How to write a creative holiday out-of-office message - Tips and examples

Jessica Heijmans
December 15, 2023
min read
Table of Contents
Crafting an out-of-office message is usually the final item on your pre-holiday checklist, leaving little time for creativity. However, with some planning, you can create a message that is both amusing and clever. 'Tis the Season to be creative and injecting some holiday cheer into your out-of-office message can make it memorable and enjoyable for your recipients. Here are 5 tips to write a holiday out-of-office message with festive examples.

General guidelines: What to include in your out-of-office message?

When crafting your out-of-office (OOO) mail, it's important to keep in mind the general guidelines and expectations. You should include:

  • A phrase indicating your absence from the office
  • The specific dates/time frame during which you will be away
  • Contact information for someone who can assist if needed
  • A sign-off
  • Subject line

An example of this would be:

Subject line: Out-of-office

Hi [name],

Thank you for your email. Unfortunately, I'm out of the office and will not be available until mm/dd/yyyy. If you need assistance during my absence, please feel free to reach out to my colleague at colleague@example.com. They will be able to provide you with the help you need.

Best regards,

[your name]

There you have it: a perfectly fine out-of-office message. But it is a bit boring, isn't it? We’ll give you some inspiration in this blog, but first things first: what are the do’s and don’ts of out-of-office mail?

The do’s and don’ts of creating an out-of-office message

Before we get you started, here are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to your out-of-office message:

✅Do check your company’s policy on out-of-office messages, or run your message by your manager first

✅Do consider setting two OOO messages at once - one for internal colleagues and one for external contacts

✅ Do know your audience. If your work emails are usually pretty formal (or your specific branch is), it's probably best to keep your out-of-office message more buttoned-up, too.

❌Don’t go oversharing in your message. Be mindful that anyone could potentially see it, including strangers, spammers, and even scammers. So, keep your personal deets to yourself and avoid announcing that your home is vacant.

❌ Don’t make typos. You wouldn't want to keep sending the same spelling or grammar mistakes for a whole week, would you?

❌ Don’t commit a colleague's assistance without consent. Ask your colleague first if it’s okay to include them in your out-of-office message

Now that we've laid down the do's and don'ts, let's have some fun with it, shall we? 

Crafting the perfect out-of-office message for the Holiday Season 

We’ve categorized our examples based on the various sections in an out-of-office email: the general message, contact information, date of return, sign-off, and subject line. You can choose to jazz up just one section or go all out and customize everything. Let's explore some opportunities to elevate your message to match the Christmas festivities and make it more inspiring! 

Tip 1. The General Message: Embrace the Holiday Spirit 

Inject some festive flair into your out-of-office message to capture the holiday spirit. Playful references to holiday traditions, or popular seasonal songs can add a touch of creativity. 

Play with Festive Words

Instead of simply saying you're out of the office, add a touch of holiday cheer. Use a bit of storytelling, like: "Gone to spread cheer and sip hot cocoa on my couch until mm/dd/yyyy!"

Christmas Movie Quotes

Who doesn't love a good holiday movie reference? Drop in a quote that brings back nostalgic feelings. "It's a Home Alone situation here! I'm leaving the office for a bit, but I've taken some precautions to ensure no criminals will take over my inbox. I’ll be back on [date] to answer all your questions. "

Christmas songs 

Give your out-of-office some harmonious vibes with a reference to a classic song. Channel your inner Mariah Carey, George Michael, or Michael Bublé with something like, "Rockin' around the out-of-office tree until mm/dd/yyyy!”

More examples:

  • "Gone dashing through the snow until [date of return]! I'll be out of the spreading holiday cheer.” 🎄
  • “Off on a winter adventure! Catch me on the ice rink, building snowmen, and sipping hot cocoa until January 6th. Wishing you a season filled with joy and warmth!"
  • “Walking in a winter wonderland… and taking a break from the office! ❄️ I'll be out until [date of return].”
  • “All I want for Christmas is… a relaxing break! 😉 I'll be out of the office until [date of return]. If you need immediate help, just give Santa's Little Helper, [colleague's name], a call!"
  • “I will be out of the office until January 2nd watching holiday films, drinking, and eating Christmas food. (Here's my favourite Gingerbread recipe if you'd like to join in the spirit!)

Tip 2. Mention the Hero on Duty

Provide an alternative contact who's ready to work some magic, in case the sender needs immediate attention. Here are some suggestions to add a Christmas touch:


  • “If you need immediate assistance, reach out to [colleague's name] at [colleague's email]. They've got the magic to save the day!"
  • "While I'm away, our very own Santa's Little Helper, [Colleague's Name], will be by your side. You can reach them at [Colleague's Email] for any urgent matters."
  • “While I'm off visiting Christmas markets, my superstar colleague Bob will be holding down the fort."
  • Fear not, Santa's elves - also known as my incredible colleagues - have your back! If you have any urgent matters or need immediate assistance, please reach out to my cheerful colleague, [Colleague's Name]. They will be more than happy to lend a helping hand while I'm away.

Tip 3. Sleighing back: Let your reader know when you will return 

When it comes to taking a break during the festive season, it is good to keep your readers in the loop about your absence. Inform them of your return date and why not inject some humor into it?


  • "I'll be back next year, ready to tackle new challenges and drink even more coffee. I can't wait! See you on [date of return]."
  • "I am taking a little break to brainstorm some New Year's resolutions. Want a sneak peek? One of them involves responding to your email on [date of return]. Stay tuned!
  • I'm currently tucked away with a cup of hot cocoa and a pile of presents. You can find me back in action on [date of return] with a renewed holiday spirit!"

Tip 4. Add a Seasonal Sign-off 

Instead of a plain "Best," try a more festive closing. Here are some ideas:


  • “Happy Holidays from all of us at [Name company]”
  • “Happy ho-ho-holidays!”
  • “This holiday season, may your days be merry, your spirits be bright, and your inbox be blissfully empty. Take care, [Your Name]!”

Tip 5. Christmas out-of-office subject lines

Last but not least: choose a catchy subject line for your out-of-office email that reflects the holiday spirit.


  • "Out of Office, In the Holiday Spirit"
  • "Tis' the Season to Take a Break – Out of Office Notification"
  • "Ho Ho Hold on a Moment – I'll be Back after the Holidays!"
  • "Recharging My Festive Batteries – Out of Office Notification"
  • Tis the Season, for my Vacation!

Remember, the key is to have fun, unleash your creativity, and effectively convey the necessary information. Use these examples as inspiration, take them with a pinch of salt and don't be afraid to add your personal touch.

Wishing you a season filled with laughter, love, and all things magical! ✨

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