This round of Shiny New Toys is all about Christmas! Here's a slew of free plugins to help you enjoy the holidays right on your WordPress website.
You must have known it was coming. How could I have a Ro-FAWP series without a Christmas edition!?
With 44,000+ free plugins on the WordPress Plugin Directory, it’s no surprise that there’s more Christmas-themed plugins available than you can shake a stick at. And if you are hosting an Ugly Sweater WordPress Website Meetup, then this is a post to bookmark for sure.
Since there’s MANY ways to Christmas-ify your website, I’ve split this up into categories. Pick one from each category and you just might have the Ugliest Sweater WordPress Website you’ve ever seen! Huzzah!
You can’t have a Christmas themed site without a cheesy tiled background pattern. And while there are quite a few background image plugins available on the repo, I just couldn’t suggest any of them for this purpose. Instead, any decent WordPress theme now-adays allows you to upload a custom image background and tile it.
There’s many places to get tiled Christmas backgrounds, but this collection really hits the spot for me personally.
If you want to use a different pattern for different pages this is the only plugin I’d recommend since it leverages the native “custom-background” feature of WordPress and is updated and worked fine on my local install:
This is perhaps the largest category of Christmas-ifying plugins. But in the end, WP Super Snow was the only one I felt comfortable recommending here.
WP Super Snow has all the right options for you. You can set it to have snowfall only on a certain div of your site, you can set a timespan so it goes off automatically, you can insert your own snowflake images and determine whether they spin or not. It’s also disabled on mobile devices by default to save the bandwidth — that’s pretty considerate. It’s got just the right options for the right feel for your snowing website.
As a matter of fact, if you’re viewing this on a desktop you can see WP Super Snow in action in my sidebar now.
My only wish for WP Super Snow would be to have a enable/disable shortcode button so users could disable it if they want. I’ve chosen to keep it limited to my sidebar so it doesn’t interfere with reading, but the nature of Twenty Fifteen means the sidebar extends a bit further into the content than I’d like.
Santa is the perennial icon for Christmas. You can’t Christmas-ify your site without him.
Happy Santa puts a fun animated Santa Clause right at the bottom of your screen. It has options for the animation speed, style, and size but as far as pages/posts it’s all or nothing.
For those who just can’t wait for Christmas, this is a handy count-down widget. It now also has a shortcode which allows you to put it just about anywhere you want on your site.
No Christmas is complete without lights and trees and music!
A simple strand of animated Christmas lights across the top of your site.
Add Christmas tree branches and decorations to frame your website.
Add a simple play/pause button to your site to add a “Jingle Bells” atmosphere to your site. Feature request: add an option to have it off or on by default. No one likes auto-play!
Christmas-ify your WP Admin
Why should your visitors have all the Christmas spirit fun? Christmas-ify your Admin with these simple plugins:
Admin Color Schemer is the best way to customize the colors of your WordPress Admin. Add some Green/Red/White or even Blue (for the Chanukah-ifyers among us) to celebrate the season.
Why not be greeted properly this holiday season? Hello Christmas is a “Hello Dolly” replacement plugin.
What About Chanukah and Kwanzaa?
Without getting too political, it was very surprising to me that there’s virtually zero plugins on the Repo for other winter holidays. Someone really should do something about that.
Here’s a couple others I was really impressed with worth checking out but didn’t fit squarely in any one category:
- MMX – Make Me Christmas — This plugin adds snow, christmas trees, snowmen and more all in one plugin. It also has a Pro version if you really want to take it to the next level.
- ChristmasPress — A Christmas themed Theme makes is VERY easy to Christmas-ify your site
- WP Scheduled Themes — Maybe a theme is a better way for you to go for Christmas. If so, you don’t want it on all the time, you want to schedule it. Now you can.
If you’ve Christmas-ified your site for the season, leave a comment. I’d love to see it.
Also in this Series:
This week we cover 5 brand new Shiny Toys on the WordPress Plugin Directory that address Custom CSS, Testimonials, Events, and Social Share Buttons.
Mobile Buttons, Login Forms, and Responsive Tables, oh my!