How to gear up your desktop for the Christmas holidays

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I just saw my first Christmas lights a few days ago. Do you know what that means? I’m scrambling on my steep roof and putting up those “wonderful" icicles and decorating our ten foot high trees with lights up to the top. Not to mention those dang candles in the windows (which means putting out the lights on the upstairs windows and closing the shades). But Christmas time isn’t all doom and gloom. It brings a very special time: decorating your GNU/Linux-based PC.


I’ll start off with my collection of Christmas wallpapers (all related in some way to GNU/Linux). Here’s a list of my favorite wallpapers:

You can get all of these in one ZIP from DivShare. Download them, put them in a folder (like /usr/share/wallpapers), and make Gnome or KDE set to rotate between them every minute.


While you’re customizing your look, you’ll want to add a nice theme. If you use Beryl, grab the Christmas Beryl 3D Desktop Cube Theme by tuxramone. GTK users will enjoy the Christmas Theme in blue and green by TheeMahn. If you use Gnome, you’ll also want the Ubuntu Christmas Login theme by thecellodude. KDE users on the other hand should install the Tux-Christmas splash screen by TheOneAndOnlyFoo. Finally, Firefox users will want to try out the Tinseltown by Thomas McMahon (aka TwisterMc). Lastly, if you’re dual booting and using GRUB, create a splash screen using QGRUBEditor (by artemisfowl2007) and one of the wallpapers in the previous section.

Figure 1: Tux-Christmas splash screenFigure 1: Tux-Christmas splash screen


Lastly, a little program for those who like widgets and such. Xsnow (created by Rick Jansen is a really old program for GNU/Linux that sends snow flakes, wind, and sometimes Santa’s sleigh across your desktop (see figure 1). If you use KDE, you need to make sure programs can run in the desktop window (KControl>Desktop>Behavior and check Allow programs in desktop window).

Figure 2: XsnowFigure 2: Xsnow

(C) Andrew Min 2007This article is made available under the "Attribution-Sharealike" Creative Commons License 2.5 available from



kane77's picture

yay! my wallpaper made it to the list! thanx.. I may produce something new for this year's christmas...

Author information

Andrew Min's picture


/ˈændruː/ /mi:n/
(n): a Christian.
(n): a student.
(n): a technology enthusiast.
(n): a journalist for several online publications.

Andrew Min is a student, programmer, and journalist from New York City.

My main forte in the technology realm is journalism. I’ve written for a variety of magazines, both print and non-print, with a focus on open source software and the new web. I’ve also been interviewed on a long list of topics, ranging from politicians on Twitter to open source software and homeschooling.

I also have experience with a variety of programming languages (Bash, Batch, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and (X)HTML) and content management systems (WordPress). I’ve been hired to design and administer several websites. In addition, I’ve been the lead programmer on several small coding projects.