7 Examples of Effective and Festive Holiday Promotions (You Can Create Right Now, Too)

Are your holiday promotions ready to go? All too often small businesses leave their holiday promotions until the last minute. No dawdling this year, it’s time to snap into merry-and-bright action.

The holidays are coming up fast. Considering most small businesses bring in 20 to 40% of their annual revenue during the last two months of the year, there’s no time to waste.

The National Retail Federation expects retail sales in November and December to hit $617 billion. That’s a 4% increase from last year.

To make sure your small business gets in on the holiday action, here are seven successful holiday promotions that you can learn from (and mimic) this holiday season:

Gift guides/holiday menu guides (based on affordable price points)

A lot of shoppers need a little gift inspiration during the holidays. Shoppers want to find a perfect gift, but they don’t want to go over budget either. You can help customers out by creating a gift guide that focuses on a specific price point. Here are a few ideas:

  • 10 Gifts for Him Under $10
  • 3 Gifts Dad Will Love for $25 or Less
  • 3 Must-Have Gifts for Kids for $50 or Less
  • Get 8 Hanukah Gifts for $80
  • $15 Holiday Gifts for the Coffee Drinker
  • 10 Appetizers Under $10 – Only During the Holidays

Think about what kind of guide fits your business? What kind of price point makes sense for your customers? Once you answer these questions, you can start to select the products that you want to highlight. Pick ten or less products. If you have more than ten products that you want to feature, break them up into multiple gift guides.

Once you have the title, price point and products in mind, you can design your guide. If you don’t have any design skills, or just want to create something quickly, try this downloadable template that you can use from W3 Solutions.

Here’s an example from Ulta Beauty:


If you work in the food industry, create a guide introducing your holiday-inspired food items. Trader Joe’s grocery store does an excellent job of this every year calling out all things pumpkin flavored in their printed Fearless Flyer.

Trader Joe's October 2015 Fearless Flyer

Pinterest is also huge source of gift inspiration for consumers during the holidays. In fact, 47.7% of shoppers say Pinterest content has inspired holiday gift purchases according to CrowdTap. Upload photos of your products directly to Pinterest, linke them back to your website, and create and promote Pinterest gift guide boards as you see Target did here:

Target Gift Guides

Don’t forget Instagram! Create a “12 Days of Gift Ideas” guide and post one picture of a new gift or menu item each day as the East Village Vancouver B.I.A. did here:

12 Days of Gifts Instagram Idea

Once you’ve created your guides, share them everywhere. Put them on your social channels, send them out via email and hang a printed version in your store window.

Create specific gift displays within your store as well, grouping items by price or theme. If you’re using text message marketing, send a message announcing your in-store gift groupings or holiday menu items, and offer a discount for those specific items.

Download our free customer loyalty success guide to learn how to drive customers back 2x more.

Loyalty program-specific holiday offers 

Treat the members of your loyalty program to exclusive offers and deals during the holiday season. For instance, Fivestars users can segment their list and send promotions to specific groups like VIP members, regular customers, new customers, and more.

For example, send a ‘30% off your purchase of $30 or more just for loyalty members’ coupon. You could also offer additional points. For example, give holiday shoppers 5 additional points for every purchase made in the month of December.

Here’s an example from Southwest Airlines. The airline offers additional points for money spent during the holidays. Tailor the points system to fit your business.


Here’s another example of a promotion Cream sent to their loyalty program-specific customers. It also promotes their holiday-inspired ice cream flavor, which combines our first tip from above.

Cream Holiday Promo

You can send these special promotions out via a push notification or text message, depending on which communication method your customer has selected. If you’ve collected email addresses, send the promotion or announcement via email too.

Gift card deals

About 80% of shoppers will buy gift cards this season, according to the National Retail Federation. Shoppers will spend an average of $172 on gift cards, and when recipients use the gift cards, they will likely spend 20% more than the gift card value. That’s a great deal for any business.

To entice customers to buy a gift card from your business, consider offering an incentive. You could offer a 5% discount on gift cards, or do what Applebee’s does and give additional gift cards with a specific purchase. The example below gives a customer a $10 bonus card after purchasing $50 in gift cards.


Once you settle on gift card deal that fits your business, advertise it like crazy. Share it on your social channels, send it out via email, put a banner on your website.

Don’t just rely on digital channels though. Hang signs in your store, put a sandwich board outside advertising the deal, and give customers a postcard with the promotion information on it at checkout.

What holiday promotions are you working on? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Lisa Furgison
About the Author
Lisa Furgison

Lisa is a writer at Fivestars, a freelance journalist, and co-owner of a media company, McEwen's Media.

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