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Examples & Tips for Festive Out-Of-Office Email Responses

Whether you’re taking time off for festivities, using the last of your holiday entitlement, absent through winter illness or your company conducts a Christmas shutdown, you probably need to utilise your email out-of-office function in December.

But what should you do to keep the message informative, engaged and maybe a little festive? 

Some people keep theirs quite corporate and formal, adopting a to-the-point notification, i.e.:

I am currently on annual leave and I return to the office on Monday 21st September. I will reply to your email as soon as possible. 

If your query is urgent you can contact my colleague, Rachael Farley, on x@thriveability.co.uk or call our office on 01325 778 786.

Others like to take the opportunity to inject a little personality and make the reader smile, like our very own Rachael’s summertime out-of-office: 

Ahoy there! I'm currently getting my sea legs as I set sail on a cruise around the Mediterranean Sea! If you have any enquiries in my absence, you can contact the crew at Thrive by emailing Sarah at x@thriveability.co.uk or calling the office on 01325 778 786.

Otherwise, all hands will be back on deck upon my return on Thursday 5th September and I will reply to your email at the earliest convenience. 

December can be one of the most popular months for absence:

  • The single biggest day of the year for calling in sick tends to fall during the festive period; more people were too ill to work on Monday 10 December than any other day last year. (Whosoff.com, 2019)
  • December is the most popular month of the year for authorised absences, as many employees are using up their remaining holiday entitlement.  (Whosoff.com, 2019)

So, for whatever reason you’re out of the office, your email inbox should be informative with any information about office closures or unexpected absences: 

  • Include an expected return date and time.
  • Offer alternative point of contact and their details.
  • Add the general office contact number and email address if you don’t have a specific point of contact.
  • Be friendly and warm in your tone, even if you choose to keep it simple.

If you’ve been inspired by Rachael’s efforts and want to spread a little festive cheer, there are some fantastic examples to help you do just that...!

Chugging cocoa

Season’s Greetings! It’s my favourite time of year, which means I’m currently out of the office chugging mugs of cocoa, stuffing my face with cookies, and attempting to fulfil my life-long goal of memorising every single line of [FAVOURITE HOLIDAY MOVIE]. I’ll be back in front of my computer on [DATE] and will respond to your message at that time. If you need immediate assistance, please send an email to [NAME] at [EMAIL] so that the other elves in this workshop can help you out. (Source: Futureofworking.com)

Film fanatic

Oh hey,

It’s Christmas, what are you doing emailing me? I’m extremely busy watching Home Alone, Die Hard, and the 1994 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Christmas Special on repeat until the new year. I might stop for food and toilet breaks, I also might now. Regardless of my general health and hygiene over the silly season, I’ll be back in office on January 2nd. Catch ya then, don’t forget to buy a pepperoni pizza for Splinter. (Source: Futureofworking.com)

A simple happy holidays


Happy holidays, and thanks for your email! I’m taking a few days off to spend time with my family and friends so I won’t be answering emails as quickly as usual. (Source: Futureofworking.com)

The list approach


I’m currently out of the office for the holidays—which means I’m busy either:

  1. Trying not to laugh at my [relative’s] corny jokes
  2. Attempting to explain my career to my [relative] for the 800th time
  3. Getting buzzed on too many mugs of eggnog (hey, can you blame me?)

I’ll return on [date] or after I watch [favourite holiday movie] one too many times (whichever comes first)—and will respond to your message at that time.

If your request is urgent, there’s no use sitting idly in my inbox. So, please send your request to [contact name] at [contact email].

Happy Holidays!

[Your Name/ Signature]  (Source: Saleshandy.com)

All wrapped up

Sorry to miss you. I wrapped up everything at the office and am off on vacation until [DAY OF WEEK], [DATE]. Anyway, if your question or favour can wait, great. If not, do me a favour and forward your email to [EMAIL] and you’ll be well-treated. Thanks. (Source: Futureofworking.com)

Superwoman on hand?

Thanks for your email. I’m currently on holiday with my family for the first time in what seems like forever. For urgent matters, [NAME] will help you. She doesn’t have a cape, but she is basically Superwoman. See you real soon. (Source: Futureofworking.com)

No phones allowed


Thank you for your email. I’m currently out of the office until [date] to celebrate the holiday with my loved ones—without my phone in front of my face.

I’ll be sure to reply to your message when I wade through my inbox upon my return. If your message is time sensitive, please send an email to [contact name] at [contact email].

Sending wishes for a happy holiday season,

[Your Name/ Signature]  (Source: Saleshandy.com)

A pre-christmas heads up

Hope you all are fine and doing well. As we know that the festive season is arriving and we all are looking forward to the holidays. These holidays will allow us all to enjoy the great season and have some amazing time with family and friends. This email is to inform you [all] that the office will be closed for [X] days from [DATE] to [DATE] due to the coming festive season. Our premises will remain closed for normal business from [start date] up to and including [last date]. We will start working on normal days from [DATE] and all the business practices will resume on [re-opening date]. If you have any queries related to the closure period please do not hesitate to contact me. Happy Holidays! (Source: Futureofworking.com)

What are you waiting for? Get humorous with your festive out-of-office!

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