Holidays are no time for your copy to be sloppy

Lorena Ouahchia
December 18, 2023

It’s so easy to fall into the rabbit hole of clichés in the holiday season.

Everybody does it and there should be no shame in it.

But if you want your copy to stand out and your message to spread out – you need to ditch the overused phrases and find what really matters to you and your audience.

01 Designing christmas

With a new year just around the corner it’s time to put a wrap on our “Designing Christmas” series. In preparation for the holidays, we’ve covered a range of topics – from color schemes and patterns to typography and now, copy.

All the elements mentioned above are equally important, but the emphasis should be on the content. That is what the user will focus on after your design attracts them. And if you don’t type the right words, your festive efforts might pass unnoticed. 

Not to worry, there are ways to tackle that.
All it takes is a bit of planning, a lot of focus and a trip back to the basics. 


What kind of writing is copywriting?

When you need to connect to your audience online, it’s a good time to do some writing. The ways in which you will write, depend on the purpose of your actions.

If you want to drive sales or drive a specific action right now, you will write a copy. Copywriting is always connected to the promotion of things, businesses, organizations, brands and services. By definition it is a form of marketing.

On the other hand there is content writing – a form of writing that educates, entertains and informs an online audience, and it usually contributes to a long-term strategy.

Take this blog post for an example. It is written content that tends to broaden your knowledge about a specific topic.

A copywriter can now take this article and sell it. Promote it on social media. Strip it down to the core and sum it up in a few important bullet points. Solve your problems with a few words – the same words which attracted you to read this piece of content.

In this article, we are focusing on the effectiveness of content in the short-term since the holidays have their expiration dates. So,the best way to go is through copywriting.

03 stay original

Ho, ho, hold the clichés

Everybody wants to be original, but staying original takes a lot of hard work. It’s not surprising that from time to time – especially during the festivities – some of us draw inspiration from the things that are familiar.

Christmas songs can be a good source of holiday copies when you need them fast. For example, with a few tweaks Mariah Carey might be singing about wanting all your best Christmas deals this year.
“All you want for Christmas…and a lot more at [insert brand here].”

You can argue that this copy is better than no copy – but the question is what will your audience get from it? People are already trained to ignore those holiday tunes – so you might just lose them if you don’t stand out.

The advertising at Christmas time is at its noisiest so it would be best if you just avoid all the clichés in your holiday copywriting. Try harder and come up with something that will truly resonate with your audience.


Does it need to rhyme, all the time?

There is a Christmas tradition in Northern Ireland where a company of Rhymers go out, visit different public and private places and recite their rhymes for money. They are called Christmas Rhymers and it seems that their custom of rhyming for money has found a place in copywriting today. Rhyming is fun, as long as you don’t overdo it – and some copywriting experts even encourage it.


A copywriter will find words that will stick to your mind!

Tom Albrighton, a UK based freelance copywriter writes about rhyming in his book Copywriting made simple. He states that rhymes can be very powerful and quotes a research by psychologist Matthew McGlone who ran an experiment in 1999 showing that rhyming statements are believed to be 22% more accurate. A rhyme is easier to understand, which makes it more true and that results in a stronger, memorable message.  

Why does it work?

Well, because it’s familiar. Even before we learned how to speak, we were surrounded with rhyming phrases through lullabies and nursery rhymes. Later on there were books and ads.

Secondly, human brains like to link words with phrases and sounds – and when it rhymes, you can hear it. Even though it is powerful, rhyming is not as fashionable in the copywriting world anymore. There are probably a lot of different reasons why, but one of those sure isn’t its effectiveness.

Go ahead – try it out in your holiday copy. You might be surprised with the result! 

05 Consistency is key

Stay true to yourself (not the elf)

It’s easy to get lost in the holiday spirit and forget about who you are. The main goal of your holiday copywriting shouldn’t be to just push a “special” deal but also to connect with your audience. Don’t start talking in a different tone and style just because you think you must. 

The British Airways ad “Christmas Come Together”, developed at BBH London. 

It is a time of the year to get a bit sentimental and good copywriting draws upon that emotional connection. Just take a moment and remember all those Christmas ads that made your eyes watery and heart warm. It is an opportunity to tell your story through marketing.

Find what matters to you and your company and craft a narrative that captures that. True meaning of holidays, for you. 

Maybe you will find a different angle for your holiday campaign and write for people who aren’t really keen on celebrating, for example New Year’s Eve. You will target them with a bit of humor and the others will follow. It’s unexpected, funny and appealing. 

06 Conclusion

Final thoughts

Like all your copy and content marketing, any holiday time copywriting should be a part of a coordinated effort to get you closer to your business goals. But, holidays or not, your content should be valuable and useful to your audience, customers and users. It should solve their problems and give them the information they need. 

Good copywriting is born out of listening.

If you listen carefully, your audience will tell you about their needs and desires. They will even tell you how to speak to them. There’s no need for big words or sugar coating. Just get straight to the point.

If you can do that, your audience will form an online bond with you that doesn’t break that easily. And you will reap the benefits.