletter development process
Check the formatting, links, and other elements of your Christmas newsletter templates, and preview each newsletter across multiple devices and email clients before you send it.
🎁 A/B test your Christmas newsletters
Gather data to discover what your subscribers are responding to this year. Real-time A/B testing enables you to evaluate two (or more) variants without substantially delaying your newsletter’s release.
With real-time testing, once the test begins, each variant will be sent to the initial test lists. After the winner is identified, that version of the newsletter is immediately distributed to the rest of your subscribers. Speedy and smart!
What types of content should you include in your Christmas newsletters?
Your seasonal newsletter series should include a mix of promotional and informational or editorial content similar to the balance of your regular newsletter–with some seasonal flair.
Reserve space in your Q4 content calendar for an end-of-year company update or round-up, like what you might see in the annual Christmas newsletter family and friends send to one another. The holiday season is a great time to share community news and update subscribers about your brand’s philanthropic activities.
Publish user-generated content in your Christmas newsletters and updates about the giving activities your brand and its customers participated in together.
Also, send your subscribers a newsletter that expresses your appreciation. People expect to receive heartfelt greetings during this time of year.
Of course, you’ll want to keep your subscribers informed about special promotions and seasonal merchandise. Coordinate your promotional content with your inventory and your customers’ buying cycles. Many brands have already started sending out early purchase and waitlist messages for this year’s holiday shopping season.
Finally, use your Christmas newsletters to keep your subscribers and customers informed about supply chain and inventory issues, provide product guides and gift suggestions, and tell them about new customer service features and purchase options.
Now, as promised, here’s the list.
The Email Marketing Activity Book for Kids
56 sensational content ideas for your Christmas newsletters
♩ ♪ ♫ ♬
With your list of best practices,
checked and checked twice,
It’s time to fill your newsletters
with sugar and spice.
Don’t worry, dear marketer,
if you lack inspiration.
We have plenty of ideas
For your holiday preparations.
There are so many choices,
stock up on your favorites.
Then relax with a cuppa,
And get some engagement.
♩ ♪ ♫ ♬
I had a moment there. 🙄
I’ve put together a collection of Christmas newsletter ideas to help you get a jump start on filling your seasonal content calendar. Use these suggestions alone, or better yet, combine several ideas into a multi-section newsletter that checks all the boxes to move your subscribers forward on their purchasing journeys and increase your seasonal revenue.
Start the holiday shopping season with a few gentle nudges
At the end of Q3 and the beginning of Q4 is when the first of the holiday nudges begin. I received a sneak peek and waitlist offers from some brands in August. Several brands began their holiday campaigns on September 16 with a “100 Days Until Christmas” email promotion. So you’ll need to save some of these ideas until 2023.
- Get an early start on holiday shopping invitations. Use seasonal teasers to trigger a sense of excitement and anticipation.
Radio City Music Hall makes a direct appeal to urgency in a pre-season email announcing that tickets are available for September showings of The venue’s Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes and offers invites subscribers to preview the televised version of the show with a secondary CTA.
The words “plan” and “special” in the subject line for this September Radio City Music Hall newsletter subtly guide readers to prepare for the coming holiday season.
- “100 Days Until Christmas” promotions. Use this newsletter to remind subscribers about the potential for shipping delays and the joys of finishing their holiday shopping early.
If you’re feeling daring, publish a 100 Gift Ideas Guide on your website and link to it in your Christmas newsletter, along with images of a few featured items.
Zazzle’s subject line for its ‘100 Days ‘Til Christmas’ newsletter reads. “Shop Early, Save BIG with 50% Off Holiday Cards and More.” Inside, subscribers find images of a variety of Christmas-themed products (and some Halloween goodies, too).
- Shop early advisories. If you have a finalized “order by” schedule, share it with your subscribers in your pre-BFCM newsletters so they can plan ahead.
Gardener’s Supply uses its newsletter to advise subscribers when it’s time to order potted Amaryllis bulbs to ensure they’ll bloom at Christmas. The newsletter also includes tips for selecting and caring for these colorful flowers that have become a part of many people’s holiday traditions.
Kohl’s gives Santa a nudge to get started on toy shopping in a promotional newsletter that’s packed with flash and fanfare. The subject line says, “Start your holiday shopping early with must-have toys.🎁” and the content is packed with GIF animations.
- Seasonal product previews. Trigger thoughts of the season to come and generate a little FOMO and leverage the persuasive power of scarcity by featuring highly sought items or products that are only available in limited quantities during the Christmas season.
With a rhyming secondary headline and multiple mentions of a special discount offer with accompanying CTAs, HighKey’s promotional newsletter encourages customers to “get in the holiday spirit.” The message reminds subscribers that these cookies are a “limited edition,” and the graphics are customized to match the winter-themed packaging of the featured ginger spice cookies.
HighKey hits several high notes with this email introducing a new seasonal cookie flavor.
- Waitlist invitations for exclusive or limited-quantity items. Highlight once-a-year offers or specialty items and give subscribers first dibs with an invitation to join the waitlist or pre-order these items. Waitlist sign-ups also give you insights into demand for the featured merchandise.
This newsletter from Webs offers subscribers the chance to be first in line to get 2022’s exclusive, limited-edition holiday knitting kit that includes one-of-a-kind swag from the brand. (Snow not included.)
The subject line of a subsequent newsletter reads, “Frostie Friends are now in stock! ⛄”and is topped with a panel announcing that the seasonal kit was available for purchase.
- Pre-release notices. Tell subscribers when new products are in the pipeline and when they’ll be available for purchase.
With the subject line, “The mysterious No. 7,” who wouldn’t be intrigued? Curious Elixirs invites pre-orders of its new non-alcoholic craft cocktail in an elegant message that hints at what is coming.
Lego alerted VIP subscribers that the latest holiday building sets were incoming with a “Coming Soon” alert in its newsletter sent one day before the drop.
Dior builds anticipation and encourages subscribers to indicate their interest with a “notify me” CTA in this email announcing that its exclusive advent calendar is coming soon.
- What’s trending lists. You can send these any time during the holiday season, but they’ll pack an extra punch if you let shoppers know which items are popular and moving fast early so they don’t miss out.
J.Renee Shoes employs the power of persuasion to convince subscribers to indulge in a pair of shoes they can only wear at Christmas. The subject line “These sold out fast last time! ⌛” offers social proof with a side of urgency.
“Get a jump on them before they’re gone” reads the body text of this email highlighting J.Renee’s seasonally trendy shoes.
I like the show of personality in J Renee’s “Shop Claus” CTA.
Causebox introduces subscribers to “One of the most popular picks this Winter…” in a promotional message that includes an animated hero image and an invitation to build a customized Winter box by selecting from over 1000 products. (View the email’s GIF animation here.)
- Beat the BFCM rush. Why compete for shopping dollars on Black Friday when you can offer your subscribers a great deal on the Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving? Is it too soon? Nah. Go for it!
To encourage subscribers to shop before Black Friday, Sharper Image sent a preview newsletter that included a 20% cash back coupon offer with a minimum purchase.
In addition to getting a head start on BFCM, Sharper Image’s newsletter gave the brand an opportunity to share links to several gift guides and select products with subscribers. The electronics and gift shop also offered plenty of reassurance for hesitant shoppers with an in-stock guarantee and a description of its holiday returns policy.
Including links to important terms for shipping or returns helps your brand prevent miscommunications and negative customer experiences.
- BFCM countdown. If you’re going to make your subscribers wait for the biggest shopping weekend of the year to grab great deals at your store or website, tell ‘em what they’re waiting for in a countdown Christmas newsletter that spills the tea.
This teaser BFCM countdown message from watch seller Tinker builds anticipation but keeps its secrets.
Electronics and audio retailer Bose reveals some of what’s to come and adds an interactive element in its BFCM “coming soon” email.
- BFCM: before, during, and after. This BFCM weekend has always been a high-volume sending event for email marketers. So many messages, and so little time. From beginning to end, there are opportunities to win.
Check out some of these examples from seasons past.
You can’t see it in this static image, but the snow is falling, and the penguins are bouncing in this delightful BFCM email from Kidly. (You can experience the full effect here.)
Jewelry retailer Brillianteers sends a playful Cyber Monday announcement with an equally playful CTA that urges subscribers to open the box to see the deals. The message incorporates customer testimonials, too. 💍
- Days left to order for Christmas delivery. This newsletter message conveys a sense of urgency while still being authentic. There really is a last date to order to get delivery by Christmas, and reminding your subscribers of that date is a value-adding service.
Knowing the deadline to order is especially important this year as the supply chain continues to be unpredictable.
An animated banner counts down the days left to order for guaranteed Christmas delivery in this cheeky message from Perpetual Kid.
On-brand, playful and heartfelt, this newsletter from Perpetual Kids thanks customers with a personal note from a customer service team member, tells them about a free gift and alerts them to important shipping deadlines.
The subject line and preview text of this “order soon” message from candy purveyor Mrs. Prindables is a little long, but the message is clear. Along with tempting images of Christmassy treats, there’s also a link to a gift guide.
“Snow doubt! We’re happy to report that you can still have gourmet goodies delivered in time for Christmas [better hurry though] – Get your Snow Day Caramel Apple Gift Tray before it’s gone”
Ideas for Christmas newsletter promotions
Bring out your best promotions for an end-of-the-year revenue boost and lay the foundation for more sales in the new year, Create conversion-focused content that removes friction from your subscribers’ experiences and makes you their destination of choice for completing their Christmas shopping tasks.
- Stock up sale. Whether they are shopping for themselves or someone else, inventory and shipping times may be unpredictable this year. A stock-up sale offers subscribers savings and saves on shipping costs, too.
- “Bundle up!” promotions. Offer pre-selected package deals, or choose-your-own bundle offers to encourage subscribers to purchase all their gifts and satisfy their personal wishlist with your brand. Add tiered discounts to sweeten the deal and win over hesitant shoppers.
Fudge Professional hair care products gave subscribers the gift of choice with a Build Your Own Christmas Bundle sale giving customers 15% off their personal hair care favorites.
Cosmetics brand, The Balm, gets in the holiday spirit by decorating its header banner with reindeer and candy canes and giving subscribers an extra 10% off its curated bundles.
- Flash sales. This one’s for the impulse buyers and the people who can’t pass up a good deal. So give them a reason to click-through and shop with you. Include a colorful real-time countdown timer in your message to enhance the excitement and sense of urgency.
Cymbiotika scores a holiday promotion trifecta with a flash holiday sale on bundles with tiered discounts based on the amount subscribers spend.
“Here’s a pick-me-up for the new week – Flash sale incoming!” is the subject line and preview text of Adidas’s pre-Christmas email alerting subscribers to an upcoming 50% off sale.
In its flash sale alert, Adidas suggests people add items to their wishlist before the sale to get the good stuff before it’s gone. This is an excellent strategy for staying on top of inventory demands and gaining insights into what items customers will buy (if the price is right).
- Inventory updates. You can send subscribers low-stock warnings or back-in-stock updates using dynamic content in your Christmas newsletter template.
When you have new inventory information to share (whether good news or bad) add the content using this reserved block. If there’s no news to share, replace the inventory advisory with trending product images or other content.
Misfit Foods uses a gooey good-looking product close up to trigger the FOMO in this “Last call for Gingerbread” message to subscribers. The preview text adds to the pressure with a scarcity-based warning that only 500 units of the seasonal flavor are left.
This ‘going soon’ message from Misfits invites subscribers to Shop now to get a favorite holiday flavor before it’s too late.
The arrival of the season’s Hallmark ornament selection is cause for The Paper Store to send a special alert to email subscribers and a special 1-week purchase event.
- “Buy one, get one” offers. “Buy one, get one” and “Free gift with purchase” deals make customers feel good. During the holiday shopping season, these offers help them extend their gift-buying budget, or grab a little something for themselves without feeling guilty.
The example below from Lovely Skin aims to capture inbox attention with a clear value proposition, “Our Christmas gift to you: Free $160 SkinMedica Radiance Infusion Gift Set.” The preview text tells subscribers that the brand is “filling their stocking with a highly covetable gift set…”
Lovely Skin’s email celebrates subscribers with a gift-with-purchase offer and includes links to a holiday shopping guide and gift card purchase page.
- “Make a donation with every purchase,” promotions. Another way to increase conversions and make your customers feel good is to offer to donate every time they purchase from your brand. Tell your subscribers about your offer and the organizations you’ll donate to in your Christmas newsletter to spread the good will and good cheer.
During the first week of December 2021, Urban Outfitters encouraged subscribers to purchase E-Gift cards by agreeing to donate 10% of each purchase to a youth-focused charity. This tactic increased the chances that UO would get subscribers’ post-holiday shopping dollars and supported a good cause.
Urban Outfitters chose a charitable cause aligned with its core customers’ values for its 2021 holiday season donation program. 🤝
- Gift suggestions. Gift suggestions or recommendations can be thematic, such as “10 gifts for book lovers” or based on top-selling items. If your brand offers a gift recommendation engine for holiday shoppers, personalize these purchase suggestions by adding a dynamic block to your Christmas newsletter template.
David’s Tea helps subscribers choose which Advent-themed “24 Days of Tea” gift set is best for the tea lover in their life in a product-themed promotional newsletter. Matcha? Caffeine-free? There’s a gift set for every taste.
- Gift guides. Is there a difference between gift guides and gift suggestions? Sort of.
A single newsletter may contain a list of suggested gifts based on popularity, the customers’ past buying behaviors, or other characteristics. Or you can create multiple guides that offer suggestions for different groups or characteristics. Then link to each of these guides in your newsletter.
Blending colorful accents and a dark background, Tattly produced an attractive, festive Christmas newsletter featuring several gift guides for different recipients.
Basepaws serves its pet-loving subscribers with a gift guide for “the cat who has everything” as part of its Christmas email campaign.
Gift suggestion or gift guide content can consist of a list of products, a collection of product images or include details such as why the item made the list and customer testimonials or ratings.
- Gift card promotions. What can you get someone as a gift when you don’t know what they like? A gift card!
What can you get someone as a gift when you forgot to order a present in time? A digital gift card!
Add conversions and save the day for your subscribers who put off their holiday shopping a bit too long with a well-timed reminder that your brand sells gift cards in your Christmas newsletter.
Gift cards can be boring. Cozymeal makes theirs look exciting with a GIF that illustrates some of the things card recipients can redeem their cards for. (See the animations here.)
Specialty retailer Musician’s Friend offers subscribers shopping for a friend a helping hand in this Christmas newsletter that reminds them that gift cards are a perfect last-minute present and points them to a curated “hot and trending” list.
- “Days of Christmas Savings” series. Select the duration of your series and offer each day a different discount or offer in your Christmas newsletter. Twenty-five, twenty-four or twelve-day series are popularly associated with Christmas, but you can choose any duration.
Your “days of” offers can be a special deal on a specific item or product group. For example, day 1 might be “Brand Y’s cozy slippers” and day 2, “Brand Z’s coffee mug gift kit.” (Hint: Choose overstocked or high-margin products.)
Alternatively, you can offer a different type of discount or incentive, such as free shipping on any order, a free express upgrade, or 10% off your total order each day. Plan your offer schedule based on when an offer is likely to be most effective at earning conversions and most cost-effective for you to honor.
AllHeart’s 12 days of gift-giving newsletter promises new gift ideas and deals each day of the campaign.
In the example email above, AllHeart’s “12 Days of Gifting” campaign pushes all the right buttons to please shoppers in search of great deals. The subject line tells the dominant story with the announcement, “Holiday Clearance Event! Save up to 80% Off Scrubs While Supplies Last.” The preview text asks for the open with copy that reads: “Welcome to the 12 Days of Gifting! Open to Reveal Day 1!”
Inside the email, subscribers are invited to sign up for the brand’s rewards program and reassured that they will receive their gifts on time for Christmas. Shoppers can visit the linked Holiday Shipping Deadlines page to confirm the delivery promise.
Clearing out clearance items is the next goal of this message with a panel that announces a 3-day only 80% off sale. More sales alerts from brand partners follow along with a link to a list of top-selling gifts and a description of AllHeart’s free exchanges and customer support features. 🥂
Supplement brand Legion engaged subscribers with a 12 Days of Christmas email series, including this message that features a buy one, get one 50% offer.
- Christmas + extra theme newsletters. Go deeper than just “Christmas” as a theme and create single topic newsletters that offer advice, suggest a collection of related products, or pursue a Christmas or holiday related sub-theme.
Here are some examples of Christmas-themed newsletters with a theme:
- A selection of tips about keeping decorative greenery fresh throughout the holiday season or a guide on what types of holiday plants are safe to have around pets.
- A curated collection of seasonally relevant items such as cold weather clothing, warm beverages, holiday entertainment, or all-ages toys and games.
Craft and needlework company DMC created a Christmas newsletter that introduced a new line of kits designed to help new crafters make gift items. The email included links to tutorials and examples of people making the crafts to inspire others to give the kits a try.
Beginning with the subject line, “Make heartfelt, thoughtful gifts,” giving a gift that is personal and made with love is the theme of this holiday newsletter from DMC.
- A newsletter built around a famous Christmas story or song, like “The 12 Days of Christmas” or “Home for the Holidays” or other holiday-related theme. These newsletters can combine gift ideas with recipes and advice all focused on your chosen topic.
Biltong (a preserved meat) company Stryve shares its whimsical holiday spirit with subscribers in a newsletter dedicated to sharing fun holiday traditions. The brand adds an extra-personal touch with quotes from the social media team.
- Interactive product recommendation tools. Add a quiz or other interactive element to your Christmas newsletter that provides your subscribers with a reason to engage with your message and value-adding advice on which products they or the people on their holiday shopping list might like.
- Gamification elements. Make reading and engaging with your holiday newsletter fun with scratch-off, swiping left or right, and other embedded interactive components that invite subscribers to play and reward them for giving you their attention.
Sheets and linens seller, Sheex infused into its Christmas newsletter with a “very merry mystery sale” complete with a countdown timer and animated gifts (in a GIF) for subscribers to click to unwrap their savings.
Sheex uses color as an effective tool to guide readers through this newsletter and hold their attention while staying on brand. (To see this email’s animated effects, visit Milled.com.)
Find tools for creating and adding custom interactive elements to your emails in our magnificent 2022 Email Marketing Tools Stack guide.
- “Treat yourself” encouragements. With subject lines such as “Be your own Secret Santa,” “Pick up a little something for yourself,” and “You deserve a treat,” these holiday messages encourage subscribers to buy for themselves as well as others.
The messaging for a “give yourself a gift” campaign can be informational, promotional or both. For example, create a message that offers tips for self-care and accompany it with a discount or gift with a purchase offer. Or offer your subscribers great deals on items they may want to purchase as gifts or keep for themselves.
This “12 weeks of gifting” email from KnitPicks encourages knitters to purchase the supplies they need to make gifts for others. But, as any knitter knows, buying a new project is really a treat for themselves—no matter who ends up with the final product.
- “Last-minute” alerts. Last-minute messages let your customers know that there’s still time to shop and give them an offer that encourages them to click “Add to cart” and top off their gift lists. You can use last-minute sales promotions to clear out your inventory and inject a little urgency into Christmas promotions.
Tommy Hilfiger doesn’t bury the lede in a late season Christmas newsletter featuring a subject line that says, “Attn: Last-minute gifters!” Inside the email, the designer brand promotes its e-gift cards and also invites subscribers to find a nearby store (with a button CTA) if they need to pick up something in person.
The headline of this last-minute shopping message tells subscribers they can get their shopping done, “In the nick of time.” Get it? Christmas? St. Nick?
- Extra loyalty points and rewards. What better time than Christmas to give your most loyal shoppers something extra. Add a “double loyalty points on every purchase” offer to a mid-holiday season campaign to nudge your customers to make a buying decision and increase their order values.
Use dynamic blocks to send this offer only to your VIP customers, all past customers, or every subscriber and customize the copy. If you send it to everyone, make sure you use language that explains how new purchasers can sign up for your loyalty program to take advantage of the offer!
- “Buy now, get rewards later” campaigns. This tactic gives shoppers an incentive to concentrate their gift buying with your brand so that they can earn cashback, future discounts, or other after-the-purchase rewards.
A common strategy to keep customers coming back is to offer a future purchase credit based on the amount the customer spends. Make these credits redeemable for a limited time to build repeat purchasing habits that reduce churn.
The Paper Store made a limited-time “Holiday Rewards” offer to encourage subscribers to shop early. Shoppers who make a minimum purchase during the promotion will earn bonus dollars they can spend through December 31.
For your ultra-bargain shoppers, nothing is more tempting than collecting stackable deals such as 30% off now, plus a rewards card to spend later.
- VIP club or loyalty member exclusives. If your brand offers a VIP membership, subscription club or rewards program, you can make these customers feel extra special during the holiday season by adding exclusive deals or gift offers to them.
Anthropologie encourages subscribers to join its rewards club with exclusive “first dibs” access to a popular beauty-themed advent calendar in a newsletter that offers up lots of enticing images of Christmas merchandise.
In your holiday newsletter, use dynamic content to make these exclusives known only to those who are eligible or, like your rewards boost messages, explain how non-members can join to participate.
Biossurance uses a series of animations to add visual interest to this email that invites subscribers to gain early access and exclusive perks by joining its free rewards program. (Click here to view the animations. I ❤️️ the little delivery truck.)
The subject line of Biosurrance’s insider invite email urges subscribers to “Unlock early access to our biggest event of the year.” Inside the email, the beauty brand uses an infographic to explain the benefits of the regular and VIP tiers of its program, introduce limited edition gift sets and make product recommendations.
In a clever twist on the usual social media links, this email’s links are backed with graphics featuring products and customers.
- “Your wishlist” reminders. Create a wishlist or “What I want for Christmas” themed newsletter or newsletter section. Then, use dynamic content to insert product images from the wishlists your subscribers have built on your website.
Replace this customized content with copy and images of suggested wishlist items for your subscribers who haven’t created a wishlist (or copy inviting them to start their wishlist now).
Clothing retailer Mango goes for the feels in this “Don’t miss out on your Wishlist” newsletter, encouraging subscribers to trust their feelings and buy what they like. To appeal to a wider audience, the email’s hero image is a GIF that shows several different products and wearers.
In a twist on the basic wishlist reminder, Adore Beauty offers loyalty members a chance to enter to win their wishlist. The promotion was part of a “Days of Christmas” series, too.
- “What’s hot” updates. Word of mouth and social proof are powerful motivators. Help your subscribers feel confident that the gifts they choose will bring joy to the recipients with newsletter content that reveals what other shoppers are buying. Combine a “Top sellers” list with reviews and customer testimonials for extra social proof oomph.
Storyenvy’s newsletter template automatically updates with the week’s top sellers. The header banner and CTA invite subscribers to view the goods that are “Breaking the internet.”
Everlane keeps it simple, listing its top five best-selling clothing items for men in an email that makes it easy for customers to buy gifts with confidence. Pricing information and a customer testimonial complete each listing.
Put Me in the Story’s list of top sellers tells its own colorful story displaying the brand’s products to full advantage.
- Post-holiday sales alerts. Send these messages as part of your Christmas newsletter series on or after Thanksgiving and again on or after Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Keep the shopping momentum going with teasers and updates that leave them wanting more (of your great deals and merchandise).
For shoppers who missed the BFCM sales, Titan clothing gives them a second chance in mid-December with an overstock sales announcement. The brand eases shoppers’ budget concerns by promoting its buy now, pay later option at the bottom of the email.
Pillowtalk offers subscribers a preview of its after-Christmas Boxing Day sales offers in this email sent a few days before Christmas. The message also touts the brand’s eGift cards, a giveaway contest for purchasers and tells subscribers about its donation program.
Editorial and informational content ideas to fill your Christmas newsletters
Keep your subscribers engaged, entertained, and loyal to your brand with Christmas newsletter content that gives without asking (or gives alongside asking). Even though getting a good deal will be on the minds of many consumers this holiday shopping season, issues like values alignment and sustainability are still key conversion drivers.
Include editorial or informational content in your Christmas newsletters to let your brand’s personality shine and strengthen your relationship with your subscribers.
Finally, cap of your Christmas email content calendar with some seasonal greetings and holiday notes
- Share your sensational seasonal content with your email subscribers. If your brand creates special landing pages and visuals just for the holiday season, maximize the reach of those assets by sharing them in your holiday newsletter. This is an excellent strategy for encouraging more views (and shares) of your best video content.
Beauty brand Guerlain’s newsletter invites opens with the subject line, “Holiday Gifts You’ll Love.” The email is topped with an animated GIF showing an excerpt from the full “Fly to the Stars” video.
The full 2-minute video is hosted on a themed-landing page that combines entertainment with commerce by encouraging visitors to shop the featured products.
- Company mission and values statement. Before consumers decide where to spend their holiday dollars, take a moment to remind them of how your company’s values align with theirs. You can accomplish this with a mission-focused informational newsletter and by adding values-based language to your promotional and other newsletter copy.
The email pictured below is an example of this combo approach.
Clothing resale brand Thrilling Mission wants to make a sale as evidenced by the prominent “Shop Now” CTAs in its newsletter. But the message of this email is about how the brand and its customers support sustainability.
Australian-based Factorie sent subscribers a recap of the brand’s activities and thanked them for doing good in an end-of-year “Good Report” describing the brand’s efforts to improve fashion sustainability.
- News about your brand community. Sharing news about what engaged customers and brand advocates are doing and how they use your products is a clever strategy for any time of year. Incorporating testimonials, user photos and videos, and sharing updates about charitable initiatives, crowdsourced product ideas and similar content enhances subscribers’ sense of community and belonging. Plus the content is another way to introduce social proof to your audience.
- Product FAQs and guides. This type of content can reassure hesitant shoppers or onboard new purchasers. Examples of post-purchase FAQs might include care instructions or tips for accessories or coordinating items to purchase. Product guides are a great tool for helping consumers choose between several options and find the item that is the best fit for their needs.
- Shopping and service FAQs. This holiday season especially, your subscribers want to know exactly what they’ll get for their money. They’re also looking to maximize convenience. Explain your brand’s payment, financing, return and delivery options in a Christmas newsletter that eases any doubts your subscribers have about the value of shopping with you.
- Curated news, editorials and expert advice. What people are buying? How to style your new accessories? What’s trending in your industry around the globe? Your predictions for the future. These are great ways to deliver useful information to your subscribers and establish your brand as a trusted, knowledgeable source.
Philosophie sent subscribers a super holiday newsletter filled with superfood holiday recipes, adding value and encouraging purchases of Philosophie food ingredients.
Along with sharing recipes, Philosophie took the opportunity to promote a limited-quantity product bundle to capture those last-minute Christmas conversions in its holiday newsletter.
Petcube offers its subscribers value with a guide to pet-proofing their Christmas tree in a timely seasonal newsletter. Engagement is built-in, as subscribers have to click-through to view the full guide.
- Customer appreciation and season’s greetings messages. Say thank you, send your subscribers a gift, an entertaining interactive game or just extend your warm wishes for the holiday season. Christmas is the perfect time to tell your subscribers and customers that you don’t take them for granted.
Below, DefenAge Skincare’s Happy Holidays message doesn’t overwhelm subscribers with promotions and persuasive appeals. Script fonts in the hero image graphic give the message a sophisticated, personal feel. Meanwhile, the message’s header provides navigational links to ensure subscribers interested in shopping can find their way easily.
DefenAge’s holiday greeting email keeps the brand’s products front and center by including them in an attractive, festive graphic.
Childrens’ gift seller Wonderbly sent a charming greeting to its subscribers letting them know gifts were shipping at a normal pace and inviting them to tap to reveal a special holiday treat. The subject line for this message, “Knock, knock…”, stimulates curiosity.
💌Now, let me take a moment to express my gratitude to the amazing people at ReallyGoodEmails.com and Milled.com. I found many of the examples of inspiring Christmas newsletters included in this article on these websites.
Wrapping things up for our 2022 Christmas newsletter email marketing guide
As you probably noticed, every brand approaches the Christmas season differently. Some keep their designs simple and true to their brand’s style, while others infuse their templates with Christmas colors and graphics.
Choosing the topics and design of your December newsletters begins with identifying your objectives and knowing your audience. This year’s consumers are looking for value and convenience. But they also expect brands to be purpose-driven and communicate with empathy.
Are you ready to add some Christmas cheer to your newsletter templates? Make sure your messages capture your subscribers’ attention in the inbox with the tips from The Complete Guide for Fantastic Email Subject Lines.
Happy holidays from the team at Ongage!