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Crafting Holiday Messages for Your School Community
Connor Gleason

Retention is all about keeping your community members happy, and the holidays are the perfect time to get creative, have fun, and send a message that reminds your school community that they're part of something wonderful.

After a few years that have been anything but normal, a warm holiday greeting lifts spirits, and also serves as an opportunity to spread some festive cheer to alumni, thank donors, as well as remind both current and prospective families that school is all about community.

Here are a few of our favorite ideas for wishing your community the best during the holiday season:

Film a Holiday Greeting

Amazing things happen on your campus every single day, but parents don't always get the opportunity to see the faces behind the success of their children — especially at boarding schools. Use the holidays as a reason to bring together some key people at your school and record a fun, warm, and uplifting video holiday greeting.

Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Create a quick video using a tool like Canva. It's easy to put together videos or slideshows in literally just minutes, and then share them on social media or through its an email.

  • Get creative! If time and resources allow, plan out a video with a message or theme that's special to your school. Involve your students, teachers, administration, staff, or maybe even your mascot.

  • Hearing from your school leaders can bring a sense of "officialness" to your message. Make sure it's genuine, heartfelt, and can touch upon the success of the year so far.

Rockford Public Schools shared a holiday greeting from Superintendent Dr. Ehren Jarrett on behalf of the RPS 205 Administration. At just over a minute, it's a well-produced, authentic message that recognizes the dedication of all the faculty and staff.

The Bullis School filmed a holiday message from its head of school, offering a "warm" winter greeting by the fireplace. It comes off as authentic, and natural, and we love the school branding!

Family, food, friends — McCallie School shares the special reasons behind what makes the holidays a special time for each of its students, driving home the idea that everyone celebrates the holidays in their own unique way.

Short on time?

We summed up some tips from this awesome video tutorial from Vimeo on how to create a 10-second holiday video that doesn't require any editing:

  • Make it fun and light
  • Capture a few "mini moments" that are unique to your school to share in the video
  • Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse
  • And of course, don't forget to share it on social media!

Berkshire School created a montage of high-quality video elements showcasing so many aspects of campus life, backed to a holiday song. There's no snow, no candy canes, no Christmas trees — just the happy, joyful moments that are happening every day on campus. With over 4,000 views and 600 likes, it's a holiday hit.

Pro Tip: Do you have a video montage that's already used by your admissions and enrollment office? No need to reinvent the wheel — Lay in some feel-good holiday music and you'll have a "holiday video" ready to go for a new audience!

Keep it Simple With a Page Pop

Parents and students will be visiting your school's website more often from now until the holiday break as they log in to portals to view grades, buy tickets for holiday plays and events, and double-check exam schedules and vacation dates. So use that opportunity to engage them with a website notification.

Create a custom holiday greeting or video and embed it in a Page Pop in your community portals, or on your homepage. This is also a good opportunity to remind your community about holiday break times.

Send a Thoughtful Email

Emails are still one of the most effective ways to communicate with your parents and students. So if you're short on time and resources, sending an email wishing them a happy and healthy holiday is still effective.

The holiday greeting you send via email should strictly be a holiday greeting. Try to avoid including any news events or requests for annual fund gifts in your messaging — you don't need to worry about combining them into one single message. And, don't forget to use personalization to make your constituents feel like the message is just for them!

If you're looking to make your email a little more interactive, animated GIFs in emails are fun, easy to create, typically small in size, and far more engaging than your typical text-filled newsletter.

Write a Blog

A guest post from your superintendent, principal, or head of school is a great way to reach a targeted audience and support your school's blogging efforts. Blogs also offer the chance to reflect on the year so far, wish families a happy holiday, and expand on themes and the mission of your school community — without the character limit you'd find in a social post or Page Pop.

Be Social All Season Long

Use social media to stay connected to your community while they're on break. Share a photo from the fall semester on Instagram on #ThrowbackThursday, post announcements on Twitter and Facebook, and use all of your social platforms to keep the conversations going even when they're not on campus. It will give that personal touch that families and students look for from their school.

Key Takeaway

Holiday messages are all about sharing genuine, authentic wishes for health, safety, and good fortune with friends and families. It's a special time of year to be thankful, express gratitude, and focus on the joy of learning, family, and faith. Involve your school community, share more voices, and help spread some holiday cheer.

Get Started with Messages XR | Finalsite


Connor Gleason Headshot

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Connor has spent the last decade within the field of marketing and communications, working with independent schools and colleges throughout New England. As Finalsite’s Senior Content Marketing Manager, Connor plans and executes marketing strategies and digital content across the web. A former photojournalist, he has a passion for digital media, storytelling, coffee, and creating content that connects.

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