4 Ways To Master Your Holiday Email Templates in 2019


I bet that, apart from kids, ecommerce retailers are the only ones on planet Earth who wait for Christmas the most. And when it finally comes, your email campaigns may make or break your holiday success.

One of the biggest challenges is to find a design solution for all promotional material, including emails, that would entirely be in line with your brand, the holidays, and don’t look exactly like last year’s campaigns.

Does this challenge sound familiar?

Ten strong brands nail holiday campaigns every year, with unique promotions that keep their customers on the edge of their seats, and these are the brands we’ve pulled for examples. Keep reading to find a few different approaches to how you can build simple yet effective designs for your holiday email templates.

So let’s dive in and learn from the best.

1. Defining The Purpose Of The Email Campaign

Before building any email, you should specify the main idea of it. What do you want to say to your audience? What kind of products/collections to introduce? What do you want them to do? Is it a brand/product/offer -oriented campaign?

Based on that, you can better choose a layout for your email.

For example, for introducing a new product or a special offer, it’s better to use a bold, central image and CTA button.

For introducing a new collection – an email layout with product listing will better showcase more products at once.

Regarding the best places to find holiday email templates, there are tons of them in marketplaces.

However, and this will probably surprise you, there is no actual need for any “special” holiday template. The best option for holiday emails is regular in-house templates offered by your email service provider. The ones that you usually use for your casual campaigns.

And there are a few reasons why I say that.

  1. It’s easier to recognize you from your regular email structure.
  2. Your holiday email is in line with your brand identity.
  3. This way is much safer and quicker for you as a sender. If you use an alien template, none of ESP’s will guarantee that your customers will see the email equally well on their devices. If you use outsourced email templates, you should overtake the testing them on different devices.

More about picking the right email layout and its critical elements, read here: 18 Newsletter Templates and Tips on Performance

2. Four Ways To Create A Holiday Mood In Your Email

If you have an initial understanding, what you want to achieve with your email, the next step is email design.

You have to decide whether you need to organize a holiday photoshoot this year, or if you are more keen on using typography and other email elements to convey the holiday mood.

After analyzing a bunch of promotional holiday newsletters, it seems that ecommerce brands create these emails by using four different approaches:

  1. Brands combine holiday-themed photos of their products with simple, minimalistic email structure, and design.
  2. Brands use their regular templates with regular layouts, only add small design tweaks that make emails look festive.
  3. Brands use their usual email templates but include products from the holiday collection and that’s how they give their emails a holiday feel.
  4. Brands take their regular templates and include there a simple postcard with a clear message.

All of these ways are equally good and can be combined during the whole holiday season.

Now let’s see some examples of how these emails look in real life and how they differ.

3. 10 Examples Of Holiday Emails


Snowe is a DTC brand selling tableware.

In this Thanksgiving campaign, the brand uses a dedicated photoshoot that emphasizes the table, tableware, and the emotion of real people sitting there. Those arms and bodies with cropped faces might be yours – you can easily imagine being there, sitting behind that beautiful dining table.

As you can see, this email template is simple, and clean, without any special holiday attributes in the design. The photos play the leading role in this campaign. Technically, it seems the same as all Snowe email campaigns, only this time it holds that special holiday emotion and shows-off what a beautiful festive table can be this year.


#2. 24S.com

Look at another example of a simple holiday email that uses an ordinary layout and creates a mood with photos of products.

The photos look like magic at first sight. But looking closer, this company uses a glittering background and shows-off its random products that they suggest you for upcoming holiday occasions.

I love this email. It looks simple yet luxurious.


#3. Bellroy

Take a look at the email that Bellroy sent me the other day.

This Australian DTC brand sells carry goods, like wallets, bags, pouches, etc.

The particular email below looks very similar to previous ones sent by this brand. However, this one is the holiday email and conveys a holiday mood very well.

How did they do that?

They used a thoughtful heading photo with ribbons and hands (might be yours, again, like Snowe) and red accents all over the email that, first of all, nicely stand out from the white and aquamarine backgrounds. Secondly, red is Christmas color.

So with this email, Bellroy stays true to its style and layout but small design tweaks make the email look festive.


#4. Gap

Now, look at how small golden design details like a border, a chair, some golden letters, made Gap’s email look festive.
The rest is a simple, minimalistic email layout with quality photos and some copy introducing the products.

Pay attention to the logo that has its Christmas edition – it’s become golden. Some tasteful holiday tweaks with your logo might be an idea to steal!


#5. Nordstrom

This brand designs and sends extraordinary email campaigns that we can learn a lot from.

Take a look at a sequence of promotional holiday emails from the last years.

nordstrom-holiday-emails copy

Elegant, simple email layouts are filled with products that aren’t occasional or have winter-patterns. But again, as in the previous examples, we can see delicate red borders and some other red motives throughout the email. These details make Nordstrom emails look like tasteful holiday emails.

#6. Lego

Look how well-known Lego promotes season products and takes the third approach from mentioned above.

This brand saves the same email structure as always but uses a lot of red and introduces Christmas collection. Reindeers and Christmas trees are precisely what’s needed.

Can you feel Christmas in the air?


#7. George Hats

This is an example of the same email design approach but they sell different things. George Hats is a brand that offers cool hats for babies.

Their one of the holiday emails contains a bunch of high-quality photos of cute toddlers wearing winter-patterned hats. The short copy emphasizes limited edition truckers and invites subscribers to join the VIP club. Simple as that. See the email below.


If you like this idea, consider using photo mosaics to layout images. You will be able to showcase more products and the email design won’t be so stretched.

See below an email template with implemented mosaic:


#8. Diesel

The conceptual example of a holiday email sent by Diesel a few years ago is quite interesting. Although this email is quite old already, I find it somehow thrilling and want to share it with you.

Diesel is a bold brand. Bold brands stay true to themselves and use bold communication. See below of what I’m talking about. Also, pay attention to how well they put the focus on “GIFTS” in the menu bar.


#9 She Simply Shops

The last two examples of holiday emails that I have to you this time look more like postcards.

The primary purpose of them is to thank and to show appreciation to your customers. However, you shouldn’t forget to include links to your store.

Look how She Simply Shops brand expresses its warm feelings to the customers. It’s a usual brand’s email template with the logo, same menu bar, and the footer at the bottom. The only thing that differs is the email body.

I like that even an abstract Christmas-themed photo gains meaning in the right context.


#10 Avenue 32

The last example today comes from Avenue 32. A clean and elegant postcard with a Christmas tree and best wishes from the company team.

However, they used the same trick as Diesel and highlighted “Sale” in the menu bar. And, of course, they didn’t forget to use their company style and include the most important attributes.

See the email below:


Wrap Up

It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with tasks during the Christmas rush. Don’t complicate it even more by searching for the perfect standalone holiday email template.

Find a beautiful holiday accent (be it a color, a photo, or a decorative border) that would fit your brand and add it to your emails as well as other digital marketing assets. It will look natural and won’t overshadow your brand.

This article was originally published by our friends at Omnisend.

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Steve has entrepreneurship in his DNA. Starting in the early 2000s, Steve achieved eBay Power Seller status which propelled him to become a founding partner of VisionPros.com, a contact lens and eyewear retailer. Four years later through a successful exit from that startup, he embarked on his next journey into digital strategy for direct-to-consumer brands.

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