Email best practices

125 Christmas email subject lines and ideas for your next festive-filled campaign

Feel like your creative juices aren’t quite dashing through the snow this year? Not to worry, we’ve come up with 100+ Christmas subject line ideas to give you a very, merry, helping hand.

Greek god and goddess carrying a Christmas tree



Inbox competition is fierce all year round, but the holiday shopping season is arguably the most competitive as more and more companies vie for customers’ attention.

The good news? Although people are incredibly busy this time of year – Christmas shopping, going to parties, spending time with family, etc. – open rates still remain strong. In one study, open rates on Christmas Eve and Christmas day were actually higher than the rest of December, with the exception of emails with subject lines that mentioned “Santa” – we’ll get to that later.

Doesn’t it sound promising? If you invest some time to create must-open Christmas subject lines, your efforts should pay off, resulting in higher conversions and a very merry Christmas for you and your team.

If you’re wondering where to start, don’t worry. We’re here to help.

Key elements of great Holiday email subject lines

There are certain strategies for writing high-open subject lines that have stood the test of time, becoming a critical part of any Christmas email marketing strategy. This is true for all campaigns, as well as for other holidays like Halloween.

While not every subject line can, or should, use all these strategies, the more often you can utilize one or more in the subject lines you create, the more successful your campaign will be.

Let’s run through five elements that you should try including in your email subject lines:

Harness the fear of missing out (FOMO)

Is there anything worse than missing out on something? Even if it’s something you weren’t terribly fussed about in the first place? Well strangely enough, we’d argue the sense of fear of missing out is.

It’s an extremely powerful emotion and drives us to make decisions we otherwise wouldn’t make.

By creating a sense of urgency in your Christmas newsletter you can often encourage typically dormant subscribers to act. It’s an especially effective tactic around the holiday season, too: There are natural deadlines and dates that are fixed, so no one feels manipulated by marketing that uses them to increase urgency. You must buy your presents before Christmas gets here – there's just no other way around it.

Here are some subject line examples using urgency and FOMO:

  • Christmas discount ends this Friday at 8pm

  • Only 28 gadgets left to stuff those stockings

  • Every grandparent’s favorite gift idea this year

  • Your holiday feast isn’t complete without this

Notice how the grandparent subject line is personalized to a particular audience, and appeals to the desire to stay trendy, which is a form of FOMO. This is one example of how you can blend more than one of these five elements into a single subject line.

And if you want to increase your post-Christmas sales, you can use urgency the week between Christmas and the New Year, too.

Feature emojis

There are holiday-specific emojis you can use to break up the barrage of text that usually comprises email subject lines. Your Christmas emojis will get attention and hopefully introduce some fun and humor into your subscribers’ inboxes.

You probably don’t want to use emojis in every holiday email you send. But this is the best time of year to get away with using these silly images, even if they don’t directly relate to your brand. Here’s more about using emojis in subject lines.

Personalize your subject lines

Personalization can mean using people’s names – something that draws attention to a subject line every time. However, it can also refer to location, previous purchases, category interests, dates someone started a membership, family demographics, and many other properties.

For example, for parents who bought gifts for their children at Christmas you could send an email on December 26th that says something like:

  • Kids hate their gifts? Exchange for something else by Dec 31

That email is personalized by family demographic and includes a sense of urgency (December 31). It’s also smart marketing because exchanging one gift for another is far better for you than having to refund a returned item. With personalization, the only caveat is to not take it so far that it feels a bit creepy.

Some other personalized Christmas email subject lines include:

  • 30% off – come to our [city] location by Dec 24 (personalized by location)

  • If they loved the [product] you gave them last year… (personalized by previous purchase)

  • [Name], a special Christmas gift guide for you (personalized by name)

Be succinct

Only so many characters in your subject lines will show up in the subscriber’s inbox. The number of visible characters varies by the email client, device type, and other factors. So, it’s best to keep your subject lines short (61-70 characters, ideally).

An example Christmas newsletter from Refy

An example of a succinct subject line from Refy

However, that’s just a benchmark figure – for best results you’ll need to A/B test your subscriber list consistently over a period of time. Also, if you write a pre-header – which you should – that will give additional space for content in your inbox messaging.

But if you want a general rule to follow, try to keep your email subject lines under 10 words. Under eight is even better. If you go longer every now and then, that’s fine. Sometimes, just seeing the first part of a subject line arouses enough curiosity and FOMO that recipients will open to see what’s inside.

For example, what if you saw this in your inbox?

  • Uh oh – Barcelona and Madrid in the same

Isn’t your curiosity peaked? Barcelona and Madrid are in the same what? We think most recipients would open this email to find out, wouldn’t you?

All that said, it’s best to write subject lines that are short and succinct enough that the full expression will show up in the majority of inboxes.

Most of the previous examples demonstrate succinct subject lines. Here are a few more:

  • Christmas sale ends in 2 days

  • Got your gifts yet?

  • Hot and fresh holiday treats – won’t last long

  • Did you know Christmas is next week?

  • Flash Christmas sale – 30% off today only

  • Gifts they’ll actually like

  • Has Christmas ever been this delicious?

A/B test up to 10 Christmas email subject lines with Mailjet

Create and send your Christmas newsletter with Mailjet. Benefit from our gallery of holiday templates, an intuitive drag-and-drop Email Editor, advanced marketing features, and great email deliverability.

Use numbers

Numbers work because they’re specific. The previous example about 28 gadgets being left in inventory is a good demonstration of this. It’s the same with sale starts dates, costs, sale prices, discounts, and any other specific information you can put in the subject line.

These examples work because they lend credibility to the message, and they give the reader a clear picture of what’s going on. For example:

  • 6 days left until Christmas. Got your shopping done?

  • New customer holiday discount – now just $24 per month

  • 4367 people love this gift idea. See if you do too

  • 13 days of Christmas – come get a baker’s dozen

  • Season’s Greetings! Shop today for 30% off.

  • Buy gift cards and get 10% extra added to each one

Example Christmas newsletter from Levi’s

Notice how Levi’s use numbers in their subject line

Our post 56+ must-open email subject lines features more cases that use these components.

So, now that you have a handle on the basics of email subject line writing, let’s take a look at a few more examples.

Pro tip: As you implement your plan, make sure to pay attention to email deliverability. The holiday season often results in changes in email sending habits which can have knock-on deliverability consequences. Watch out for these common holiday deliverability mistakes.

108 Christmas subject lines that beg to be opened

From playful puns to heartwarming messages, we'll explore a host of other creative approaches that not only capture the spirit of the season but also leverage psychological triggers to increase open rates.

Funny Christmas subject lines

In a sea of predictable and formulaic marketing, you’ll get much more engagement if you can make your subscribers laugh a little.

And the humor doesn’t necessarily need to relate to the holiday season, even if the rest of the subject does. Here are a handful of Christmas-themed subject lines that you may or may not think are as funny as we do:

  • Give them a lump of coal, or give them this

  • You’re on the nice list…here’s a special offer for you

  • Got sled insurance?

  • Elves have to exercise – even if Santa Claus doesn’t

  • Frosty’s favorite ice cream flavor isn’t himself

  • Even Scrooge would be glad he opened this email

  • Fleece Navidad! Season's Fleecings from us to you!

  • The Grinch completed his purchase. Why didn’t you?

  • Christmas is about giving. So give me that 25% discount

  • Your tree may be fake, but these deals are very real

Merry Christmas subject lines

Earlier, we mentioned that using Santa in subject lines correlated with lower open rates. We can all come up with reasons that might be true, but data suggests that there are enough people who are “tired” of Santa that when they see his name in a subject line, it irks them more than it pleases them.

That said, Santa was in a funny subject line from the previous list. In that example, he was the butt of the joke, so it’s a safer bet that might appease the people who are done with Santa.

Still, here are some more general Christmas-themed subject lines:

  • Have a merry mocha Christmas

  • On your first merry Christmas as a newlywed…

  • [Name], enjoy early access to this year’s holiday short film

  • Tis the season to give back

  • Here’s what your Christmas tree wants under it

  • Merry Christmas from [company name]

  • A holiday note

  • Your Christmas wishes delivered

  • Oh what fun!

  • A little Christmas cheer

Example Christmas newsletter from Paria

See how cycling brand Paria use an Xmas themed subject line

Christmas Eve subject lines

Christmas is tomorrow and there are always a few last-minute stragglers who haven’t bought their gifts yet. Capitalize on their tardiness in your email subject lines with a dash of humor mixed with urgency.

Here are some examples you can use:

  • 11th-hour elegance – last-minute gifts that wow

  • On the bright side – we can wrap them for you too

  • This is your Christmas alarm clock – it’s tomorrow

  • We’re closed tomorrow. Because it’s Christmas.

  • Yes – we’re still open for last minute gift ideas!

  • It’s a wonderful life – if you buy your gifts before we close

  • It’s Christmas Eve – last chance to shop

  • You’re that guy. Christmas is tomorrow.

  • Okay, joke’s over. You’re getting them gifts right?

  • Last minute shopping special – extra 10% off today only

Boxing Day subject lines

Boxing Day is mostly celebrated in the UK, Australia, and other nations formerly part of the Commonwealth and comes the day after Christmas – unless that falls on a weekend, in which case it comes on the following Monday.

While the origins of Boxing Day are about giving gifts to the poor, or gifts to tradespeople who are part of your life, today it’s often a day to take advantage of some post-Christmas deals.

Here are a few Boxing Day email subject lines:

  • One day only – Boxing Day sale on select items

  • Save up to 40% before Boxing Day ends, starting….now!

  • What did they really want for Christmas? Get it on Boxing Day

  • This Boxing Day get more gifts – for yourself!

  • The deals you missed are back on Boxing Day

  • Boxing Day sale – first 100 shoppers get free gift

  • Boxing Day sale – Spend $100, save $50

  • Best Boxing Day deals ever

B2B Christmas subject lines

Business owners and employees generally like Christmas too, regardless of whether their business does anything different around the holiday season. Injecting holiday language into your B2B emails is just as smart as with any other audience.

Here are a few B2B subject lines, many of which were sent by actual companies:

  • Christmas Vacation is real when you hit your revenue goals

  • RightFont Christmas Sale is on!

  • What are you grateful for?

  • Database security wrapped up with a bow

  • The 2024 playbook for Q4 and holiday success

  • Stuff your own stockings with 2 cheap tix to SuperConference

  • On the fifth week of holiday marketing…

  • Unwrap these productivity tips

  • Tis the season for seamless collaboration

  • Business video holiday sale! Save up to 25%

  • Joy to the world of bigger profits

  • Christmas came early!

  • Forget white. Have a green Christmas – exceed your revenue goals

  • Christmas already !?!

  • Jingle all the way… to the bank!

  • Decorate your halls with efficient time management

  • Business bells are ringing

B2C Christmas subject lines

Not every business that sells directly to consumers sells products that people give as gifts. But you can still get in tune with the season and make people feel better, regardless of what you sell.

Here are a few B2C Christmas subject lines, many of which were used by real companies:

  • No time? Beat the holiday rush. Give a gift card!

  • The 2023 gift guides

  • We made you something

  • Christmassy ideas for your travel bucket list

  • Get all your gifts yet?

  • Christmas offer! – Shop for a friend at 30% off

  • Christmas savings! The holiday sale

  • Untangle your lights, and your hair

  • Deck the halls, the kitchen, the dining room, the den, the…

  • Get 50% off your first year + free gift

  • Stream your favorite holiday movies

  • $250 Christmas cash raffle

  • Security cam deals to welcome the holidays

  • It’s that time of the year. Our new winter collection is here!

  • Time (and stock) are running out

  • A snow day with style

  • Under the mistletoe with fabulous hair

  • All I want for Christmas

  • KFC 11 Herbs & Spices Firelogs are the ultimate holiday gift – get yours while supplies last

Yes, that last one is a bit long, but the primary message is delivered in the first few words, even if the last part gets caught off.

Ecommerce Christmas subject lines

With ecommerce and its complete dependence on online engagement, your emails need to ramp up the urgency so they can motivate instant response and action. Sometimes, being direct is your best strategy, and this time of year is often one of those times.

Here are a few examples for ecommerce businesses:

  • Everything must go! 60% off select books

  • Oh no! Christmas is only 10 days away

  • Last chance for holiday delivery!

  • Festive recipes – giving with love this Christmas

  • Free shipping starts now

  • Your private sale savings are waiting…

  • Extended – free shipping with no minimum purchase

  • Holiday flavors are here!

  • 10 festive faves!

  • Sleigh your shopping list

  • Gifts of comfort and joy

AI-generated Christmas subject lines

Even with all the Christmas subject lines examples you’ve seen, you may still find yourself wanting an extra (virtual) hand.

Well then, maybe AI can help.

Since ChatGPT hit the email marketing scene companies have found all sorts of uses for it. We thought we’d add to that by asking AI to come up with some subject lines for your Christmas emails. You may have to play around with the prompts a bit, and you certainly won’t like everything it spits out, but there’s a good chance you’ll like a few of them. Or, at least it will spark ideas in your own mind that you can use with confidence.

Illustration of how the AI Copy Generator works

Sinch Mailjet’s AI Copy Generator in action

Here are a few Christmas subject lines generated entirely by AI:

Prompt: Write some funny Christmas email subject lines:

  • Ho ho ho, you’ve got mail!
  • All I want for Christmas is you… to open this email
  • Don’t be a Grinch…check out these amazing deals
  • Deck the halls with boughs of holly… and these festive products
  • Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer… had a very shiny offer

You can see that AI tends to get in a rut with such a broad prompt. This isn’t the entire list from that prompt, but nearly every one of them starts off with a song lyric, and then tries to follow it with a clever turn of phrase. Except, most of them aren’t that clever.

Also, something to note – every subject line it created included an emoji at the end, usually of a present, a tree, or Santa’s face.

Prompt: Write some email subject lines for Christmas that have urgency or deadlines

  • Last chance to save big on Christmas gifts – Hurry, offer ends tonight!
  • Don’t miss out on our 12 Days of Christmas deals – Only 2 days left!
  • You’ve been selected for a special Christmas surprise – Open now before it expires!
  • Final hours to claim your free gift with purchase – Don’t let this opportunity pass you by!
  • Time is running out to get your Christmas orders in – Order by midnight and get free shipping!
  • Santa’s sleigh is leaving soon…don’t forget to fill your cart – Save up to 50% off today only!

In the original version, every dash was actually an emoji, again using one of the same three choices as in the previous list.

As before, you can see that AI uses the same format for every subject – in this case an offer, an emoji, and an urgent phrase. The problem is, all of these subject lines are very long.

So, we tried a new prompt – the same one as before but “with 10 words or fewer” as an additional requirement. AI maxed out the 10 words in nearly all its attempts. Here are some of them:

Prompt: Write some email subject lines for Christmas that have urgency or deadlines with 10 words or fewer

  • Best Christmas sale ends today: Save big or miss out!
  • Hurry! Only 3 hours left to claim the perfect gift
  • Last chance to win a trip to the North Pole
  • Don’t wait: Order now and get it by Christmas Eve
  • Final Countdown: 50% off everything ends in 10 minutes
  • Santa’s Secret: A special offer just for you…expires soon
  • Time’s almost up: Grab these deals before they’re gone
  • Merry Christmas: Here’s your final chance to save big

These are much better than before because they’re much more succinct. And, to be fair to AI, these prompts have no context. If you gave the AI particular products, something about your customers or brand, or other details unique to your company or holiday marketing, the AI would certainly come up with less generic subject lines.

Even if you don’t use any of the ideas verbatim, you’ve saved a ton of brainstorming work. All you’ll need is to finalize the subject lines you want to use for your holiday email marketing campaigns.

Pro tip: Another way to save time with your holiday emails is to use pre-built holiday email templates. Here are some email templates for Christmas you might want to try out for this year’s campaign.

Create great subject lines with Sinch Mailjet’s AI Copy Generator

So, did that last section on AI-generated subject lines sound tempting? Well, we’ve got some good news for you.

Sinch Mailjet’s new AI Copy Generator is available to customers with a paid account, and our subject line generator is coming soon to make subject line creation even simpler! No need to jump from your email campaign to ChatGPT and back – you'll be able to get all this AI magic directly through our Email Editor.

Not yet a paid account holder? Then create your account or upgrade to a paid plan to take advantage of Mailjet’s AI Copy Generator just in time for the launch of your Christmas email campaign.

Happy Holidays!

Create great Christmas content with Mailjet’s AI Copy Generator

Get the snowball rolling on your next festive campaign. Mailjet’s AI Copy Generator will save yourself time, energy, and create compelling content in a matter of seconds.

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