6 December Contest Ideas That Will Surprise and Delight Your Customers This Year

December is a crucial month for connecting with customers. Social media contests and giveaways can help capture leads and give back to the community.

By Will Blunt ・5 min read
Campaign & Contest Ideas

With all the fanfare and chaos for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday… you may feel like taking a breath in December.But don’t put your feet up just yet. December is another BIG month of consumer spending and a critical time for you to connect with your customers and clients.With Christmas on the horizon and plans for New Year’s Eve in full swing, your customers are in “active” mode when it comes to interacting with brands.Social media contests and giveaways offer an interactive and exciting way to tap into this mindset. Not only will they help you capture leads that you can share all of your great December offers with, but contests also work well for getting in the spirit of the holidays by giving back.Here are six December contest ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

#1. Run a charity drive

For many people, your customers included, December is a time for giving back to those less fortunate.It’s cold, in North America at least, soup kitchens are busy, and young children all over the country are missing out on the full Christmas experience.Think about how this affects your customers and run a charity-based contest that gives back to the community. For example, you may host a toy drive for less fortunate kids, or give away a series of toy packages to local charities of an entrant’s choice.Don’t lose sight of the meaning of this type of contest, either. Yes, it will build goodwill and credibility with your customers, but it’s not about your brand - it’s about the less fortunate people you’re supporting. The rest will happen naturally.

#2. Build suspense with multi-day contests

Advent calendars are all the rage at this time of year. From stationery brands to skincare products and movie behemoths such as Marvel, there is a reason these calendars are so popular.They build suspense and anticipation.Not knowing what prize, gift, or trinket is sitting behind the door on the next day is exciting. For the most part, the actual prize is low-value, but that’s unimportant. It’s about the experience.You can replicate the concept of an advent calendar by running a multi-day contest in December. Giveaway calendars encourage repeat visits to your landing page by offering different prizes every day during a period of time. Participants are incentivized (and excited) to return to your contest day after day to see what prize is next.With ShortStack’s Giveaway Calendar Template you can get your very own multi-day contest up and running in minutes. As well, it allows you to lock future days so that participants will need to come back if they want to find out what is behind the curtain!

ShortStack's Giveaway Calendar TemplateView and Create Your OwnI recommend offering a diverse range of prizes, with high-value prizes mixed in-between lower value prizes. Start with something big, so people want to come back, and then maintain their interest with big prizes every other day.The cool thing about multi-day digital contests is that you can offer coupon codes that participants can use immediately in your store to boost sales.

#3. Humanize your brand with a live giveaway

With social distancing in full swing and Zooms, TikToks, and Facebook Lives more popular than ever, what better time to run a live giveaway with your audience.You could promote it as a digital Christmas party, New Year’s party, or simply a monster December giveaway. Either way, consider how you can maximize the exposure of your brand with an online event.For example, you may run a full-day once-in-a-lifetime December contest live on Facebook. Throughout the day you could interview interesting guests, play interactive games, give away multiple prizes, and all whilst engaging with your customers.Be sure to run it like an in-person event by informing your database in advance, promoting a signup page with banner ads, and building anticipation for what is to come. And, of course, have a way to follow up with people that participate in the event by collecting the contact details of entrants on a standalone landing page.

#4. Highlight the customer

Shining a light on your customer at this time of year enables you to connect with them on a personal level and create a strong and lasting bond.One way of establishing this type of interaction is with a photo contest. Photo contests not only involve the customer in your marketing but they also help you collect user-generated content. And, there is no shortage of photo contest ideas in December.Dress-ups are always a fan favorite. From the best Santa outfit to a team of Elves, encourage your audience to get creative and wow you with a photo of their outfit. Or, you can have entrants vote for their favorite photo, which creates even more brand engagement.


ShortStack's Voting Contest TemplateView and Create Your OwnAnother December photo contest that garners a lot of attention is a decoration contest. Think of Christmas tree decorations, outdoor light displays, or New Year party celebrations. The more extravagant you can encourage your customers to get with their photo entries, the more interest your contest will receive.

#5. Go beyond Christmas

While I’ve predominantly discussed Christmas marketing ideas in this article, December has so much more to offer. When you’re planning your December contest, don’t be limited by Kris Kringle.Sure, there is New Year’s Eve to consider, too, but there are also numerous other events in this month that make for contest inspiration. December 1st is National Pie Day, the 5th is International Ninja Day, and the 16th is National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day!As with any month in the year, these examples are just scratching the surface.If Christmas or New Year’s Eve don’t feel like a good fit for your brand, or you just want to do something a bit different, check out some other events and themes you could draw inspiration from to engage your customers.

#6. Look towards the new year

Yes, the holiday period can be a very fruitful one for businesses, especially those in retail or eCommerce. But what happens next?December is the perfect time to prepare for the new year. After all, the last thing you want to deal with is a huge drop in sales come January… even though it’s a likely scenario. Instead, you want to find and nurture long-term brand advocates.When planning your December contest, think about how it can aid your marketing efforts in the future. Here are some tips:

  • Collect contact details and segmentation data so that you can deliver relevant and personalized marketing messages to new contacts.
  • Use the refer-a-friend giveaway structure to encourage customer referrals and expand your audience reach.

ShortStack's Refer-a-Friend Contest TemplateView and Create Your Own

  • Build a long-term email follow up sequence for contest entrants that re-engages them at key junctures in the new year.
  • Get new product inspiration and feedback from interactive “pick a prize” contests so you can release popular products that people will buy.

ShortStack's Pick Your Prize Giveaway TemplateView and Create Your OwnAll-in-all, make sure your December contest is more than a lead grab. Focus on customer loyalty and retention from the beginning and reap the rewards in the long-term.


December is not the time of year to take your foot off the gas pedal.Just because Black Friday is behind us, there is still lots of love and excitement to spread.When coming up with a contest idea this December, think about the mindset of your customers. Are they looking for you to give back to the community? Or are they just on the hunt for deals and coupons!Whatever it is, design your giveaway accordingly and use the data you collect to prepare the business for the new year.

About the author

By Will Blunt ・5 min read

Will Blunt is the founder of Sidekick Digital by Will Blunt - B2B Marketing Expert - Sidekick Digital, a publishing business that launches, manages, and grows brands with content marketing.

Get marketing tips straight to your inbox

Thank you!
Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
We’ll email you 1-3 times per week—and never share your info.