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A year of adapting to life during the pandemic has given many of us a new perspective. Schools around the world faced and continue to overcome this unique challenge, showcasing remarkable resilience and readiness to serve and strengthen their communities. 

After a tough year, there’s much to be thankful for as well as things to showcase, celebrate, and look forward to in the new year. So what better way to communicate all of these messages than with an impactful video? 

Around 86% of marketing professionals use video as part of their content strategy, and with good reason—it works, giving 87% of marketers a positive Return on Investment (ROI). By sharing a holiday-themed video on YouTube, the most popular video-sharing platform, schools can give prospects a glimpse into their campus, community, and achievements. It’s also a great way to boost engagement and kick off the new year with a memorable start to a new term.

From heartfelt videos to lighthearted skits, schools have plenty to offer viewers this year. If you’re looking for some fun, holiday-themed entertainment to end the year on a positive note, then you’ve come to the right place! We’ve prepared a list of videos created by a wide range of schools to help us reflect on the first half of the year and prepare to launch us into 2022 with the right mindset. Sit back, relax, and enjoy! 

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1. Remembering the Important Things in Life with UCCS’s Heartfelt Holiday Message 

The holiday season is a chance for us to spend valuable time with loved ones. Despite this year’s challenges, we have been able to connect with one another—growing and learning together. The University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) reminds us of this in their “Thankful for You” 2021 Holiday Message:

YouTube video

Here, UCCS Mountain Lions share insights into what they’re most thankful for. Students, teachers, and even Boomer, the school mascot, join in to remind us of what’s most important: our family, health, friends, and community.

What makes it even more impactful is watching everything come together. Each key point in the video is introduced by a member of the community, with each one playing a part in delivering the overall message. Viewers not only meet new faces but also discover parts of campus, watching how current students interact in this space in the background. 

2. The Clayton County Public School District Shares a Thoughtful Holiday Video

The end of the year can be a stressful time as we try to accomplish as much as possible before the end of the year. With that goal occupying our minds, it can be easy to overlook the bigger picture. Clayton County Public Schools’ video message ensures that we don’t—reminding us to stop in our tracks, breathe, and spend some much-deserved quality time with our loved ones. 

Sit back and relax while watching this heartwarming holiday message:

YouTube video

Dr. Morcease J. Beasley, Superintendent and CEO of Clayton County Public Schools, kicks us off with an important reminder to de-stress and enjoy this special time of the year, wishing us a restful, fun-filled holiday. Other community members pitch in via personal videos to share what they’re most thankful for—ranging from teachers and staff to students from a variety of schools within the School District. Their sincerity is guaranteed to make you smile, capturing the warmth and spirit of this festive season.

3.  Students Work Together to Spread Christmas Cheer across Cedarville University’s Campus

A holiday-themed video gives schools the chance to be creative with higher education marketing. It can be a way to highlight a school’s personality and voice—allowing prospects to connect with the school on a deeper level and witness firsthand how the community comes together. That’s exactly what happens in Cedarville University’s light-hearted video, “Campus Christmas Story”:

YouTube video

Christmas bells set the tone for this engaging video, which immediately starts when a storybook flips open. It’s narrated in a fun rhyme scheme that perfectly describes the accompanying footage. Viewers get to see students on campus acting out different parts of the “Story,” even realizing midway that it’s narrated by Stinger, the school’s mascot. 

Our favourite part? Watching actual students work together late into the night, smiling widely and carrying gifts as they decorate their campus and spread Christmas cheer all around. It’s definitely a 2021 highlight that perfectly encapsulates the holiday spirit through a fun and engaging story.

4. A Simple Animated Christmas Message from Walden University

Animation can be a fun and creative way to express messages this holiday season. Through a short and beautifully animated video, Walden University shares its wishes for peace, joy, and good health:

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The wintery landscape is peppered with Walden University’s own branding–from the Uppercase W in the distance to the Walden-labeled bookcase at the forefront. The handwritten message fits perfectly with the style of the video, making it feel more wholesome and personal. Walden also takes the opportunity to introduce their Community Library initiative in a way that subtly reflects this wonderful time of giving.

5. Celebrating Milestones and Innovations with UToledo College of Engineering 

Wondering how schools have showcased all that they have achieved in the past year? Watch this  post secondary holiday video that celebrates milestones and innovations at the University of Toledo’s College of Engineering: 

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Dr. T Michael Toole Dean of the College of Engineering takes this time to highlight notable achievements of faculty and students—mentioning innovative research, awarded grants, and standout events that have brought the whole community together. Here, viewers get a glimpse into just how successful the College has been in the past year while looking at a range of photos that capture these memorable moments. 

Ultimately though, the key message is clear: may this holiday season be filled with good food and good cheer, and may 2022 be a great year for us all! In this way, the video marks the end of a chapter and the start of a new one. 

6. Kickoff the Season with the Heritage International School’s Virtual Holiday Concert

With so many in-person events being cancelled or postponed, it can be difficult to spread holiday cheer with others outside of your school’s community. That said, the Heritage International School in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia manages to pull it off with an adorable virtual holiday concert:

YouTube video

Premiering in late November 2021, the Heritage International School’s virtual concert launches us into the holiday season with classic Christmas songs that are sure to put you in a good mood. This video, presented in a variety of formats depending on each set, actually feels like a concert and talent show. Videos are filmed by the students as they sing, dance, and deliver their lines—even waving goodbye and taking a bow as their performance comes to an end.

7. A Sweet Compilation of Student Holiday Cards from the Houston Independent School District

A holiday video doesn’t have to be complicated for it to create a heartwarming response. In the season of giving, greeting cards symbolize a thoughtful gesture. The Houston Independent School District shares student-made holiday greeting cards in its holiday video—highlighting students’ creativity and holiday spirit. Each card features personal artwork and is accompanied by the student’s name, their school and grade level, as well as a quote set to relaxing holiday music:

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It’s worth noting that using student-generated content in this way can be a great source of inspiration. Student-made greeting cards and quotes can even be shared on social media to showcase students’ talents while strengthening ties within the community. Prospective families can then view this content and develop a more positive image that makes your school more relatable and promotes stronger relationships. 

8. UNLV College of Fine Arts Expresses its Gratitude in this Post Secondary Holiday Video 

A holiday content marketing video can give schools an opportunity to address their community–reflecting on the past and setting goals for the future. Nancy Uscher, the Dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), uses this opportunity to thank donors and show how their support makes all the difference in the following message:

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The video vibrantly displays different disciplines that benefit from donor support, covering everything from visual artists and architects to choreographers and filmmakers. Viewers can feel inspired by the sheer talent being fostered at the university while also feeling encouraged to, as Nancy puts it, “educate, guide, mentor, and inspire our future leaders.”

Those who stick around to the very end of the video are treated to a funny snowman comic that is sure to put you in the holiday mood wherever you are. 

9. Smile Along with UNC Greensboro Bryan School of Business and Economics This Holiday Season  

A higher education holiday video can be lighthearted in addition to being heartfelt. Through a funny and short skit, schools can showcase their unique personality along with their sense of humour to better appeal to prospects and current students. The University of North Carolina Greensboro Bryan School of Business and Economics embraces this idea in their 2021 holiday video:

YouTube video

It’s a simple concept that introduces the School’s Dean, McRae “Mac” Banks, in a fun and creative way. Instead of sharing a video that speaks directly to viewers, the Dean shares his own struggle with setting up Christmas lights. With the help of Matti Carey, the School’s Assistant Director working in Alumni Engagement and Events Management, Mac finally succeeds in an iconic “hallelujah” moment. 

His tireless efforts to spread holiday cheer on campus result in a wholesome video that is bound to leave you smiling as widely as Mac himself. 

10. Texas Woman’s University Mascot Lifts Our Holiday Spirits, Wishing Us Happy Holidays 

Featuring a school mascot is a great way to showcase school spirit in a holiday video. It introduces beloved characters to a wider audience, generating buzz and lots of holiday cheer. Texas Woman’s University embraces its mascot in this holiday season—showing us the grace and reach of Oakley, the owl mascot:

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Here, Oakley is the main character, gracefully twirling and gliding across campus (at all three locations) as students watch and cheer on the performance. There is no narration, but the background music does more than enough to uplift and engage viewers. As the owl proudly travels across campus under a spotlight, we’re able to see different facilities and get a better sense of different campus locations at Texas Woman’s University.  

11. University of Kentucky Showcases its Inspiring Community in this Year’s Holiday Message

As we step into the holiday season, we are given the chance to bring our communities together in celebration of all that we’ve accomplished. Schools can use this opportunity to build stronger ties, foster loyalty, and boost motivation. Holiday messages given by university deans or presidents can have a positive impact on the community, serving to bolster student efforts and encourage even more support.

In this holiday video, the University of Kentucky features President Eli Capilouto as he shares the gratitude, pride, and inspiration he feels for the campus community:

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The focus here is on the school’s mission to serve communities and how it can change the trajectory of families. The President’s message is accompanied by footage that illustrates his point, showing students hard at work on campus as well as those celebrating their graduation with loved ones. These images, set to a gentle soundtrack, can inspire us as we forge our way forward.

12. Join the Lander University Community in This Year’s Tree Lighting Event

A holiday video can do more than just deliver a message. It can be used to share a festive community event with a wider audience. That’s the approach that Lander University takes in their video:

YouTube video

The Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony is an annual event on campus that involves a wide range of festive activities, including DIY ornaments, dance performances, Ferris wheel rides, and horse-drawn carriage rides among many others. This special day is shared in a video that captures the holiday spirit, showcasing the University’s vibrant community as it invites students, their families, and local residents to a memorable celebration. To top it all off, the video features a special announcement that introduces the community’s newest member—making it all the more wholesome. 

Thinking of Making a Holiday Video of Your Own Next Year? 

Despite the challenges of the past year, many schools have continued to create unique content that generates engagement. To help you with your efforts, you can use this list as an inspirational guide when creating your holiday video marketing strategy

Consider highlighting your school’s vibrant community and noteworthy achievements by speaking directly to your viewers in a heartfelt video. Alternatively, you can choose to showcase your school’s voice and personality by integrating your students, teachers, and even the school mascot in a fun and creative way. Your video can feature filmed footage, student-generated content, or animation–taking a few minutes to celebrate past milestones and set the groundwork for even greater things to come.

If you’re still looking for inspiration, or just want to embrace the holiday season with even more creative videos, then be sure to check out last year’s list of notable higher education holiday videos.


Until next time, our team at HEM wishes you all a happy holiday season and a prosperous new year!

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