Dressing Up Linux for the Holidays Revisited

This is an update of an article I ran three years ago on customizing Linux for the holidays.  The biggest difference is that the Window Maker theme used is of my own design.

Season’s Greetings, everyone. The holiday season is upon us, so I thought I’d take a break from my usual blog on open source educational technology and write about a something a little more lighthearted.

f you want to make your Linux desktop look more festive for the holidays, all you need is a little time to do this.

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Xscreensaver Preferences Window

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to do add holiday cheer is to set your screensaver to Fuzzy Flakes. If you go into Settings, you can set the background color to something that might be a little more seasonally festive than the default pink. The screenshot on the left shows the Xscreensaver Settings window.

Next you’ll want to set a holiday-themed background.

screenshot of a snow covered lane,holidays

The author’s December Window Maker theme

Simply search for “linux christmas (or the holiday of your choice) wallpaper” in your favorite search engine and you’ll get plenty of hits. Choose one or several of your liking and download them. Once downloaded, use your desktop environment preferences utility to setup the desktop background of your choice. On a related note, you can also find Christmas/holiday themes for your desktop environment or window manager. If you’re experienced in creating Window Maker themes, it’s easy enough to design your own.  Check out the great Window Maker theme, December, that I created in the screenshot to the right.

The next item you’ll want to obtain to complete that holiday look (at least if you live in the northern hemisphere) is Xsnow.

screenshot of Window Maker desktop,holidays

Xsnow running on my festive Window Maker desktop (note Santa and his reindeer just to the left of the center of the screen).

Xsnow is an application developed by Rick Jansen that generates snowfall on your computer screen. You may already have it installed. Open a terminal and type “xsnow” and it should start right up, if it’s installed. A gentle cascade of snow is not all that Xsnow gives you. You also notice tiny fir trees appear on your screen as well. To add to the fun, Santa can be seen driving his sleigh and reindeer through the snow with Rudolph leading the way. Xsnow can be customized in a number of ways, so I’d suggest you read the Xsnow manual page (type “man xsnow” in a terminal window) to learn more. The screenshot shows my Window Maker session dressed up for the holidays with Xsnow running to enhance the effect.

That’s all for now. Have a safe and happy holiday season.


December Window Maker Theme



Dmytro, B. (2004). Fuzzy Flakes [computer software]. GNU General Public License.

Jansen, R. (2001). Xsnow [computer software]. GNU General Public License.

Whittum, C. (2017). December [computer software].  GNU General License.  Retrieved from http://christopherwhittum.com/window-maker/.

Window Maker [computer software]. GNU General Public License.

Xscreensaver [computer software]. GNU General Public License.