[Updated Dec. 2018] ‘Tis the season for decorating. Houses are filled with Christmas trees, small baby Jesus figurines, candles burning on menorahs, Santas, and angels.
But what about your website? Does it reflect the joy and fun of this season? Did you decorate it?
Thankfully, there are developers on WordPress who love the Christmas season enough that they created website Christmas decoration plugins!
If you’re reading this blog post, then you’re seeing the “Christmasify” and the “Christmas Greetings” plugins at work.
The plugins are super easy to install, but you’ll want to test them as some of the features might hinder the use of your menu, which isn’t good.
To have some Christmas fun on your website, follow along:
Step #1 – Run a back-up of your site. I’ve installed and tested all of the plugins I’m sharing and had no problems, but having a recent backup is always a good idea before you start installing new plugins.
Step #2 – Go to the plugins section of your dashboard and click on “Add New.”
Step #3 – Search for your desired plugin. You can see my recomendations below. Go to the Add New page. Be sure that you’re NOT searching in the box that says “installed plugins.” You won’t find the plugin unless you’re on the Add New page.
All of these plugins have been recently updated. I all of them prior to recommending them, and this year there’s a new super fun plugin. Christmas Greetings might be my new favorite!
Christmasify – this one has all the bells and whistles. Snow falling, Santa riding across the screen, music playing (if you want), images decorated with a swag of pine boughs, and even headers get turned into a Christmassy font. Be sure to check this one before you turn it all one and turn the auto music OFF.
You can also have a little Christmas swag in the corner of every image which is kind of fun. It’s small and not hugely obtrusive at all.
It’s fun but it can be a little bit much! The snow is pretty “snowy” and it gets a little annoying to try to read with it on the screen. The snow on the next plugin is much better.
Christmas Greetings – This is another “all in one” plugin which seems to be a theme this year. Like Christmasify, this one has snow, a Santa, and a holiday greeting.
Choose your favorite features between this one and Christmasify. You definitely DON’T want all the features turned on for both of these plugins.
This one also has a setting where you can set the date to “turn it off” which is nice. You don’t want to be the house that still has the Christmas lights on over the 4th of July.
The “snow” on this plugin is much lighter so it’s not as distracting, but the lone deer on Santa’s sleigh looks like the Grinch’s dog, so it’s a little bit sad.
I actually prefer the little waving Santa in the corner. He’s cute and he’s also fairly small on mobile.
You can also choose a gift box, and if you click on the box a Christmas greeting pops up. But the box is more in the middle of the site at the bottom, so it covers the text and it shakes really hard, so it’s a bit distracting.
The final fun option is Christmas swag, but this one covers my menu. It’s NOT at the back, so it makes my horizontal menu dysfunctional. If you use this feature, be sure to TEST it.
The main difference between Greetings and Christmasify is that Christmasy has music and Christmas Greetings has a customizable holiday greeting and a turn off function.
Christmas Lights – This one is actually my favorite, but it looks terrible with my left side menu on all of my main pages (except for the blog). If you’ve got a standard menu, it’s kind of fun, but test it as sometimes it’s in front of the menu which means you can’t click the items in the menu which is obviously a problem.
Again, be sure to “test” your decorations. If they interfere with any of your main links or your site’s functions, don’t use them.
The Christmas Countdown Widget didn’t work and threw random code, so I don’t recommend it.
Also, be sure to choose plugins that are compatible with the current version of WordPress. There are a LOT of old Christmas plugins that haven’t been tested or updated in years, so don’t install those.
Step #4 – Once you’ve chosen the plugin you want, search for it. Then, Install and Activate your new plugin.
You’ll need to configure the settings for either Christmasify or Christmas Greetings. To do that, look in the left side black bar on your site and click on either of those plugins to access the settings page. Choose the options you’d like and save.
Then, check your site to see how they look and to make sure they’re not interfering with your menu. Then, share you new decorated site with the world
Step #5 – Share your new, super fun website on social media and with customers and clients. It’s always fun to have visitors on your website.
Step #6 – Sometime between Dec. 26 and Jan. 1, remember to DEACTIVATE your plugin. Make a note in your calendar now to remind you.
Here’s what I’ve got on my site:
Christmas Greetings: santa in the corner
Christmasify: the image swag
The ONLY feature I wish they had was to turn some of these off for mobile or to choose which pages they were on, but unfortunately, those aren’t options. Be sure to check all of these on your phone and tablet to make sure they’re not too distracting or dysfunctional with your site.
Now, it’s time to share! If you decorate, let us see! Put your website in the comments, so we can check out your Christmas spirit, then grab some egg nog, sit back, and relax.
I wish you the best holiday season!
P.S. I have to give credit where credit is due. Years ago when I first started building websites, a developer I worked with (and still do) shared his favorite Christmas plugins with me. So, thank you Neil Matthews!! I’ve decorated my websites every year ever since. And, if you ever need extra help fixing a broken WordPress site, Neil is your guy. You can find him here.