It’s the time of year where cheesy, tacky Christmas design is inescapable. From Christmas knitwear to Christmas-tree ice creams, it seems like everyone is hellbent on making sure we are all absolutely 100% aware that it definitely is the season to be jolly. Whether you’ve been waiting all year to wear a jingle bell scarf, or you can’t wait for it to all be over, it’s undeniable that adding a few unique Christmassy bells and whistles (pun absolutely intended) to your web design can help drive up traffic and entertain readers or potential customers. Make no mistake: Christmas sells. Think of Christmas web design as being like adding lights to the exterior of your house: it gives you the chance to stand out this festive season in the eternal contest of “being the most Christmassy”.
Make it snow
A really easy and popular way of ‘Christmas-ing’ your website is adding a simple snow plugin reminiscent of free Web 2.0 sites. With a few lines of simple code (and at less than 1kb), you can immediately enjoy a white Christmas from the comfort of your site homepage. This is particularly suited to more informal pages such as blog rolls, and adds a touch of festive fun to any page.
Admittedly, what we’ve just described is not the most professional (or, indeed, subtle) design technique for bringing your site in line with the season. If you want to go for something more professional, you could consider adding a ‘frosted’ look to site elements such as the navigation bar or buttons. A great tutorial for creating this effect can be found here. You can use this subtly and implement it easily simply by creating it as another layer over existing images on your site. The strength of this is that it can be used professionally over otherwise normal and regular features of the site, meaning that familiarity is not compromised for regular visitors to your page as the bulk of the design will remain unchanged.
Add a bit of tinsel
Continuing the idea of subtly altering your current web design, you could even just ‘hang’ tinsel on something like your logo or your navigation bars. Again, this is a simple process of layering an image over your existing page elements, and if done realistically (i.e. placing it over horizontal ‘surfaces’, as you would a fireplace) it can look and feel great without compromising professionalism or effective design.
Consider an annual sale
You don’t even have to alter your design too drastically to gain extra traffic and business over the Christmas season. Valve runs a ‘Holiday sale’ every year on their Steam gaming platform, where many of their products are given discounts of up to 95%. Valve are now more profitable per head than Google or Apple, and much of this is due to their summer and winter sales (it is rumoured they receive nearly 100% more profit than usual during these sales and have 200% annual growth, despite such drastic discounts). Without altering the design of the platform too drastically (last year, they merely relied on one banner image, pictured above), they have built a reputation for Christmas sales that bring them some of their biggest quarterly profits.
Seasonal design can go a long way
People really get into different seasonal holidays, and you could even extend your design changes to times of the year such as New Year or Easter (although this could be regarded as going overboard). Either way, modifying your design slightly to fit the season can make users and potential customers feel more at home, and ultimately, it can go a long way in giving your site a more human touch.
Owner and creative director at Creative Freedom Ltd. Unbelievably cool icon design expert, husband, and father of two awesome girls. A proper decent chappy and thoroughly fab to work with. Ok, so I wrote my own bio…