Christmas is one of the most important festivals in the Christian calendar, and other religions have celebrations around this time too. No matter what your religion or belief, whether you are celebrating or simply having another weekend, there are some wonderful sites around the internet that can bring a smile to your face… either because they are interactive and engrossing, or because they are examples of good design.
If you find yourself twiddling your thumbs this weekend, you might like to waste some time on these great, festive sites.
Google Santa Tracker
This is the second or third year that Google have produced this interactive site that is, in fact, an advent calendar. Each day from 1st December until 25th December a new activity opens up, which will be a game, a video or an educational activity. A great way to waste some time this festive season!
Spar – Fresh Christmas
This festive game, brought to you by the supermarket chain Spar, is strangely addictive. You have to build bridges across the chimneys for your character to walk across and deliver gifts down the chimneys. If you build the bridge too short or too long your character will fall. The aim is to collect as many Spar logos as possible. It takes a little practice to get to grips with how long the bridges should be, and the only advice to be given here is make them longer rather than shorter… but oh yes – not too long, of course!
It’s a Shape Christmas
This is another advent calendar. Behind each number is an illustration created using one of four shapes: square, triangle, circle or hexagon. All illustrations are available as wallpaper for download on iPhone and iPad. The site asks for donations which will go to #missionchristmas.
Neve is Italian for ‘snow’, and this project, devised by Active Theory, has a small, interactive island on the screen with a log cabin and a couple of pine trees. A snow cloud hovers above it, and as you move your mouse cursor over the snow it moves. You can also rotate the cube to see it from all angles – a quite pointless but engrossing waste of time!
Milka Christmas Express
This famous chocolate manufacturer has produced this site that lets you send a Christmas card to someone. The interactive journey through the process is very entertaining.
The Best Christmas Toys
This project explores the best selling Christmas toys each year for the last 35 years. In 1984 Transformers were top of the tree, in 1991 it was the Sega Game Gear and 2013 was Furby’s year. Check out this site to see if your favorite toy made the list.
Christmas With Joy
This is another project that lets you send wishes to friends and family. Here, however, you are given a page link to send to the recipient, or you can share it on Facebook to their timeline or your own if it is a general greeting. You can choose one of 7 characters related to Christmas around mainly Europe: Christkind (Germany), Pere Noel (France), La Befana (Italy), Ded Moroz (Russia)Jolasveinarnn (Iceland), Krampus (Austria) Gwiazdor (Poland). Then you get to write your greeting. When the recipient views the card, they see your greeting and it is signed from you and the character you chose.
Survive the Holidays
This is the brainchild of Blender, and interactive digital agency. They claim it is a ‘survival guide’, and the site contains a series of articles/tips for certain, difficult aspects of the holiday period, such as ‘Surviving the World’s Worst Gift’, ‘Getting in Those Holiday Zzzz’s’ and ‘The Successful Secret Santa’.
This is a case of ‘what you see is what you get’… this is it, snow gently falling across the screen that shows you the countdown to Christmas.
Your Christmas Countdown
Similar to the previous example, this is a Christmas countdown. However, this one gives you the option to personalize the page with your name. It also gives you the amount of sleeps before Christmas and the number of days (how many Mondays, Tuesdays, etc) before the big day. This is also available as an iPhone app.
Yet another Christmas countdown project, however, this site will also tell you (should you wish to know) how many days until New Year, Easter, Halloween, Spring, etc. There is also an events page and calendar page. Be warned… the events are based around English football fixtures!
This site is dedicated to children and parents, with plenty of activities based on the festive season, including games and handcrafts.
We are going to let this site describe what they do themselves via their about section:
Christmas is for Sharing… and Christmas.com, the Official Site of Christmas, helps families and friends share Christmas wish lists, traditions, recipes, gift ideas, music, and more. This year give the perfect gift, get what you really want, and share your Christmas spirit with the Christmas.com community around the world.
Not quite sure how they can declare themselves to be ‘the Official Site of Christmas’, but in true festive spirit we will overlook this at this time of year!
Keurig Holiday Planner
This project offers a Gift Guide, Party Planner, Recipes and Holiday Tips. The main aim of the site is to sell their coffee machine and products.
Tiffany & Co
This site is included in this round up as it is a walk through a winter wonderland. The famous jewelry company has excelled with this site design and it is a joy to scroll through their landing page slide show.
The aim of this site was to raise money for Musicians on Call – for every 4 minutes that someone listened to the playlist of Christmas songs, IMRE would donate to the charity. They reached 100% of their $10k donation ceiling, but the playlist is still available to listen to – a great way to get yourself in the festive mood!
This is an online multiplayer game… but you have to wait for others to join and that could take a while!