Pi Projects for Christmas: the top 18
things to do with Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi LED blinking lights
and other projects ideas for 2019

Is there Windows 10 for Android

Pi projects are represented by a great variety nowadays. Thus, this great diversity of things to do with Raspberry Pi scales up during such days as Christmas holidays. This happens not only due to the amount of free time that avid makers usually have during the Christmas holidays. It also comes from a surge in demand for automation solutions and smart IoT products (like Raspberry Pi LED Blinking lights, ) that actually comprises the best uses for Raspberry Pi technology.

To inspire thousands of our daily visitors we’ve made a chart consisting of the best Raspberry Pi projects for Christmas. Read up to the end to learn the most proficient ones.

Christmas Raspberry Pi Projects Chart

Our list of selected projects (in accordance with the opinion of our editorial team) is based on the best Raspberry Pi 3 projects for 2018 and includes:

  1. A RetroPie Retro Gaming Bundle
  2. Santa Detector
  3. LED candles for Advent
  4. Christmas Photo Booth
  5. Christmas-Themed Smart Mirror
  6. Christmas Tree Home Automation
  7. Exterior Christmas Lights
  8. Raspberry Pi Media Center for a Party
  9. Digital Photo Frame Tree Decoration
  10. Smart Gingerbread House
  11. Raspberry Pi Fireplace
  12. Frosty the Spyman
  13. Twitter-controlled Lights
  14. MIDI-Based Christmas Lights Animation System
  15. IoT Santa Tracker
  16. Animated Smart Elf
  17. GiftBot: The Presents Delivery Unit
  18. Responsive Automatic Player of Christmas Songs

Note, that though most of the projects are based (or recommend) Raspberry Pi 3, any RPi model is possible. The list includes easy Raspberry Pi 3 projects as well as the advanced ones, so you can choose something of your level.

A RetroPie Retro Gaming Bundle

What can be a better Christmas gift than an all-in-one all-times gaming console, allowing you to play almost any console game ever created? Only the one with extended functionality, allowing you to play retro PC games on the same device! And we’ve done that! Learn all the details in our Retropie Retro Gaming console on Raspberry Pi complete tutorial.

To prepare such a marvelous Christmas present you will need:

  • Raspberry Pi 3 or 2
  • Micro SD card (8Gb minimum)
  • Micro SD card for Retropie gaming machine
  • USB Controllers of your choice (almost any USB-controllers are compatible, even XBox360 and Wii)
  • USB Controllers for Retropie gaming machine
  • A mouse and a keyboard (for the first-time setup)
  • Mouse and a keyboard for Retropie gaming machine
  • A TV or a monitor (with HDMI and/or AV cables)
  • A monitor for Retropie gaming machine
  • Additional PC (Windows, Linux or Mac) for initial SD card installation and ROMs transferring

Also, this type of project is a good example of one of the best Raspberry Pi applications to real life, illustrating a lot of capabilities of these development boards and what tasks can be performed within this technology.

Santa Detector

If you are a kid reading this now, for you we must say – Yes, this is a real Santa detection device. As soon as it beeps, open your eyes wide and catch this benevolent old man!

For our adult readers – this is a kind of a programmable toy-device for imitating the detection of a motion of a special person under tracking. The device is generally based on Raspberry Pi infrared sensors which activate an alarm signal as soon as someone is detected. All this makes Santa Detector one of the most interesting IoT projects using Raspberry Pi for 2018 (and even 2019).

You will need:

  • Raspberry Pi 2 or 3
  • 1 x passive infrared sensor
  • 3 x female-to-female jumper leads
  • A small screwdriver
  • Speakers or headphones
  • Scratch 2 with GPIO support

The details have been kindly represented on the Raspberry Pi Foundation special website section – read here.

LED candles for Advent

Some Christmas advents are held annually and this always starts different dates. The good decision not to miss even a minute of your beloved Christmas action is to set up the automatic LED advent candles. They are going to switch an automatically as soon as the start of advent is announced.

For Such project you will need:

  • Raspberry Pi model B and 8GB SD Card with NOOBS preinstalled
  • Basic USB optical mouse
  • Basic USB keyboard
  • DS1307 I2C real-time clock on breakout board
  • Jumper wires for use on breadboard
  • Breakout and expansion board for Raspberry Pi
  • Small breadboard sized to fit Pi Plate
  • Clear acrylic enclosure for Raspberry Pi
  • 100V 150mA silicon diodes
  • 100 ohm, 250mW carbon film resistor
  • Small SPST tactile switch with through hole connections
  • 4.75mm 4:1 shrink ratio PTFE heat shrink tubing
  • 20AWG solid copper hook-up wire – red
  • 20AWG solid copper hook-up wire – white
  • 4000 mAh Li-Ion battery pack with USB outputs and included cables
  • Pink and purple battery operated LED candles

The Author of the project is Drew Fustini. Full description is here.

For those of you who love video demonstrations, watch below.

Christmas Photo Booth

Memorable moments must be shot on the camera. All of them. But what would you do if you drown or destroy your smartphone somehow in the middle of the Christmas party? Always keep this indispensable photo booth made on Raspberry Pi around! you’ll have to prepare some 3D printed components in advance. Also, constructing a unique background for your photo booth will make this even more attractive for your guests.

Basically, to release your own Christmas Photo Booth you’ll need:

  • Raspberry Pi 3 single-board computer with microSD Card
  • Raspberry Pi Camera Module
  • Raspberry Pi Touch Display, 7″
  • Micro-USB power supply least 2A at 5V for the Pi 3, or 700mA
  • Machine screws: M2.5, 10mm, M2.5, 6mm and M2×6mm
  • Mounting brackets
  • Hex nut, ¼-20 (optional) for the 3D-printed tripod stand

This marvelous project has been kindly described by Kevino, Justin Shaw and Jenny Ching on our favorite Make Magazine here.

Christmas-Themed Smart Mirror

If you’ve got some old laptop, give it a second within a new smart thing which can really accompany these holidays – a smart mirror. With such a mirror The idea is simple: you can not only see your reflection but also gain very useful information, like the weather forecast, latest news, stock markets… You can even display the latest twits form your friends – the limitation is your imagination only!

To make this great project you won’t need a lot!

  • Some Broken laptop
  • Raspberry Pi 2 or 3 (Pi 3 is better due to built-in Wi-Fi option)
  • Thick wood (for a frame)
  • A Kreg jig (for a frame)
  • 1-way mirrored acrylic sheet
  • Suitable power supply
  • A display controller board

The author, James Bruce from Make Use Of, kindly describes his project here.

ExaGear smart mirror Raspberry Pi project for Christmas

Christmas Tree Home Automation

A very bright example among Raspberry Pi projects for home automation. The main feature of this home automation idea is an emphasis on controlling the tree and home lights, not the entire house.

When people decorate their homes with great trees and lights on them, the controlling those lights becomes a real issue. To make them blink, perform different sequences or even adjusting the lights brighter or dimmer makes you come up and switch on something with your hands. But what if you could do it remotely and with your own voice?

Alex Ellis made this come true. Here is the project which combines Alexa speaker with Raspberry Pi Zero W into a new Christmas home automation kit.

Exterior Christmas Lights

As it’s been mentioned in the previous case that one of the best Christmas decorations are lights. But how to do such controllable and adjustable lights system for the entire house, not just for a Christmass tree? Obviously, this is a project of a bigger scale. This case is explained in details by David W – an RPi maker who’s got a youtube channel. Just watch the video below.

Raspberry Pi Media Center for a Party

One of the most important parts of Christmas, after dinner with the family, is the Christmas Party! The tree is decorated, lights are ready, the presents are prepared, so the only thing left is the entertainment. The best solution for that would be a simple and reliable media center for collecting, keeping and playing back all the music, video, photo and other media when the moment requires.

Basically, you may be really interested to get Plex Media Server ready for your Christmas party. Just use our detailed tutorial for that.

You may also need Spotify on your Raspberry Pi media center to help you easily manage your party music. Also, add Netflix service to offer some beloved Christmas TV-shows or movies to your guests.

For all of these cases, you will only need a Raspberry Pi device and some basic programming skills. In case you don’t have them, just read our tutorials (↑).

Digital Photo Frame Tree Decoration

Interesting type of a Christmass tree decoration is going to be a digital photo frame built on Raspberry Pi. Besides, it can really amaze your guests. Moreover, just connect it to your smart RPi media center (↑) and display anything you like. Techie!

For this IoT thing you’d better prepare:

  • Raspberry Pi (any model)
  • Raspberry Pi Touchscreen Display
  • SD Card or Micro SD Card if you’re using a Raspberry Pi 2, 3 or B+ (8 GB+ Recommended)
  • Ethernet Cord or Wifi dongle
  • External Hard drive or USB Drive
  • Raspberry Pi Case
  • USB Keyboard
  • USB Mouse

Though the idea of making up a photo frame was offered by some unknown hobbyist, the best description of the project was made by Gus from PiMyLifeUp in his post.

Smart Gingerbread House

Probably, one of the most discussed project on the web and, especially, on Youtube. The author of the project is Estafannie De la Garza. Her smart Gingerbread house can play music, and can be controlled remotely from an iPad: turn on and off its lights, close and open its door, make two gingerbread men inside dance. Also, the house is responsive and reacts to the approaching objects (the way you set up choosing from the available moving options). Look yourself, Estafannie describes everything very clearly in her video ⤵.

Raspberry Pi Fireplace

A DIY Raspberry Pi powered fireplace with Neopixel LED strips is what you really need for a cool thematic Christmas Party! =)

Though such a fireplace won’t make a space around any warmer, it can really create a good atmosphere for the evening. Brian Federico, the author of this project, describes all the mounting, programming and even dealing with woodworks on his blog.

This fireplace will require:

  • Raspberry Pi (any model)
  • Adafruit Neopixels
  • 2x4s and oak plywood veneers
  • 30 LED strips
  • Wires for LED strips
  • 2x4s and oak plywood veneers

Frosty the Spyman

This item is called “Frosty the SPyman” because it is a kind of disguised video surveillance for your home. This is a toy Snowman with a digital surveillance camera, which can live stream video and even follow the objects. In the context of general holiday decorations, it’s the perfect way to monitor if everything is OK at home, or in a particular room. Especially, if you’ve got kids and infants in the house.

For that unit you’ll need:

  • Raspberry Pi 3
  • Raspberry Pi camera module
  • A servo
  • Adafruit PCA 9685
  • Jumper wires
  • A screwdriver

And the software:

  • MJPG streamer
  • Thonny IDE

Twitter-controlled Lights

Holiday lights are a classic, and smart lighting with a Raspberry Pi adds a modern twist. This project uses Twitter to control lighting with various hashtags and mentions. This impressive project described by Raymond Jones and Chris Poplawski in this document.

The project consists of the two types of components: hardware and electronic.

For the hardware you need to get:

  • Raspberry Pi 3
  • SainSmart 4Channel 5v Relay Module
  • Female to Female Jumper wires
  • SanDisk 16GB SD Card
  • CanaKit 5v Raspberry Pi Power Adapter
  • Canakit Raspberry Pi 3 Case

The electronic components include:

  • 12inx12in Junction box with lid
  • Leviton 15 Amp Duplex Outlet
  • 1-Gang 8 cu. In. Flanged Shallow Old Work Box
  • Husky 9ft. 14/3 Power Tool Replacement Cord
  • 2-Gang 2 Duplex Outlet Wall Plate – Stainless Steel
  • Southwire 50 ft. 14 gauge Stranded wire (electrical wires should have the same gauge)
  • 34 Yellow In-Sure 4-Port Connector (10-Pack)
  • Loctite 0.85 fl. oz. Plastic Epoxy
  • 1/8th in. wide by 1⁄4 inch long machine screws with nuts and washers

MIDI-Based Christmas Lights Animation System

We consider this as one of the most complicated, outstanding and well-prepared projects. The core idea is to make up an animation system, which reacts to the rhythm and music and makes the lights flash accordingly. In his project, Christian Kratky combines a Raspberry Pi device, C# and Windows 10 IoT Core.

For a complete system you will need (both hardware and software):

  • Raspberry Pi 2 Model B
  • 32 Solid State Relays
  • 4 pieces of PCF8574
  • 12V/1,25A Power Supply for DIN rail
  • 5V/2,4A Power Supply for DIN rail
  • Windows 10 IoT Core
  • Microsoft Windows 10 IoT Core
  • Ardour
  • Visual Studio 2015
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2015
  • loopMIDI

IoT Santa Tracker

Remember this Santa Detector we’ve mentioned earlier in this article. Make a step up and create the Santa Tracker, which imitates the moving of St Nicolas displayed on a digital world map. Great fun for kids on Christmas Holidays.

For that device you will need the following hardware and software:

  • Arduino MKR1000
  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B
  • 2 FR-1 Printed Circuit Board Blanks
  • Translucent Colored Cast Acrylic
  • 30 pieces of Neopixel WS2812B
  • Micro USB female connector
  • 30 pieces SMD 10uF Capacitor
  • SMD 1000uF Capacitor
  • 4 M3 Nylon screws
  • standoffs and nuts
  • Arduino IDE
  • Python
  • Flask
  • Autodesk Eagle CAD
  • Otherplan

The full project description is made by Bowen Feng and can be found here.

Animated Smart Elf

A very simple in functionality but quite complicated in production is a smart Toy Christmas Elf. It can only wave his hand when someone approaches it. But still, it uncovers the power of Raspberry Pi technologies and the variety of uses for different types of sensors. All the details of the project read here.

To build this funny Christmas toy, you will need:

  • Raspberry Pi 2 Model B
  • Dexter Industries PivotPi Servo Controller for the Raspberry Pi
  • Small Servo for the PivotPi
  • Dexter Industries Raspbian for Robots SD Card
  • Wifi Dongle
  • Dexter Industries GrovePi Zero
  • Ultrasonic Sensor
  • 4XAA batteries
  • USB Power Battery
  • Small Twist Wires
  • A Toy Elf

GiftBot: The Presents Delivery Unit

Again, this is an IoT smart toy whose aim is accurate and joyful delivery. The robot will move according to the programmed route and carrying whatever you wish on board. As we are talking about Christmas holiday the bot was made Christmas reindeer style and decorated with a couple of deer and … the Elf! (↑)

Besides delivery, the Robot can also sin songs via its speaker and accompany itself with lights animation through the LED lights. Read the full description here.

To make this wonder, prepare the following:

  • Dexter Industries GoPiGo basics for a robot
  • Raspberry Pi (any model)
  • Raspberry Pi Speaker
  • Red Grove LED lights
  • Various LEGO Technic parts
  • Toy Elf
  • Manila Folder Cardstock
  • Python

Responsive Automatic Player of Christmas Songs

Greet yourselves and your guests with music as soon as you or they enter the room. The idea is based on Raspberry Pi and a couple of sensors. The sound is activated when the door is opened and the signal between the two resistors is terminated. Find all the details on Ian Buckley’s MakeUSeOf blog here.

Final Note

Of course, there are much more Raspberry Pi projects. We have chosen the brightest ones (to our opinion). Obviously, these are the makers, who create all the valuable things, are making all this possible. So, our company, Eltechs, which is into software development is doing its best in helping such makers and enthusiasts throughout the entire world.

ExaGear Desktop software can help them by widening programming possibilities of Raspberry Pi hardware merging x86 and ARM-based core architectures.

Learn More About ExaGear

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