10 Holiday Contest Ideas You Need to Try This Season


Want to boost your social media marketing this holiday season? Then you’ll want to try these holiday contest ideas.

Your customers are online, and they’re connecting with family and friends through social sites. As a business, you need to be where your shoppers are.

How do you do this?

Think of original prize ideas and run contests directly on your social sites and your website!

Here are 10 holiday giveaway ideas you can run to give your holiday marketing the boost it deserves.

Want to run a holiday marketing campaign? Get started by talking with an online marketing expert today!

Why Run Holiday Contests On Social Media?

Social contests have proven to be a powerful method of driving holiday sales. With contests and coupons you can:

  • Get immediate sales
  • Drive traffic to your eCommerce store
  • Generate email leads
  • Everyone’s on social – reach your market where they are
  • Deepen your brand loyalty
  • And lots more

Big brands are doing it… You can too.

holiday contest

Holiday Contest Prizes

Just a note about incentives before we get to the contest ideas…

The prize is key to gaining tons of contest participants – and ultimately driving traffic to your online store or in-store. Write down some prize ideas, evaluate them and choose a prize that connects with your target market and is brand-related to get the most out of your marketing campaigns.

Gift cards are one of the best incentives. Whether your cards are redeemable online or in-store, gift cards make a great prize for shoppers at this time of year. As most retailers know, when someone gets a gift card, that customer is likely to spend a little more at your store, too.

Popular products are amazingly successful at this time of year too. Make an email-gated contest, and giveaway your most sought-after item. I’ve recently seen a luxury handbag store get over 10,000 new Facebook Likes and emails – in one day. They gave away one coveted Louis Vuitton bag.

Okay, almost at the ideas…

10 Holiday Contest Ideas You Can Try

At this time of year, everyone loves to get a great deal and take part in the shopping excitement. Hosting holiday contest campaigns gets your brand top of mind for shoppers in-store and online.

Social contests can be run on your:

  • Facebook Page
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • TikTok
  • eCommerce site
  • Website/ Blog

The Social contests at Wishpond are mobile-optimized.

We also make it easy to email-gate your campaigns. We give you a social contact database for your lead generation, and we provide email marketing automation – so you can set up really effective lead campaigns, nurture your new connections, and get more sales – even after the holidays.

From a technical perspective, our contest, sweepstakes, and coupon apps are super easy. You can have your campaigns set up and running live in about 10 minutes – really. So, it’s not too late to boost your holiday contest marketing – right now!

Here are 10 ideas to boost your holiday marketing…

1. Holiday Sweepstakes

Sweepstakes are easy to enter. Make the prize enticing to your consumer, email-gate it, and you’ll get lots of new email leads – and sales.

holiday sweepstakes idea

3 Tips for Holiday Sweepstakes

  • Sweepstakes are easy for contestants to enter – all they need to submit is an email and/or Like and Follow
  • Run one sweepstake a day to encourage more engagement with your brand
  • Make your giveaway inclusive by offering many winners, with a small prize each (for example, 100 winners of a $25 gift card)

2. Holiday Photo Contests

Photo contests are a fun way to get user-generated content from your social consumers. Show your entrants’ photos together on your social sites to encourage a sense of community around your brand.

Holiday photo contest idea

3 Tips for Holiday Photo Contests

  • Make your photos holiday-themed and related to lifestyle, to get User Generated Content (UGC)
  • Festive themes could include Christmas trees, home decor, homemade baked goods, holiday vacations, etc.
  • Include voting, so that the photo with the most votes wins – this encourages much more engagement with friends and family

3. Instagram Photo Contest

Instagram giveaways are a cool way to get your Instagram followers involved with your brand or product. Everyone loves Instagram, and you can use photo contests on the platform to quickly connect with your consumers.

Instagram contest idea

3 Tips for Holiday Instagram Giveaways

  • People on Instagram love to share their photos
  • Make a holiday-themed photo contest, that’s related to lifestyle or products
  • Set up a contest-specific hashtag for all entrants to use, to spread the reach of your campaign, and build a common stream

4. Holiday Vote Contest

Vote contests are easy to enter, and they can be both fun and emotionally charged. Make your contest choices festively themed, and light yet meaningful.

You could set up a new vote contest for every day of the holiday shopping season, and get your customers engaged with you and your customers. We all like to share our opinions, don’t we?

holiday contest idea

3 Tips for Holiday Vote Contests

  • Vote contests are easy to enter – all participants need is to voice their choice
  • Make your vote contests festively themed, and a little bit controversial – to encourage motivation to enter
  • Topic ideas: “fake tree vs. real tree”; “turkey vs. ham”; “gift card vs. wrapped gift” (to get; to give); “eggnog vs. hot chocolate”; “vacation to visit family; host family; travel somewhere warm”, etc.

5. Holiday Essay Contest

An essay contest is a great way to get your customers to share stories and tips about the festive season.

holiday contest idea

3 Tips for Holiday Essay Contests

  • Make a short word count limit for your entries – keep them easy to read and skim
  • Make your essay contest topics emotionally meaningful
  • Topics ideas: “What do the holidays mean to you”; “Share your best recipe of ____”; “Share a charitable moment this season”, “Dear Santa letters”

6. Discounts and Coupons

Everyone loves a great deal at this time of year. Make coupons on your website and social sites to help boost sales.

Email-gate them, so you can collect participants’ contact information. Nurture your new leads by sending out automated emails – and keep your customers coming back in the new year.

holiday contest ideas

3 Tips for Holiday Discount Coupons

  • People love to get a deal at this time of year
  • Make coupons available for your social followers and website visitors
  • Make your coupons mobile enabled

7. TikTok Challenges

TikTok challenges are one of the best ways to go viral online. Try to create some kind of a challenge (like a dance) and add a holiday spin to it. Create a branded hashtag to go with the challenge to get people talking about your business online.


WIN $10k! Show us how u #pullofftheholidays Tag us & enter using #sunmaidholiday #craft #bakedgood #snack #contest 🤑 Rules in bio #fyp #holidaytok

♬ FEEL THE GROOVE – Queens Road, Fabian Graetz

3 Tips for Holiday TikTok Contests

  • Add a holiday spin to popular TikTok trends or challenges
  • try to incorporate tour products into the challenge
  • Make the branded hashtag contest fun and easy to enter to maximize engagement

8. Holiday Referral Contest

A “refer a friend” contest can motivate your customers to market your offers for you. Give progressively better deals to people who can get their friends to enter.

For example, set up a refer-a-friend contest to give 50% off to people who get 5 friends to enter, and 70% off for people who get 15 people to enter.

You get lots of new email leads – and immediate sales.

holiday referral contest

3 Tips for Holiday Referral Contests

  • Entice your customers to market your content for you
  • Give great deals and prizes to entrants who refer the most friends to sign up
  • Email-gate your refer friend contests to drive leads

9. Holiday Photo Caption Contest

Photo caption contests are fun and easy to enter. They’re really easy to set up – so you could run a new one every day of the 12 days of Christmas.

By running a new contest each day, and giving away a daily prize, you’ll build up momentum – and get more email leads and sales.

holiday photo caption contest

3 Tips for a Holiday Photo Caption Contest

  • Caption contests are a lot of fun – and are easy to enter. Make your photo fun and festive
  • Use holiday-related images, and keep them related to your brand lifestyle
  • Photos of animals and kids generate lots of captioning engagement

10. Partnerships

A great way to boost the reach of your social media giveaway is to run a partnership with another brand. This is when you both offer a collaborative prize and tap into each other’s audiences to maximize engagement and gain more entries.

holiday giveaway ideas

3 Tips for Collaborative Giveaways

  • Partner with a complementary brand, not a competitor
  • Advertise the giveaway to both brand’s audiences
  • Get participants to tag friends to increase your contest’s exposure


Running a holiday contest is an awesome way to generate buzz around your brand and attract more customers. At this time of year everyone is looking to buy new products, so its the ideal time to go big on marketing your business.

Get a few more social media marketing tips for the holidays:

Want to run a holiday contest this festive season? Get started by talking with a contest expert today!



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