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Fun and festive employee newsletter ideas for the holidays

Jamie Bell

The weather outside may be frightful, but your employee newsletter can be delightful! (I won’t apologize for that opening.) The holiday season is in full swing, and injecting a dose of festive cheer into your workplace communications can help boost morale and create a sense of community among your team. We’ve done all the research and have compiled a list of holidays and observances happening in December. Plus, we’ve curated a selection of seasonal themes and topics to help you create one fun and festive employee newsletter!

 

Jump to: Holidays & Observances | Seasonal Topics

December 2023 holidays and observances

Bonus: Download this internal comms content calendar to help you organize your content and messaging so you can communicate with your employees and drive engagement.

Note: Some of these days hold special cultural and/or religious significance or are observances of sensitive topics, so if you choose to refer to them in your employee newsletters, remember to be thoughtful, intentional, and considerate. Holidays + observances are listed in alphabetical order.

Daily holidays and observances in December

December 1: Antarctica Day, National Bartender Day, World Aids Day
December 2: International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, National Mutt Day, Special Education Day
December 3: International Day of Persons With Disabilities, Make a Gift Day
December 4: International Day of Banks, Wildlife Conservation Day
December 5: International Volunteer Day, World Soil Day
December 6: National Day Of Remembrance And Action On Violence Against Women, National Miners Day, St. Nicholas Day
December 7: Hanukkah starts, International Civil Aviation Day, National Letter Writing Day, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
December 8: National Salesperson Day
December 9: International Day Of Commemoration And Dignity Of The Victims Of The Crime Of Genocide
December 10: Dewey Decimal System Day, Human Rights Day, Nobel Prize Day,
December 11: International Mountain Day, National App Day, National Stretching Day, UNICEF Birthday
December 12: Gingerbread House Day, International Universal Health Coverage Day
December 13: National Cocoa Day, National Guard Birthday
December 14: National Free Shipping Day
December 15: Bill of Rights Day, National Underdog Day
December 16: National Chocolate Covered Anything Day
December 17: Pan American Aviation Day
December 18: International Migrants Day, World Arabic Language Day
December 19: National Hard Candy Day
December 20: International Human Solidarity Day
December 21: Anne Frank and Samantha Smith Day, National Crossword Puzzle Day, National Homeless Persons’ Remembrance Day, Winter Solstice
December 22: National Cookie Exchange Day
December 23: Festivus
December 24: Christmas Eve
December 25: Christmas
December 26: Boxing Day, Day of Goodwill
December 27: International Day of Epidemic Preparedness
December 28: National Call-a-Friend Day
December 29: International Cello Day
December 30: National Resolution Planning Day
December 31: New Year’s Eve, No Interruptions Day

Weekly holidays and observances:

National Cookie Cutter Week (December 1-7)
Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week (December 1-7)
Hanukkah (December 7-15)
Computer Science Education Week (December 6-12)
Las Posadas (December 16-24)
National Influenza Vaccination Week (December 4-8)
National Handwashing Awareness Week (December 5-11)
Kwanzaa (December 26-January 1)

Monthly holidays and observances:

Art and Architecture Month
Bingo Month
Egg Nog Month
HIV/AIDS Awareness Month
Learn a Foreign Language Month
Month of Giving
National Cat Lovers’ Month
National Pear Month
National Tie Month
Operation Santa Paws
Read a New Book Month
Safe Toys and Gifts Month
Universal Human Rights Month
Worldwide Food Service Safety Month
Write a Friend Month

Seasonal topics for employee newsletters in December

Here are 15 fun and festive ideas to incorporate into your holiday newsletter and messages to employees: 

1.) Run a holiday photo contest (or use your newsletter to promote the in-person competition).

Whether your whole staff is in-office or you’re all working remotely, use your holiday employee newsletter to promote a fun and festive competition for your employees!

Here are a few of our favorite holiday newsletter ideas to spur photo submissions or get in-person engagement: 

  • An ugly sweater competition (it’s a classic for a reason!) 
  • Most “Charlie Brown” Christmas tree
  • Cutest holiday baby photo / cutest holiday pet photo
  • Best gingerbread house
  • Best holiday lights display
  • Best holiday throwback photo (share a classic family photo!)
  • Best gift-wrapping skills
  • Best “Elf on the Shelf” sightings

Don’t forget to promote the contest early on, to share a submission or two as you go, and to promote the winners after the contest has closed! (You’ll have content for a full month this way, easy.) 

2.) Embed short, holiday-themed surveys that are just for fun.  

You might be used to asking employees for heavy feedback on employee engagement, but try running lightweight surveys to boost your email engagement!

Here are a few engaging questions that are sure to get responses:

  • “On a scale of 1-5, how much do you love that Mariah Carey song?” 
  • “Should our team do a White Elephant gift exchange?”
  • “Are you planning on attending our company holiday party?” 
  • “What’s the best holiday movie of all time?” 
  • “What’s the main course served at your family’s holiday dinner?” 
  • “How many days off are you planning to take during the holiday season?” 
  • “What’s your favorite holiday treat?” 
  • “What is one thing we should focus on next year?” 
  • “What word would you use to describe 2022 at [our company]?” 
  • “What would be a great gift idea for your boss?” 

(All of these surveys can be embedded into emails with an internal email tool like Workshop!)

3.) Share a festive recipe. 

We all need to eat, right?! Sharing a quick holiday-themed recipe is a great way to spice up your employee newsletter for the season. (It’s also a good place to include a variety of holiday traditions and celebrations; there are a lot of incredible recipes for Kwanzaa and Hanukkah, for example!)

It’s even better if you can share who loves and/or developed the recipe among your employees. For example: “Our CEO’s favorite cinnamon rolls” or “Jess’ world-famous green bean casserole.” 

Here are some of our team’s favorites: 

You can even do a “digital holiday potluck,” and share one newsletter that features a multi-course meal of favorite recipes from different team members. 

4.) Create local holiday events calendars. 

One of our favorite ways to add “lite” personalization to your all-company employee newsletter is to create a section to highlight local events! It’s the perfect way to create a more relevant content experience for each of your team members.

It’s really easy to segment your communications by location with a communications tool like Workshop; we sync with your HRIS or payroll info so that all of your employee lists and locations are managed automatically. You can then segment your emails or certain rows within an email by different office locations (and even create a separate one just for any more remote hires, too). You can even measure the engagement of all of your all-company emails by department, location, or role, and see if you need to adjust your strategy or sends accordingly! 

5.) Spotlight the variety of holiday traditions celebrated by your employees. 

Ask your team about any holiday traditions they have; whether they’re super traditional or totally unique, sharing stories and photos of how your team celebrates the season is one way to create heart-warming and original content for your holiday employee newsletter.

Here are a few examples from the Workshop team:

  • Derek, our COO, does a gingerbread house decorating competition with his family each year! They put the results on social media and have their friends/family vote on a winner. (Derek’s wife, Jen, wins every year, haha.) 
  • Courtney, one of Workshop’s amazing software engineers, celebrates the holidays with her in-laws. They always have beef stroganoff for Christmas dinner, served on top of crunchy chow mein noodles instead of pasta!
  • Mikey, our product design lead, does a white elephant gift exchange with her entire family. The theme is always “my favorite thing” and you just pick your favorite item from the year! 
  • Jamie, our VP of Marketing, always has a bucket of KFC and a bottle of champagne with her husband for Christmas Eve dinner.

Again, this is another great place to highlight an employee’s holiday tradition for Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or just to celebrate general winter fun! 

6.) Create a photo collage of employees spending time with their friends and families. 

You can use the submissions you gathered during the photo contest (above!), or simply ask employees to send you their holiday card photos or candids! Photos of people you know and work with almost always perform better than stock photography in an employee-facing email or campaign. 

7.) Make a holiday video! 

The ol’ corporate holiday video is always a winner internally, but we always like to mix up traditions a bit! Here are three tools we’ve used or seen used recently to create unique videos for your employee newsletter: 

  • Cameo : If you haven’t used this yet, it’s always a crowd favorite. Get personalized videos from some of your favorite well-known (and lesser-known) celebrities, many of whom are happy to read a script of your choosing or create a cool message of their own. (This is also one of our favorite tools for employee recognition; it’s great for employee anniversaries or to celebrate a launch!) 
  • JibJab: This personalized video tool was super popular in like 2004.  I’m embarrassed to say this but our team still uses this…way too often. It’s an incredibly ridiculous thing and you may have to hunt to find work-appropriate versions, but it definitely works in the right scenarios! 
  • Openreel: If you want to produce a seriously great holiday video (remotely!), this is a tool that is highly recommended by many of the videographers we know. It enables you to remotely control, direct, film, and collaborate on HD/4K video projects from a mobile device or webcam! 

8.) Create a giving tree. 

To set up a physical giving tree in your office, you just attach tags in place of ornaments, each representing a charity or organization in need. Employees can then select a tag from the tree and fill the stated need.

(Digitally, you can easily run something like this the same way you would a Secret Santa program, for example!)

9.) Include engaging holiday graphics, GIFs, and memes. 

Since your newsletter is for internal use only: go nuts! Include GIFs or memes from classic holiday movies like Elf, Die Hard, A Christmas Story, Home Alone, and more. 

Just looking for some great graphics to include in your holiday employee newsletter? Here’s a Google Drive folder that’s packed with a bunch of our festive favorites, including photos, illustrations, and more. 

In our weekly newsletters (known as the Happy Monday Club), we also love to include a GIF, meme, or a tweet that made us laugh that week at the end of each email. Here are a bunch of the ones we’ve included in our holiday email newsletters! 

10.) Create a collaborative Spotify playlist of your team’s favorite holiday songs. 

You can make any Spotify playlist collaborative to let your friends/family add, remove, and reorder songs! Encourage your team to add their favorite holiday tracks to a collaborative playlist, then share the final results out in your next employee newsletter. 

11.) Promote customers, partners, or local businesses as gift ideas. 

Depending on your industry and your company, use this opportunity to promote your customers, partners, or just local businesses as great places to buy cool gift ideas for friends and family! You can even create a full holiday email or blog post for your employees based on this content alone. 

In the past, I’ve put together a really quick gift guide email for employees highlighting some products from a few of our customers, for example! It’s a really nice way to think of giving back and celebrating their businesses, too. 

12.) Share silly or historical holiday facts. 

A little “did you know!?” section is always a delightful addition to your employee newsletters. 

Here are a few ideas of news you can use:

  • Santa Claus has worn blue and white and green in the past, but his traditional red suit came from a 1930s ad by Coca Cola!
  • “Jingle Bells” holds a Guinness World Record for being the first song ever played in outer space.
  • Candy canes were invented to help keep children quiet during church.It takes an average of seven years to grow a Christmas tree.
  • Mariah Carey only spent 15 minutes writing “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”
  • In Ireland, it’s tradition for kids to leave out a pint of Guinness instead of the traditional milk and cookies.
  • Over 25% of all emails are sent during the holidays.
  • The highest-grossing Christmas movie of all time is “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (the Jim Carrey one)!
  • There are 364 gifts total given out in the “12 Days of Christmas” song.

13.) Deliver virtual gifts to employees! 

‘Tis the season to roll out a new benefit or perk to your team! While we know everyone loves a gift card for great coffee or a food delivery app, there’s definitely an opportunity to think outside the box and give your team something really special.

A favorite one we’ve seen recently is to offer up additional mental health resources (after all, the holidays can be an extra stressful or sensitive time for many families). Both Calm and Headspace offer corporate subscription options for their meditation and mindfulness solutions.

Another easy one? Offer an additional day of PTO. 🙂 

14.) Add in quick tips and tricks for the holiday season. 

One of the best things I’ve ever included in a Christmas newsletter for employees was this tutorial on how to wrap a Tiffany bow. I learned the technique at one of my very first retail jobs, and it makes wrapping Christmas gifts all the more elegant! 

Other than gift-wrapping tips, you could include things like: 

  • How to set a table properly (I can’t be the only one who always forgets which fork goes where)
  • Little holiday decor DIYs
  • Crafts for the whole family to enjoy
  • How to pick out a Christmas tree
  • How to decorate with candy canes
  • Christmas pranks to play on your coworkers

15.) Take a look back with a “Year in Review.” 

We often like to create this as a fully separate campaign, but if you can’t go big with a full report, your employee newsletter is a great place to sneak in a few fun facts about the year or celebratory moments!

Here’s a look at a couple of Year in Review campaigns I helped produce at a previous company in 2015 and 2016.


Next steps:

Download our Internal Comms Editorial Calendar: This sample internal comms editorial calendar will help you organize your content and messaging so you can communicate with your employees and drive engagement. It’s simple, streamlined, and totally customizable for your company’s needs.

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