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Looking for inspiration for your last-minute holiday campaigns? In this round-up, we’ve picked 10 recent emails and outlined the techniques that have made them our team’s favorites this year.

Find a design that will spark ideas for your final campaign of 2013, or scan through our take home tips for some new ideas to apply in 2014!



If you’re planning to make “more exercise” one of your New Year’s resolutions, then you should probably get yourself subscribed to newsletters from Fitbit. The promotional campaigns for their fitness tracking devices are just as stylized as the devices themselves, with bold use of color, clear call-to-actions and of course, a well-timed reminder to get your shopping done early!

Take home tips

  • Make your call-to-action first and foremost – it has to be unmissable when the email is opened.
  • Try using web fonts instead of images to keep your email design on-brand
  • Add urgency – copy like, “while supplies last!” can be just the motivation subscribers need to take action.

Suissa Messer

Suissa Messer

Have a holiday message to send? Justin Suissa and Andrea Messer are keen to hear from you. Although this is the sort of message that is best sent to clients well before the year’s end (this was actually sent in early October), it’s the kind of campaign that should be an essential part of any designer or agency’s marketing plan. The responsive, one-column layout, web fonts, and glowing call-to-action buttons made this campaign particularly attractive – and reflect well on SuissaMesser’s understanding of what works in email.

Take home tips

  • Plan your holiday campaigns as early as October! Not everyone outlines their marketing strategy (or does their Christmas shopping) at the last minute.
  • Your email is your brand. If offering design services, you ideally want to send something that reflects what you offer. In this example, SuissaMesser sent an email that looks like a holiday card and makes the most of responsive techniques to demonstrate how they can “broadcast your message to all major smartphones and email clients.”




This freewheeling email invitation from Canadian design agency FREE shows that they don’t do anything by halves – especially when it comes to their parties. The use of imagery and type is spot on and well, with a testimonial like the one they’ve featured, a good night is most certainly guaranteed. A special mention goes to their use of Google Web Fonts, instead of images for headings and other elements, making them readable when images are blocked in the inbox.

Take home tips

  • Use web-text wherever possible, even on headings! It looks cleaner than using images, dates and times can be used to create calendar events on the subscriber’s device and your emails will be quick to load and read.
  • Have fun with copy and color. You can generally get away with more entertaining campaign ideas during the “silly season.”

Simon Johnson

Simon Johnson

We couldn’t pass up on featuring an email campaign that was fit for foodies and this list of gift ideas from Simon Johnson sure made the cut. In addition to striking a good balance between text and images, the campaign is also responsive – on small displays, the 2-column layout gracefully adapts to a single column, for easy reading and navigation. The lovely use of type is the garnish on a campaign that should help a lot of their customers fill their stockings this Christmas.

Take home tips

  • Use images to reinforce your messaging, but web text to tell the story. If you anticipate images being blocked in the inbox, your email campaign will still be effective in worst-case scenarios.
  • Using responsive techniques to adapt two-column layouts to one on mobile devices makes for a comfortable reading experience on any device.



The holiday season doesn’t just have to be about exchanging trinkets – it’s also a great time to make a real difference to lives worldwide. This campaign for Lifewater, as designed by email engine, has a lot of appeal to readers. Not only does it make good use of imagery, but in using a preview image linking through to the video, they’ve also avoided many of the pitfalls that come with embedding video in email. Overall, a great email newsletter for a great cause.

Take home tips

  • Videos are very effective way to convey a story, but they generally shouldn’t be embedded in email. Instead, feature a preview image and link back to your site – or use a service like Wistia to look after generating images, hosting and reporting.
  • One trend we’ve seen is the sending of email cards – instead of paper ones – to clients, then having the money saved on postage donated to a charity. Your generosity won’t go unappreciated by both your clients and the cause you support!

The Learning People

The Learning People

Picking up a new skill or making a career change is likely on many a wish list for 2014 – and that’s what The Learning People are here to help with. While there’s quite a bit going on in this campaign, the responsive email layout, animated buttons and smooth snow effect certainly make this a campaign to linger over. Go ahead, find out more.

Take home tips

A spinkling of CSS3 animation can add visual interest to a campaign, but don’t let it distract subscribers from what you have to say in the email.



Sometimes all it takes is a cool illustration and copy to win us over… and a little bit of responsive email design know-how. This campaign from Interuptive has all of these qualities and is sure to give clients a good giggle. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the team is letting everyone know that they’ll be away from their desks for a short break, too.

Take home tips

Keep your message short and lively – you don’t have to send essays in every email. For informal campaigns like this one, think about what you can add to make your clients smile!


Writable, by HumanWrit.es

While we all love artfully-made stationery, gifts that keep on giving, like the Writable by HumanWrit.es, are in a class of their own. This email campaign has a clear, succinct message – you purchase a Writable and HumanWrite.es contributes workbooks to 10 students in South Africa. The call-to-action is just as straightforward, as is reading and navigation of the one-column layout. Extra props go to the inclusion of a permission reminder, which is just the finishing touch to a feel-good campaign.

Take home tips

  • A one-column layout makes for easy reading in any email client, regardless of whether you use responsive techniques.
  • Don’t forget to add links to both your images and text! If your call-to-action is in an image, it pays to have a link in text for instances where images are turned off.


Enigma Marketing

Quite simply, this campaign from Enigma is unmissable in the inbox. The bright green background, bespoke image, and positive message all contribute to a campaign that reflects well on the work of this UK-based creative agency. The use of responsive techniques to ensure this campaign looks great on mobile devices is certainly worth popping the champagne over – more of this, please!

Take home tips

  • Buck the trend towards black or white backgrounds – use bright colors to stand out!
  • Your unsubscribe message can be informal, too – it doesn’t hurt to take Enigma’s lead and use something like their “never hear from us again (which would make us sad)” line!

BML Creative


It wouldn’t be the holiday season without a good animated campaign. This festive number from BML Creative is simple enough – really, end-of-year campaigns don’t have to be showy or complex. However, the flashing details and surprisingly low email payload (only 38kb for the 45 frame GIF) make it not only an attention-getting campaign but one that’s quick to download, too.

Take home tips

  • Animated GIFs are an email marketer’s friend. Try using them to demonstrate tasks (like how to place an order), attract attention, add humor or video-like effects to your campaigns. Just be careful that you keep your file sizes below 50 – 100kb for zippy load times!
  • You don’t have to create email campaigns from scratch every time. A versatile template like this one can just be easily adapted for corporate announcements as holiday campaigns.

Many thanks to everyone sending their campaigns with us this year – we really can’t wait to see what you come up with in the new year and beyond. And if you have a holiday campaign that you’re particularly proud of, let us know.

  • Robert

    Would be great if you could cover something similar on subject lines and possibly even add in the subject lines used for these! Great piece though. Thanks!

  • Ros Hodgekiss

    Good call, Robert – we’ll see if we can add subject lines to future round-ups. Glad you enjoyed this one!

  • Jimmy

    That animated gif on The Laerning People’s email is hypnotising! love it.

  • Steve

    Subject Lines info graphic: https://litmus.com/blog/how-to-write-the-perfect-subject-line-infographic

    Hope this helps–you guys rock.

  • Patrice Albertus

    Something a little more inspiring than Apple’s one !

  • Claire

    I agree with Jimmy, the animated gif on The Laerning People’s email is really amazing.

  • Nathaniel

    Have the same idea with you, Jimmy!!!

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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