Around the world, there are an inestimable amount of ways to celebrate the holidays. Each household has their own traditions, and those with children often branch out into new, less organized traditions once the kids have grown up and moved out. With technology and media rapidly becoming a more and more integral part of our society, new customs have begun popping up. We can all see the most common Christmas tree in our mind’s eye: some type of conifer (or faux conifer), wrapped with various garlands, strings of lights and ornaments of undetermined composition (that’s just my fancy way of saying that they SAY the round ball ornaments are made of glass, but I’m pretty sure they are made of some satanic polymer meant to break at the slightest jostling). But as we move into this tech-savy culture, even a centuries-old holiday has begun to reflect these changes in innumerable ways. Of course there are the new, more expensive, more elaborate gifts such as laptops, tablets, cellphones, etc. (for geeky holiday gift ideas, check out our Gift Guide [HERE]), but what about the decorations? The gingerbread? The trees?!? Well, don’t worry folks; I’m here to save the day…or holiday season as it may be!
Christmas Trees:Let’s begin with the centerpiece of most peoples’ Christmas: the tree! 1. Now, of course you could go with the faithful old three piece fake tree you bought 10 years ago, but why not switch it up this year? Why not reduce, reuse and recycle by making a Minecraft-esque box tree? Here, Instructables user Makedo-able shows us how to do just that. I’m not sure that they had Minecraft in mind when building this cubist masterpiece, but come on! Can’t you just imagine Creepers just, well, CREEPING all over this thing? (And why not add some pick axes for good measure?) 2. Okay, so this one isn’t so much a tree as a tube, but it’s still beyond awesome! Can you imagine putting this up instead of a tree and watching your cats stare at it, mesmerized, instead of trying to climb the damn thing as if it were Mt. Olympus? That right there is reason enough to make this for this year’s celebrations! 3. Conversely, if you want to REALLY screw with your cats, why not assemble something like this in place of a traditional Christmas tree this year? Just make sure you anchor the strings really well so you don’t wake up Christmas morning to find a ball of fishing line and ornaments with a fluffy tail sticking out, wriggling across the floor. Or maybe that’s what you’re hoping to happen, you sadistic bastard! Just kidding: If I woke up to find one or more of my cats tangled in this version of a Christmas tree, I’d die laughing. 4. For the book lover in all of us, here’s a Christmas tree, Bibliophile style! And don’t worry, unlike many other DIY projects involving books, this one doesn’t cause any harm to your books! At the end of the season, just take the tree down, one book at a time, and fill your bookcase back up! And just imagine how happy your trash guy will be when he doesn’t have to come take away the remnants of your decaying, tinsel covered spruce. Priceless! 5. Now, I’m not sure how much this one counts since it’s not really an alternative to a classic Christmas tree so much as it shows you how to decorate one in a Doctor Who theme. Either way, I’m putting it here, and you can’t stop me! One thing is for sure, I wouldn’t recommend the Weeping Angel tree topper unless you’re a major risk taker. If you’re a less of a risk taker and more of a wibbly-wobbly kind of person, you can make one of these to top off your tree! And hey, this one lights up! 6. An author should never admit to having favorites…. oh wait. Never mind. Parents are what I’m thinking of. Parents should never admit to having favorites. Oh well, anyways: This is my favorite tree in the list. I mean, how much more awesome can one get when asking for a geeky Christmas tree? Now I just have to figure out where to put the presents. Wait! Does this mean that we all get Companion Cubes for Christmas this year?! 7. Are you technology obsessed? Oh… Oops. Forgot who I was talking to for a second. Any who; this tree is for the techno-savvy, social media show offs out there. The tutorial shows you how to hook up your Christmas lights so that they respond to your tweets. As explained in the article, In past times, it has been easy to get too lazy to get up off the couch and change the tree’s lighting. Fortunately, we are living in the modern era, and this no longer needs to be a problem. With the assistance of our good friend, the Arduino and a Twitter-enabled cell-phone, you can now update the tree as you slouch in a food-induced coma on the couch. Simply tweet the colors you would like to see lit and the tree will light up like Christmas magic. Yup, that about sums it up!
Christmas Tree Ornaments:So we’ve got the tree covered. Now, what do we put on said tree? Well, only the geekiest of ornaments, of course! 1. Whether you put them in the window or hang them directly from the boughs of your ever so lovely tree, these Star Wars Snowflakes are pretty much the coolest paper snowflakes I’ve ever seen. I’m not the biggest of Star Wars fans (*pause to allow for collective gasps*), but even I would cut out a bunch these nifty little things and hang them around my house. My only question is; if you hang a bunch of Stormtrooper flakes together, will they randomly burn up in an explosion (who the hell left the blaster next to the tree anyways)? 2. Ever wish you could fly around on a broomstick trying to catch a Golden Snitch? Well, you still can’t. But you can make one to hang on your tree! If you’re really into Harry Potter (like me), you can even re-purpose the figures and boom sticks from your old Hogwarts Lego set and make a whole Quidditch scene! Or why not paint up some wooden blocks to look like steamer trunks and just make the whole tree into an HP homage? And while you’re at it, why not crochet yourself a House Scarf to wrap around the bottom of the tree! Sounds perfectly awesome to me!3. Let’s go slightly old school for a bit and talk about Mario. This jumping plumber has been around for decades now. I think he’s earned a place in our Christmas celebrations, don’t you? You could even dedicate an entire tree to this little fellow and his friends. Start with some of his life-saving fungi buddies, then move on to some beaded versions of him and his pals! And why stop there? You can top the whole thing off with cute, lighted Starman tree topper! If you’re going to theme something, you might as well do it right! 4. Ever wanted to say something but felt like you could only get it out through your keyboard? Well now you can treat your tree the same way! But in all seriousness folks, these ornaments are the key (see what I did there) to a computer themed Christmas Tree. Make them spell words, or maybe key combos for your favorite PC game. Heck, you could even just make a bunch of W-A-S-D balls… you know, assuming you have several keyboards to cannibalize. 5. So we kind of already covered Doctor Who, but come on! There’s never enough of the Doctor in our lives! And clearly, this Instructables user agrees! They made two tutorials to show you how to make not only a mini Tardis, but some Daleks as well. And by god, they light up! While you’re at it, why not head over to this nifty little website and teach yourself how to make some paper craft, cube headed Doctors! Just do yourself a favor and keep an eye on our little robot friends. If you start hearing what sounds like monotone chipmunks saying “exterminate” over and over again, RUN! Or take the little dudes off the tree and put them in time out. Your choice. 6. It seems like, as the years go by, people are becoming more and more obsessed with that creepy little, poseable elf dude. We here at Den of Geek firmly believe in embracing your individuality and in the spirit of this belief, I present you with this tutorial on how to make your own elf ornaments. You can give it any face you want, including your own (a picture please. We don’t need bloody face scraps hanging from trees. Not only would the clean up be horrible, but then explaining to the cops that your favorite website told you that you could, well…let’s just avoid it all together, okay?). You can even take it one step further and also Elf Yourself digitally with Office Max’s cute little web gadget! 7. Since we already talked about making your own elf-self on your computer, why not decorate the space around said computer as well? Even the most downtrodden, cubical dwelling geek needs a little holiday cheer! Why not start with this a-dork-able little USB powered LED Christmas tree? And why stop there? Why not add a USB powered Christmas ball, or even string a strand of USB Christmas lights around your little office space? Oh heck! Why not do them all? And hey, this is a great chance to use that stick figure shaped USB hub that Santa brought you last year! SCORE! 8. Hey, remember that weird lookin’ little dude that was stickier than a glue trap covered in melted caramel (also known as Katamari Damachy), that you spent hours rolling around your TV screen (with the help of a console controller) trying to get as many things as possible stuck to (holy run on sentence, Batman!)? Well, this tutorial shows you how to make a felt version of the little dude’s head to hang on your tree. It’s really kind of morbid when you think about it, so let’s try not to think too much. Let’s just marvel at the cute little severed head you made! And hey, since you’ve already stick the guy’s head on your tree, why not top it off with this Katamari Ball Tree Topper? 9. This whole article is about customizing your holiday decorations, so why not go the extra mile and make your own, scan-able ornaments with a personalized message embedded in your very own QR code? Simply print out the template in this tutorial and then replace the preexisting QR codes with one of your own creation. You can make it link to an e-card, a YouTube video of your favorite Christmas tune, or any number of other things. Just use your imagination and run with it! And while you’re at it, why don’t you link us to your creation in the comment section below? 10. Oh em gee! How have we gotten this far without mentioning everyone’s favorite neurotic scientist? We must remedy this immediately! Wait, I think I already did by mentioning the fact that I had forgotten to mention him earlier. Well, either way, you should go make this cute little, crocheted version of Sheldon to add to your growing collection of geeky ornaments. And if you’re a huge Sheldon fan (like I am), you can even make them in various colored t-shirts! Or if you’re really handy with a crochet hook, you can make each little Sheldon wear one of his ever changing graphic tees. 11. Since we’re already talking about characters with mood disorders, we should probably include Marvin The Paranoid Android. Even if you put aside the fact that the movie adaptation has Warwick Davis (awesome) as the body of Marvin and Alan Rickman (even more awesome) as the voice, the character of Marvin is just so monotonous…yet loveable! I just want to pick the little dude up and hug him and squish him and call him mine (points if you get the reference I slipped in there)! And hey! I bet if you slipped Marvin on your tree of Daleks, he’d keep them in line with his glorious lack of caring!
Christmas Tree Toppers:We already worked a bunch of tree toppers in with amazing Christmas tree ideas, but here’s a couple more because… well… just because they are awesome! So assuming you like supporting the bad guy and have already covered the branches of your tree in the above mentioned Star Wars snowflakes, we can take it a step further! Top that villainous tree with the mothership of all things evil: The Death Star. As much as I usually root for the good guys, this thing is pretty bad ass! Not only does it light up, but it’s also motion activated and has sound! And just to make it even more awesome, every time the motion sensor is activated, it starts “charging the weapons” (slowly lighting up the designated weapons lights) until full, then it “fires” (all lights on full, connected to Death Star Firing sound)! Talk about multifunctional! And using this nifty soundboard, you can add other sounds to it as well. Since I covered the bad guys, I guess I should all add a good guy. You’ve got to give them both their due. In this case, the good guy is Batman with his Bat Signal! I mean, who hasn’t always wished they had their own Bat Signal to use when they’re in need of rescuing? Unfortunately, I don’t think this one is big enough to actually call the big guy to you, but let’s keep the shades drawn just in case, shall we? Wouldn’t want to call the hero away from where he’s really needed.
Christmas Cards and WrappingsNow that we’ve covered the tree and every thing that goes on it, what about the paper to cover the things that go under it? And let’s not forget the festive cards your mother would love to receive from you this year. No really, send your mom a card. 1. Light up ornaments? Cool. Light up Christmas cards? Awesome! This tutorial shows you how to use conductive Bare paint, LEDs, and a watch battery to add some extra pizazz to your cards this year. And this place shows you some cool designs you can use on the cards to please the geek in the recipient. There’s a little something for everyone! Just make sure that the person opening said card doesn’t have a pace maker. Just in case. We don’t want any trips to the emergency room this year. 2. Are you always searching for just the right wrapping paper to cover the gift you got that certain special geek in your life? Look no further (well, a little bit further. I still have to give you the links)! For the Harry Potter lover, you can wrap their presents with decorative quotes from the books (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). Or why not humor them with a HP inspired cross-over meme? They are all color heavy, so you may want to print them out somewhere other than at home. 3. If your geek isn’t so fond of Harry Potter (which I can’t fathom, but I’m sure they’re out there), you can always wrap their presents in delightfully pixelated paper. You can choose between Space Invaders, deer, crowns or snowflakes. Or you could skip the 8-bit throw back and go straight for the word games! Wrap the gifts in some word search wrapping paper and tell them they can’t open it until they find all the words. You get to sit back and grin until they figure out you didn’t give them a list of words to find. At that point, I suggest running. Until then, enjoy!
Christmas DeliciousOkay, we’ve got the tree, the stuff on the tree, the stuff under the tree and the cards. We could stop there, but why spoil the fun? Everyone knows that no Christmas party is complete without snacks! If you’re going to go geek with everything else, why not do it right and keep the theme going into the food as well! 1. What’s the one thing people always think of when they think of Christmas food? That’s right; cookies! Well, unless you’re in my family; then you think of bacon wrapped stuff. But that’s beside the point. Some awesome foodie geeks have created some recipes in honor of some of your favorite movies, games, tv shows and books! Fill a platter with Space Invader butter cookies. Munch on gingerbread Mario or two. And hey, if you have some leftover gingerbread dough from making the Marios, you can try your hand at making a gingerbread version of Hogwarts. Or maybe you’d rather make a gingerbread Tardis. Either way, your coworkers, friends and family are sure to be amazed at your craftsmanship! 2. Had enough cookies? Well then, here’s some purely perfect cakes you could whip up! Start with Beorn’s Honey Cake, add some Jack face cupcakes, and sprinkle in a few Pumpkin Pasties and Lemon Cakes for good measure. Top it all off with one big, amazing, Portal cake! Just make sure to remind everyone that the cake is a lie. That way, you might end up taking the whole thing home with you. SCORE! 3. After all the baked goods, you’ll definitely need something to wash them down with. You could go with the traditional punch or maybe even a glass of wine, but that’s boring! Let’s keep the creativity flowing and make the guests some Mudder’s Milk. Lord knows that by now, you probably need a strong drink. If the Milk isn’t good enough for you, it might be a good idea to pour yourself a nice Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. I bet that by your second or third, that fading festive mood of yours will be back in peak condition!
Geek The Halls!If you haven’t had enough yet, here are a few more ideas to whet your holiday loving whistle!
Okay guys. That’s it. That’s all I’ve got for you this year. Have you got some suggestions of other How To lists that you’d like to see? Or maybe you’ve even got some ideas for next year’s Christmas list. Leave your ideas (and of course your comments in general) in the comment section below! If you have pictures of YOUR geeky Christmas, send them our way! Who knows, you might end up featured in future articles! Happy Holidays guys and gals! *I didn’t forget about all of our non-Christmas celebrating readers out there. My lazy self didn’t get this list written in time for Hanukkah this year. And even though the things on this list are marked for Christmas,” I know that our ever creative readers can surely adapt them to work for their own personal winter time celebrations.* Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all news updates related to the world of geek. And Google+, if that’s your thing!