Top 18 Best Pi Projects to do on Christmas

Written by: Dmitry_Eltechs

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. Also because of a surge in demand for automation solutions and smart IoT products that actually comprises the best uses for Raspberry Pi technology.

To inspire thousands of our daily visitors we’ve made a chart 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) for 2018 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

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


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.

For this project 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.


Video Player

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 realise 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 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.

Christmas Tree Home Automation

When people decorate the house 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 som,e basic programming skills. In case you don’t have them, just read our tutorials (↑).

It's not possible to enclose all the project here. So, we've got 10 more left. Read them starting from the next one.

In this article you'll also learn:

  1. Digital Photo Frame Tree Decoration
  2. Smart Gingerbread House
  3. Raspberry Pi Fireplace
  4. Frosty the Spyman
  5. Twitter-controlled Lights
  6. MIDI-Based Christmas Lights Animation System
  7. IoT Santa Tracker
  8. Animated Smart Elf
  9. GiftBot: The Presents Delivery Unit
  10. Responsive Automatic Player of Christmas Songs

Leave a Reply