By now, most companies will already have planned out their yearly holiday party. In fact, companies typically spend more on their office Christmas party than they will on bonuses or birthdays or any other recreational event for their employees throughout the year. Considering that the holiday party is such an investment of time and money, it comes as pretty big surprise that most companies don’t maximize on this investment.

The first mistake organizations make when hosting their annual holiday party is that they forget one very big part of their business: their clients. While some companies will invite their clients, others won’t. In the case of those who do invite clients, the reality is that not everyone can make it. If they do make it, they’re still really limited in their experience of the engagement. The point is, companies are missing the chance to highlight and reinforce their culture during this time of year. The annual office Christmas party is a chance to humanize your brand.

Whether or not a client has attended your annual event, the fact is you should be reinforcing that brand my creating an end-of-year email marketing campaign out of your holiday party. This way, those who didn’t attend can partake in it remotely. Those who attended are reinforced.

Your marketing manager might be wondering what exactly goes in the email campaign highlighting your holiday party. Ideally, you’re going to work with your designer beforehand and discuss a few options to see what can be feasibly done in the free time your designer has between other client-related projects. My absolute favorite pairing would be to create a really fun card-like template that captures the spirit of the season. Include photos of the event and the names and roles of the people in them. Capture photos of the venue too and definitely capture candid shots rather than just staged photos behind a backdrop. If possible, include a video of the person giving the toast. If you’re pairing a charity event or inviting a special guest, make sure that’s featured as well.

The goal of the holiday email campaign is to create a sensation of warmth that invites the reader. The challenge – often seen when companies post-holiday party photos on social media – is to create a connection with your reader rather than looking like you’re in your own world. A way to break through that sort of barrier is to include quotes from the people in the photos as well. This can be gathered after the fact, but it could be about what the employee loved most that year. If you have a smaller number of clients or a specific client you’re targeting, those quotes can be specifically about that client.

Most organizations will host the party in early December while prices are still reasonable at local venues. The mistake would be in thinking that the email campaign needs to go out the next week. Don’t do that. Formulate your campaign and send it out in an email campaign and on social about a week or so before Christmas, so that it’s more in keeping with the heightened festivities around that time.

From there the email campaign to follow the week after Christmas can be reflective piece from the CEO on the year behind us and the year to come. There are a few ways to approach the email that follows next, but however you approach it, it should still follow the theme of humanizing your brand. This means don’t send of end of year promotional email. If you do plan on doing that – which many retail organizations do – make sure you’re sending out your two heart-led email campaigns first: your Christmas party and your end of year message.