Ah, the holidays! The winter festivities mean that many of us get to leave the stress of office life behind. If you’re taking an extended break, you may want to create a holiday out-of-office message to let your contacts know you’ll get back to them just as soon as the eggnog is out of your system and you’ve returned to your desk.
How to Write a Holiday Out-of-Office Message
Within reason, it’s okay to have some fun with your out-of-office message. But there are a few simple rules you should follow to make sure your auto-responder is both helpful and professional. Here are some do’s and don’ts from our article “7 Ways to Write an Effective Out-of-Office Message.”
- Do check your company’s policy on out-of-office messages. If there’s no firm policy, it might be best to check in with your supervisor and have your message approved in advance.
- Don’t reveal too much. Strangers, spammers, and maybe even scammers could potentially see your auto-reply. Keep that in mind before you tell all and sundry that your house is vacant.
- Do know your audience. If you send more formal emails during your working hours, don’t create an informal out-of-office email for your downtime.
- Don’t make typos. You don’t want to be blasting out the same spelling mistake or grammar error for a week, do you?
- Do consider a message rule. If your email client will handle it, consider creating a message rule where your auto-reply goes out only on the second message from the same person. That way, you won’t be oversharing your status with spammers or colleagues who really don’t care that you’re away.
We created a few fun holiday out-of-office messages that you can either blatantly copy or use for inspiration. The first four are perfect for the office that makes room for humor. If your workplace is a bit more traditional, skip straight to number five.
1 The Scrooge
Hellooooo . . .
You’ve reached the Ghost of Holidays Future. Whose future? Yours, of course! Let me show you what it looks like.
Step this way. Do you see yourself there? It’s the holidays, and yet you’re hunched over your mobile device. Yes, I know the new iPhone 13 looks pretty sweet. That’s not the point. Focus!
Look at all the festivities going on around you! The stockings are hung by the chimney with care. Friends and family are gathered. There’s a lovely ham on the table with all the trimmings, including figgy pudding (whatever the heck that is). And then there’s you, sitting there in the corner alone with your phone, emailing people who’d rather be celebrating and are probably just going to ignore you until next year.
Listen, I know you’re dedicated to your work, but don’t let this be your future. The holidays come just once a year. Why not take a break and recharge for a change? (No, not your phone—yourself!) Meanwhile, [Your Name] will return on [date] and will answer your email as quickly as possible.
Be merry! Now, goooo . . . *spooky chain rattle*
Yours very truly,
A. Spectre, Esq.
2 The Fruitcake
Did you know that emails during the holidays are a lot like fruitcakes? Nobody really wants them, but a lot of people end up receiving them, anyhow.
I’m out of the office until [date], so leave your fruitcake (email) right here. I’ll be sure to send you a thank-you card (response) when I return.
3 The Bedford Falls
I’m currently curled up on the couch with fuzzy slippers on my feet, a blanket across my lap, and a mug of cocoa in my hand. There’s a fire in the fireplace, and It’s a Wonderful Life is on TV. George Bailey just found ZuZu’s petals in his pants pocket. (Yes, those are happy tears. Shh!)
I’ll be out of the office until [date], but if it’s an emergency—like if Uncle Billy lost the deposit or there’s a run on the Building and Loan—my esteemed colleague, [Name], will assist you. Just email [email].
Tidings of comfort and joy,
4 The Tech Break
‘Tis the season when a lot of people get to take a break from work. I’m on one such break, and that means I get to avoid email. And Slack. And Asana. And the entire suite of Google products from Calendar to Sheets.
So, although I’m sure whatever you had to tell me was insightful, inspiring, or otherwise riveting, I’m not going to read it anytime soon. Instead, I intend to gaze upon colorful lights, or the frosted shimmer of a wintry morning, anything that isn’t backlit and powered by a lithium battery.
Upon my return, I’ll ease back into work life and answer emails at a pace I’m comfortable with. Unfortunately, that may not be a pace you’re comfortable with, so if it’s urgent, ping me again when my inbox reopens on [date].
5 The Friendly Professional
Thanks for getting in touch. I’m out of the office enjoying the holidays until [date].
I’ll respond as quickly as I can when the festivities are over and I’m back at my desk. If your request is urgent, please reach out to my colleague, [name], at [email], for assistance.