You probably shouldn't get emails from your boss on holidays, but it might happen anyway. In those situations, use brief responses that say you'll deal with it later to respond. Or better yet, set up a holiday auto-responder.
Photo by Alexander Lyubavin.
As advice site The Muse explains, if you respond to work emails on while on holiday like it's any other day, you can erode the boundaries between your work and regular lives. If you want to maintain some distance from your job on the days you have off, an automatic email response helps establish that you're not available. If you don't want to set one of those up, however, at least stick with short messages that say you'll deal with it when you're back on the clock:
Now, if you're confused as to whether they expect to hear back and start feeling uneasy, send a one-line note that makes it clear you didn't intend to work today. Even though you're communicating with them in real time on a holiday, you'll want to skip the small talk. That's because responding as you usually do (think: Starting your note "Happy Holidays! Can't wait to hear how your pie turned out!" ) normalizes and encourages their behaviour. Instead try one of the following:
"Just made a note to respond to this more in-depth as soon as I'm back in the office."
"I can't give this my full attention today, but am happy to review it first thing Monday morning."
"I'll look this over when I'm back in the office next week."
Of course, you also have to judge for yourself a little bit. If people's lives depend on your job, then maybe a longer email response is warranted, but that probably isn't the case. Maybe your boss has a legitimate emergency, but more likely they're just getting work done when they shouldn't and you don't have to let them drag you into that habit as well.