How To
6 min read

How to Write Holiday Sale Emails That Get Opened, Read, & Convert!

Karen Le
November 20, 2022


T’is the season to be jolly (with your holiday sale email marketing strategy).

Email is a powerful tool that helps you communicate and stay connected to your customers—all while driving sales. 

According to Wordstream, customers are 138% more likely to purchase products through email than those that do not receive email offers.

Customers receive direct access via email to the latest news from your company, your products or services, and any promotions that are currently happening.


In this guide, we will be covering the best practices to write a holiday email subject line, the best holiday email subject line examples, and key terms to include.

Best practices for writing a holiday sale email subject line

Add some holiday cheer/slogans

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Merry marketing.

Spice up your emails with holiday cheer and get into the holiday spirit by sharing your excitement with your audience. 

According to eMarketer, email marketing is a top marketing channel for customer acquisition and retention.

So, why not try to find unique ways to grab your customer’s attention? With holidays in mind, this means producing and sharing relevant content about the holiday itself. 

Urgency and FOMO

Nobody wants to feel left out. 

Driving urgency and activating customers ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO) can lead them to take time-sensitive action.

69& of millennials experience FOMO. In a study, 60% of millennials make reactive purchases due to this feeling. 

However, do your due diligence and use FOMO marketing responsibly, as it can trigger negative emotions.

In fact, a study from Citizen Relations found that FOMO can trigger negative emotions such as jealousy, envy, sadness, and disappointment.

Drip suggests that you can use FOMO ethically by showing:

  • how your product is in demand
  • noting that your offer won’t last
  • tracking how many people are purchasing your products
  • leveraging testimonials
  • offering limited-time free shipping

Add classic references

Classic references are part of the formula to building familiarity with your brand. People like connecting over shared cultural knowledge and experiences.

You can find these references in pop culture through r classic stories, movies, television shows, books, and music.

Promote your offer

Have you heard the saying, “ask, and you shall receive?”

Promoting your offers is a great way to let people know what you are offering. Email is a great way to do this, as your audience will directly receive this message in their email inbox.

Since there are limited characters you can use to grab your customer’s attention, why not share what the promotion is in the subject line?

Get creative with emojis


Share your brand’s personality and make it fun using emojis. Emojis are one of the contributing factors to higher open rates. It’s a great way to stand out from a list of emails as it draws attention through that pop of color and design element.

Image Source: Omnisend 

Have fun with the process and choose the emoji based on the holiday, your brand, and the subject of your email. Just be sure to understand what the emoji is and what it stands for before sending it out to your email subscribers.

Power up with action verbs

Keep your email short and to the point. With power words like action verbs, you can spark and encourage customers to take action.

Decisive action verbs you can include are:

  • Inspire
  • Buy
  • Learn
  • Enjoy 
  • Discover
  • Get

Keep the subject line brief

Make your message short and sweet. With so much information flooding people’s inboxes, sometimes less is more. 

Imagine putting all your time and effort into producing a killer email and no one ends up reading it.

You don’t want that. 

You can only fit so many words on a small screen. Try to keep your subject line under 40 characters. 

Also, include any keywords in your email subject line to help grab the reader’s attention. Sometimes, one or two keywords is all it takes for someone to open your email. 

Proofread it properly

Proofreading your work keeps your messaging professional. 

There are tools such as Grammarly and Hemingway that can be used to help you proofread your work.

You can also proofread by reading your copy aloud and reviewing it more than once. Sometimes, you will catch edits you would not have seen if you had only read it in your head.

You don’t want a mistake sent out to thousands of people. 

Don’t use “no-reply” email addresses

A no-reply email address is used to send marketing emails and is not intended to receive incoming emails.

According to MailPoet, a no-reply email address can harm your email delivery and open rates. Many users cannot add your email to their address book, which increases your chance of being marked as spam and blocks a relationship from forming.

Use an email that lets people respond, build a positive perception of your brand, and establish a connection to you! 

Get punny

Is your brand quirky? If so, adding puns is a great way to connect and grab your audience’s attention. 

Including puns is also a great way to have fun and speak to your customer as if you are having a direct, in-person conversation with them.

You don’t need to formalize all your emails, especially if your brand evokes a vibrant personality. 

Best email subject lines by holidays

You might be wondering what the best holiday email subject line to use is. It depends on what message you want to send and what goal or metric you are aiming to achieve. We will be going through various examples of holiday email subject lines below. 

For Halloween

Image Source: Really Good Emails

Example: Halloween reference, short subject line

Brand: Lush 

Subject line: Need to calm a sugar high?

Why it works: They did a great job with this subject line as they mention a Halloween reference from the “sugar high” associated with trick or treating. Lush links relaxing and soothing products that balances all the Halloween fun. 

For Christmas

Image Source: Really Good Emails 

Example: Urgency and FOMO

Brand: Moment

Subject line: Final Day: 2-Day Shipping 

Why does this subject line work: Moment pushes a friendly reminder to the customer that a specific promotion is ending soon. The subject line is clear and simple by providing a deadline. It plants a thought into the prospect to consider whether they would like to move forward with the buying decision.

For Thanksgiving

Image Source: Really Good Emails

Example: Use of emoji, Thanksgiving reference

Brand: Uber

Subject line: Flying to the feast? ✈️

Why it works: This subject line works as it sparks curiosity by asking a question. Someone traveling will most likely open the email to find more information, especially if they were considering using an Uber anyway. 

Uber uses an airplane emoji which further helps them stand out in the reader’s inbox.

4th of July

Image Source: Really Good Emails

Example: Promotion

Brand: Overflow

Subject line: Celebrate the 4th of July early with 20% OFF on Overflow annual plans.

Why it works: This subject line is direct about what it wants to promote, what the promotion is, and gives the reader easy access to the promotion once they open the email.

For Black Friday

Image Source: Really Good Emails

Example: Promotion, urgency and FOMO

Brand: Brewbike

Subject line: ⌛️LAST CALL: Shop Black Friday Early

Why it works: This subject line employs a strategic hourglass emoji, visualizing that time is limited and running out. 

According to Boomerang, “Emails with all caps subjects get less replies and are more likely to be marked as spam”. But, strategically capitalizing part of your subject line can be effective.

“LAST CALL” in this example indicates urgency for the reader. It directs their attention immediately along with the emoji, emphasizing how the reader needs to take action as soon as possible. 

For Cyber Monday

Image Source: Really Good Emails

Example: Short subject line

Brand: Veil

Subject line: It Ain’t Over Yet

Why it works: This subject line works because it sends a kind reminder to customers that it isn’t too late to purchase their products. This is directed towards those who might have forgotten about the sale or previously considered purchasing. 

The messaging is casual and simple. You don’t need to overcomplicate your messaging to get your point across.

For New Year’s

Image Source: Really Good Emails

Example: Short subject line

Brand: Everyday Oil

Subject line: ***whispers*** happy new year :)

Why it works: This subject line alludes to what is inside the email. You get a sense of the mood and tone with the asterisks and action of whispering. 

For Small Business Saturday

Image Source: Really Good Emails

Example: Punny

Brand: Tattly

Subject line: ❤️ Small Business Taturday

Why it works: Plain and simple, this subject line is punny. The name of the brand is Tattly, and they incorporated it into the word Saturday to wish their customers a happy Small Business Saturday. It’s quirky and works well with the personality of the brand.

For Hanukkah

Image Source: Really Good Emails

Example: Use of emoji and short subject line

Brand: AfterShokz

Subject line: Happy Hanukkah To All Who Celebrate! ​​🕎

Why it works: This offers a message targeted toward their customers who celebrate Hanukkah. Think of using the holidays as your virtual e-card where you can share your appreciation. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to send an email.

General Holiday

Image Source: Really Good Emails

Example: Use of action verb and solution

Brand: Hawthorne 

Subject line: So you procrastinated… (we got you)

Why it works: Gift giving is one component of the holiday season. It can feel overwhelming for those needing a last-minute gift to decide what to purchase. This subject line makes it seem like you are talking directly to one person and opening the opportunity for them to consider your product for their loved ones. 

Cold Weather

Image Source: Really Good Emails

Example: Short subject line 

Brand: The North Face

Subject line: Insulated jackets for cold-weather exploring

Why it works: Their subject line works well for outdoor adventurers who want to go outside for cold-weather exploring. It’s simple, to-the-point, and lets customers know what to expect when opening the email. They allude to the fact that there may be new apparel available or share current offerings of jackets to help customers stay warms.

Valentine’s Day

Image Source: Really Good Emails 

Example: Valentine’s Day reference, short subject line

Brand: Disney+

Subject line: Can you stream the love tonight? 

Why it works: This subject line works as Disney+ is a video streaming service. They use Valentine’s references and share romance-themed movies to make it easy for the reader to consider using their service, while giving them ideas on which movies are perfect for Valentine’s Day.

Key terms to add to your holiday email subject lines

Power words such as, “get,” “don’t miss,” “last call,” etc., that are included in the subject line lead to higher open rates.

Omnisend shares popular words used in holiday email subject lines including “off,” “sale,” “new,” “Christmas,” and “free.”

Share keywords that help the customer visualize and understand what type of value they are receiving by opening your email.


Ultimately, email subject lines can help boost your holiday sales through the use of clever copy. Try to keep in mind the best practices and examples we covered, and tailor your marketing strategy to your specific business.

Remember, with any new marketing strategy, there is always a testing period to gauge performance and any adjustments that need to be made along the way.

Don’t get discouraged!

Are you looking for further help in crafting an effective email subject line? has a free email subject line generator to support you in creating compelling copy that converts.

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