Creative Checklist For Holiday

Production of holiday direct mail is happening now which means creative teams are busier than the elves in Santa’s workshop!

For many retailers, holiday is the biggest season of the year so it’s critical that holiday direct mail is strong. Holiday direct mail is different from other pieces mailed throughout the year. It must work harder by offering more inspiration, more gift ideas, more price points and more reasons to buy.

With more than 20 years’ experience in direct mail creative production, we know what works. The following is a summary of best practices and examples from the 2020 holiday season to guide you in making your 2021 holiday catalog creative as effective as possible.

Include An Offer

Holiday is a very promotional time period, and the perception of value is important for consumers. Even premium brands with high AOVs offer promos in November and December. The availability of the promo matters; usage is actually low. The failure to include a promo will negatively affect response rates.

Garnet Hill and Aurate

Offer Free Shipping

At least 40 of the top 50 online retailers (80%) offered free shipping in 2019. In a survey of online shoppers, 91% had chosen not to buy from a retailer because the merchant did not offer free shipping and 17% said they never buy online unless shipping is free. In addition, 49% of all ecommerce companies offered free returns in 2019.

Naked Cashmere

Increase Density

Consumers are looking for gift inspiration. High-density gift pages deliver many ideas in one glance.

Outerknown Double Gatefold

Present Curated Collections

Holiday shoppers have lists of people to buy gifts for. Grouping collections of products by recipient type reflects consumers’ thought processes and makes it easy to fulfill their holiday shopping needs.

Spartina 449

Inspire by Price Point

Grouping gifts by price point makes it easy for shoppers to stick to gift-giving budgets.

Society Six

Gifts By Number

Customers have lists of gifts they need to purchase. An enumerated presentation of gift ideas resonates with their need to check items off their list.

Johnny Was

Suggest Self-Gifting

Consumers have a “for me” line on their gift lists. 51% of Christmas shoppers buy gifts for themselves, too. (Source:

Cozy Earth

Promote Lower AOV Items

Average order value tends to drop during the holidays, so offer plenty of gift ideas at lower price points.


Boxed and Ready to Give

Mix in items that are boxed or wrapped and ready to give. They make gifting effortless for customers.

St. Frank

Create Holiday-Only Assortments

Offer gift items that are not part of your everyday assortment to engage loyal customers in a different way during the holidays.

Willams Sonoma

Include Web Drivers

Your catalog assortment is just the tip of the iceberg. Be sure your customers know there’s more on your website.


Drive Store Traffic

Three in four consumers shopped in stores during the pandemic and almost 80% of them made traditional in-store purchases (versus curbside or buy online, pickup in store.) Expect this behavior to continue, especially after shipping deadlines have passed.

Buck Mason

Ready to find a creative solution for your brand? Connect with us!

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