‘Twas the month of December,
And all through the land,
Holiday emails were sending,
Just as those marketers planned.

Businesses of all sizes
Offered a holiday deal.
Overwhelmed with ideas?
We know how you feel.

So to be noticed among the competition,
And get to the top,
Take a hint from these emails,
They’re the cream of the crop.

Now that you’ve enjoyed our prose, we wanted to share some of the best holiday email designs and deals we’ve seen so far. Take a look at the examples below and use them to get inspired.


Subject line: The Clock is On

Shop49ers.com sent out this minimalist email late in the afternoon on Cyber Monday (Dec. 2nd). The clock in the center of the email is actually an animated .gif file in which the minute hand of the clock continually ticks away. The ticking clock and the bold, “Final Hours to Save” instill recipients with a sense of urgency. On a day when most customers were likely bombarded with emails and Cyber Monday deals, Shop49ers.com kept the email simple while reminding their customers late in the day to take advantage of the deal while they still had a chance. This style of email would work well for any short-term offer.

J. Crew Factory 

Subject line: At work? Don’t open this email.

J. Crew Factory sent out this very clever email in mid-November. The power of this email starts with the subject line by taking advantage of our natural curiosity. When told not to open the email if we’re at work, the first thing most of us want to do is open the email. Once opened, we saw the first line ,”Couldn’t Help Yourself?” We know we haven’t done anything wrong in opening the email, but they continue the theme of encouraging “bad behavior” by telling you to take advantage of their sale by skipping your 11:30 meeting. Additionally, the code is another layer in this theme using the promo code “SNEAKY” to get 40% off.

The marketers at J. Crew Factory know this time of year lots of people are shopping online during the week at work. 11:3 am is likely a busy time as people are finishing up morning work and getting ready for lunch.The brilliance of this email lies in its commitment to the theme of sneaking a little personal shopping in on company time. And, although most offices probably wouldn’t frown upon you taking a few minutes to buy some J. Crew items online, they’ve taken a relatively accepted practice in modern day office culture and turned it taboo. The email also comes off as very laid back and personal as if a co-worker is telling you about a secret sale rather than a professional marketer. This is undoubtedly one of the most fun and clever emails of this holiday season. Our Santa hats are off to you J. Crew Factory.


Subject Line: What IS the perfect holiday gift?

This email from the charitable organization, JustGive.org is another great example of a catchy subject line followed by a visually capturing email. By asking “What IS the perfect holiday gift?” the writer creates curiosity in the mind of the reader. Once a recipient opens the email, they’re greeted with an adorable image, well placed call to action buttons, and the concept of giving the perfect gift, i.e., bringing joy to others in the form of a donation. The first “Donate Now” button is at the top of the email so people understand what the email is immediately asking of them. There are also three short columns, each with varying buttons that offer more information and choices on how to donate or explore donation options.




Okay, so this email was technically sent during the summer, but its message is about being prepared for the holiday season, and once again, it’s the subject line that pulls you in immediately. Getting a Christmas email mid-July asking you not to open it for 5 months is instantly enticing. The point of the email is to show that getting ready for the holiday rush takes time and testing. So, if you actually do what the subject line says, you’re going to be behind.


Getting creative in your holiday emails is important in order for your email and message to stand out among the crowded field of sales, deals and announcements being sent out this time of year.

Let us know some of your favorite emails you’ve seen this holiday season, and what ideas you’ve come up to capture your customers’ attention.

© 2013 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

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