A Very Macintosh Christmas: A Recap

I wrote a six-part series of tips about how to make your holidays more cheery by using your Apple products. Here are all of the tips in one post for your convenience.

Cali Lewis, Geoff Smith, Paul Colligan, and Neal Campbell put together a 30-minute video of a yule log burning to the sweet sounds of Christmas music. They sell it in editions for your iPod, iPhone, Mac, and AppleTV for prices as low as $5. If that wasn’t cool enough, they also donate a portion of the profit to three different charities. For a very small price, you can do something nice for you, your family, and society on the whole. You can make everyone’s season brighter.

he easiest way to use your Mac to brighten up your holiday season is to change your wallpaper. If you’re a photographer, you can certainly use your own images as your background. In fact, I’d love to see them. Feel free to share them with us in the comments. But what do you do if you don’t have any Christmas-type photos lying around your hard drive? Use the Internet, silly!

Below are search results from Flickr and Google Image Search for Christmas wallpapers in common resolutions. If your specific resolution isn’t listed, just swap out the numbers to best fit your monitor.

Flickr Christmas Wallpapers 1024×768
Google Christmas Wallpapers 1024×768

Flickr Christmas Wallpapers 1440×900
Google Christmas Wallpapers 1440×900

Flickr Christmas Wallpapers 1680×1050
Google Christmas Wallpapers 1680×1050

Flickr Christmas Wallpapers 1600×1200
Google Christmas Wallpapers 1600×1200

Flickr Christmas Wallpapers 1920×1080
Google Christmas Wallpapers 1920×1080

If you’re in the mood to check out some cheery photos, you can view Flickr’s Christmas Slideshow. This will cycle through every photo on Flickr.com that is tagged with “Christmas.”

If you want some Holiday cheer on the go, you can go to the iTunes Store, and look through the Christmas Apps. If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, these apps will brighten up your day for sure.

If you’re in the market for some Christmasy tunes, check out the Top Holiday Albums and Top Holiday Songs on the iTunes Store. iTunes also has holiday collections for 2006, 2007, and 2008.

One of my favorite features of the iTunes Store is the iMix. iTunes users can make their own playlists of music on the store, and then make them available for purchase. If you want to hear what other iTunes users listen to during the holiday season, you can browse the Christmas iMix search page.

Music isn’t the only medium that brings forth holiday cheer, though. Many people grew up watching Christmas movies on television and VHS. That is great, but this is the 21st century. Today we can buy and rent our Christmas movies online! You can view a selection of Christmas flicks right here on iTunes.

Are you cooking meals for the holiday season? Well, you can use the iTunes store for recipes, tips, and inspiration. You can check out some of the the available iPhone and iPod Touch applications, podcasts, and audiobooks about cooking.

Okay, you have a Christmasy wallpaper on your Mac now. That’s great, but what about the wallpaper on your iPhone or iPod Touch? You can use a great free app called Backgrounds to search for cheery wallpapers that fit the aspect ratio of the iPhone/iPod Touch screen perfectly.

Sure, you got some music from iTunes for the holiday season, but how about some free Christmas music? You can search Archive.org for free creative commons/public domain Christmas music that you can use in your audio and video productions. Also, there are a fair number of podcasts that release free Christmas music. Free is always nice.

Need some idea for what to cook this holiday season? You can take a look at the Christmas selection over at BigOven.com. There are over 1,900 recipes tagged for Christmas, so you’ll surely find something you’re interested in. The best part is that it is super easy to drill down on the site, and they even have a free iPhone and iPod Touch app.

As Christmas draws closer, I start looking for more ways to deck my halls with boughs of holly. As I spend a large portion of my day working on my Mac, it only makes sense that I would want to expand my decorations to my desktop too. Well, I looked around, and I found two really great apps that’ll spruce up my Mac.

The first app that I’d like to point out is called X-MasTree. As the name suggests, it offers up a very nice little Christmas tree that sits on your desktop. I dig this app a lot because it offers a surprising amount of customization. You can change everything from the size of the tree to what decorations are on the tree to how fast the lights blink. On top of providing 120% of your daily evergreen requirements, it also offers an optional countdown badge that sits next to your tree and reminds you how many days until Santa visits. All of this and so much more for the low, low price of free.

The other application that I’d like to showcase in this post is called MacLampsX. Not to be outdone, this great application puts Christmas lights all around the sides of your screen. Again, I was blown away at the customization capabilities in this rather small application. Layering, transparency, blinking rate, and style of lights/trimming are all user customizable. A fantastic application for fans of shiny blinking lights. If you like free, you’ll love this app.

Photo Credit: di_the_huntress

Grant is a writer from Delaware. In his spare time, Grant maintains a personal blog, hosts The Weekly Roar, hosts Quadcast, and writes for video games.