The holidays are almost upon us. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza, or Festivus, you’ve probably already put up your decorations – and perhaps even hung the stockings with care. But I bet you’ve been neglecting your computer’s desktop.
Decorating your desktop is super-easy with the free holiday themes Microsoft provides. Decorating your computer is a fast and easy way to make it feel more like the holiday season.
Windows 7 and 8 Users, Dig In
Microsoft hosts an online theme gallery with various free themes you can download for your PC. Each theme includes a pack of desktop wallpaper images that will play as a slideshow, but you can also select your favorite individual wallpaper from the bunch. Download a theme and double-click it to use it. It’ll appear in the Personalization window — right-click your desktop and select Personalize to view your installed themes.
The themes here will work on both Windows 7 and Windows 8. If you’re using an older version of Windows, you can still get individual wallpaper images from Microsoft’s website
Decking the Halls: This theme pack offers 12 close-up photos of beautiful ornaments. This slideshow has great color and will give you a glance of a well-decorated tree every time you head back to your desktop.
Holiday Lights: If you prefer lights to ornaments, this theme pack offers 17 images. You’ll see everything from decorated Christmas trees and candles to palm trees and cacti wrapped in bright lights. (Hey, the traditional evergreen trees don’t grow everywhere.)
Decorating the Trees: This nine-image theme contains photos of ornaments hung on real, outdoor trees. They’re often covered in snow and ice to add to the holiday image. If you want a little more winter in your desktop wallpaper, this is the way to go.
Candlelight: This 10-image theme is more restrained and doesn’t have the obvious lights and ornaments. But the cozy light of a candle may be the perfect accompaniment to a cold winter night.
Winter: If you have snowdrifts right outside your window, this theme may seem like overkill. But, if you grew up with snow and are living somewhere where it doesn’t snow much — like me — this theme will bring 13 images of that bright, white stuff back into your life.
Snowy Night: The snowy night theme features thirteen images that combine a cold, snowy night with images of beautiful, warm lights. From decorated trees to mountain lodges, these images look very cozy and welcoming. Choose this theme for maximum coziness.
Snowmen: What would the winter holidays be without snowmen? This theme contains eight photos of snowmen, offering everything from serious, classy-looking snowmen to sillier ones.
This isn’t a complete list of awesome themes, either. The Ice Castles and Snowflakes and Frost themes are both beautiful if you’re looking for more non-holiday-specific-but-wintry visuals.
And Microsoft’s theme gallery isn’t just for this time of year, either. You can browse Microsoft’s complete gallery of hundreds of themes to find a great new set of themes for your desktop, whether you’re looking for something beautiful year-round or you want an appropriate desktop slideshow when the next holiday rolls around.
Sure, other sites offer desktop themes, but Microsoft’s site is a good one to use. It’s all very high-quality, and you won’t have to worry about a less-trustworthy site that might try to fill your computer with nasty software as part of the download.
Photo Credit: Microsoft