We know decorations are a huge part of the holidays as they help set the mood for celebrations. For Christmas, hanging the trees, lights, and ornaments is a great way to begin.
Likewise, you can also decorate your Mac, but not literally. You don’t have to attach a wreath to it, but you can make your Mac come alive with cool, Christmassy animations and details like Santa in his sleigh gliding across your screen.
So, if you’re interested, we have compiled a list of cool customization hacks to help you bring some Christmas spirit to your Mac.
1. Choose a Festive Live Wallpaper
Start by choosing a Christmas-themed wallpaper. You can opt for a minimalist look with Apple’s solid color and dynamic wallpaper selection or choose a wallpaper from your photo album. Either way, you’ll need to change your desktop background on a Mac to make it more festive.
Then, take your Christmas-themed wallpaper a step closer to the North Pole by adding some snow action to your Mac’s background with the third-party app iSnow. Unfortunately, it’s a paid app, but that’s what it takes to make it snow on your desktop background.
It’s pretty easy to customize the details of the animated wallpaper in the settings. You get to decide whether you prefer to have Santa and his sleigh fly across your screen or Sinterklass riding along on his majestic white horse. You can also control how hard it snows and how much snow pools at the bottom of your screen.
Download: iSnow ($0.99)
2. Customize Your Folder Icons
The sight of the blue folder icon on Mac can be quite boring. And when you have multiple folders on display, it might start to seem tacky, especially if you’re someone who prioritizes aesthetics.
But macOS gives the creative freedom to tweak certain things to your satisfaction. You can transform the boring blue folder icon into a more visually appealing icon—say, a bag of presents from Santa.
Simply download a PNG file of the image you would like to use from a credible source online. You can get creative here and choose an image that works best with your wallpaper or represents what Christmas means to you.
Once you’ve downloaded the PNG file, copy it. Next, Control-click the folder you want to customize. Select Get info from the dialog that pops up. Click on the blue folder icon in the top left corner of the information window and then press Command + V to paste the new icon.
The custom alert sound options on Mac are quite limited. And to set the mood for Christmas, a little bell chime sounds like a great way to get into the festive spirit. The good news is that you can get creative and make your own custom alert sounds in macOS.
Again, there’s only so much you can do with your Mac’s widget options to make a Christmas statement. However, you’ll find a decent selection of third-party apps on the App Store to help you achieve a Christmassy setup.
Color Widgets is a free macOS app that can help incorporate Christmas elements into your widget display. While some templates are free to use, most are only available if you upgrade to the premium plan.
There’s an array of Christmas-themed calendars, quotes, and clock and date templates to choose from. You can customize these widgets to your taste by uploading images from your Photos library.
Download: Color Widgets: Custom Widgets (Free, premium version available)
4. Customize Your Cursor, Accent, and Highlight Colors
It’s time to zoom in on the micro details that can add a sprinkle of festivity to your Mac’s screen. You can customize the cursor, accent, and highlight colors with the same care and intention with which you choose a ribbon or bow.
Change the cursor’s color in macOS to set the pointer outline and fill colors to your preferred Christmas color. Still in System Settings, head to Appearance and select the corresponding accent and highlight colors.
Whatever you do, know that if you choose a cursor that is the exact color of your wallpaper, you may lose sight of your cursor sometimes. So, consider choosing complementary colors instead to save you the little trouble of finding your cursor onscreen.
5. Change the Background Image of Your Web Browser (Safari and Chrome)
Let’s move some of the merry elements over to your web browser. Whether you use Safari or Chrome on your Mac, you can easily customize each browser’s user interface with Christmas-themed background images.
Your best bet for a Google Chrome Christmas skin you’d actually love is uploading an image from your Mac. We checked the Chrome Web Store, but it took several minutes to find a remotely Christmassy background, and even the one we found, we didn’t like it much.
However, you have a broader pool of images to choose from with any of these 8K wallpaper sites. Once you’ve downloaded one you like, launch Google Chrome and locate the Edit button in the bottom-right corner of the homepage with the prompt “Customize this page.”
Once you’ve selected the downloaded image as your Chrome’s new background image, don’t forget to select a corresponding theme color in the “customize this page” window.
The process is very similar in Safari. If you need extra help, follow our step-by-step guide on customizing the Safari start page in macOS.
6. Use a Santa Hat Memoji as Your Profile Picture
With Memojis, Apple has breathed some life into profile pictures. You can easily customize an animated character with as many of your features as the settings would allow. And you can finish off with a merry little detail—a Santa hat.
Simply head to System Settings, select your profile, and click on the profile picture to edit it. Choose your Memoji and click Edit. Here, you customize every little detail of your Memoji character, from the skin color to the headwear.
You’ll find Santa’s hat in the headwear category—just scroll to the last row. Select it and set the primary color to red and the secondary colors to white.
Create Your Own Festive Atmosphere
With Christmas just around the corner, you can start to make little changes to help you feel festive. We’ve shown you how to add a bit of snow and Christmas sparkle to your Mac so that you’re in the holiday spirit whenever you use it.
However, that’s just the beginning of a long list of things you can do to set the mood for Christmas, like watching Christmas movies or listening to Christmas songs.