The Best, Most Clever Geeky Christmas Tree Ornaments

The Best, Most Clever Geeky Christmas Tree Ornaments

Why settle for shiny baubles or nostalgic keepsakes when your tree can be as geeky as you are?

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Decorating a Christmas tree can be a creative way to express your individuality: you can go the traditional route with shiny baubles and decades-old hand me downs, or express your fandom with sci-fi and pop culture-themed ornaments. You can also go full geek, and deck your halls with gadgets, gizmos, and ornaments that do far more than just look festive.

If you want to go the latter route, we’ve rounded up some of the most clever and innovative geeky ornaments we’ve found over the years. Some you can buy, while others will need well-honed skills with electronics, soldering irons, 3D printers, and more time for DIY projects than the holidays usually allow.

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A Tiny Retro TV That Plays Classic Christmas Commercials

A Tiny Retro TV That Plays Classic Christmas Commercials

YouTube Christmas Ornament! - Raspberry Pi Project

Like it or not, capitalism is sometimes the best part of the holidays, with companies trying to convince you to spend money by churning out heart-tugging commercials and festive jingles that will be stuck in your head for years. Embrace them wholeheartedly with this DIY, 3D-printed miniature TV ornament that plays an endless loop of ‘90s holidays ads and feel no regret.

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Animated Turbulent Flow Ornaments

Animated Turbulent Flow Ornaments

Creating Turbulent Flows Inside Christmas Ornaments

These DIY ornaments will give you even more reason to sit and stare at your Christmas tree. Filled with rheoscopic fluid that uses tiny non-dissolvable shimmering particles to make the turbulent flow of liquids more obvious, these ornaments also house tiny DC motors and drone propellers that constantly stir everything up and keep the fluids in motion. The end result is a bauble that looks like a time lapse video of the atmosphere of a distant planet.

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Hallmark Super Nintendo Ornament

Hallmark Super Nintendo Ornament

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Image: Hallmark

If the Super Nintendo was once at the top of your Christmas wish list, why not hang one near the top of your Christmas tree? Hallmark’s $20 replica is almost indiscernible from the real thing, except that this SNES is just over three inches long. It can’t actually play anything, but a button press turns on the SNES’ power light and plays sounds from Super Mario World.

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3D-Printed Ornament That 3D Prints Smaller Ornaments

3D-Printed Ornament That 3D Prints Smaller Ornaments

A Christmas Ornament that 3D Prints Smaller Christmas Ornaments

There’s no such thing as an over-decorated tree, so if you have access to a 3D printer, you can make this functional 3D-printed ornament that is itself a 3D printer capable of churning out its own tiny 3D-printed ornaments. It’s a miraculous hack that is almost more impressive than Santa fitting all those presents in one bag because it uses the stereolithography printing process, with a reservoir of liquid resin and UV LEDs, instead of a heated extruder.

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Nintendo Switch Ornament With a Working Screen

Nintendo Switch Ornament With a Working Screen

TINY Nintendo Switch ornament with a working screen!

The Nintendo Switch has been appearing on holiday wish lists for six years, and now your Christmas tree can have its very own with this DIY, 3D-printed miniature replica that can’t actually play games, but does include a working screen that runs a constant loop of Switch gameplay GIFs off a microSD card in the back. On December 25, it switches to more festive GIFs to help celebrate the holiday.

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Hallmark Sega Genesis Ornament

Hallmark Sega Genesis Ornament

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Image: Hallmark

If you’ve already got Hallmark’s Super Nintendo ornament on your tree, you might as well go ahead and add the Sega Genesis version too, and recreate the bitter 16-bit rivalry that destroyed friendships and families, and marred the gaming landscape of the early ‘90s. Like the SNES ornament, the $23 Genesis bauble features a button that activates LED lights while the tiny console replica plays sound effects from Sonic The Hedgehog.

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Super Mario Bros. Question Block Ornament

Super Mario Bros. Question Block Ornament

2015 Holiday Ornament

A properly decked Christmas Tree is often full of little surprises, such as this boxy ornament created by Jordan Wills that reveals its secret when a capacitive button hidden underneath is pressed. The ornament comes to life, becoming a Super Mario Bros. question block that not only plays sound effects every time the button is pressed, but also lights up a laser-etched acrylic coin floating atop of it. We’re not sure if triggering the sound effect and lights 100 times earns you an extra life.

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Animated Zoetrope Ornament

Animated Zoetrope Ornament

Motors, LEDs, and Christmas Trees!

For quite a few years, YouTuber Sean Hodgins was one of the most prolific innovators of Christmas ornaments on the internet—and we’re not just talking about finding new ways to use sparkles. This DIY zoetrope ornament is a masterclass in one-day-engineering. A series of laser cut animation frames spin inside a 3D-printed ornament-sized housing, while magnets and hall effect sensors trigger an LED to flash, briefly illuminating each frame as it passes a window, creating the appearance of a simple animation from the outside.

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Doom-Playing ‘90s Desktop PC Ornament

Doom-Playing ‘90s Desktop PC Ornament

Doom Christmas Bauble - teaser

Proving once again that Doom can rear its head in the most unusual of places, this 3D-printed ‘80s/’90s desktop PC ornament features an ESP32 board hidden inside, running a custom Game Boy Advance port of the iconic first-person shooter. The ornament’s tiny working screen can autonomously play the demo mode of Doom all day long, but a wireless Bluetooth controller can also be connected to this ornament for those willing to squint their way through the game.

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FedEx Shipping Box Ornament

FedEx Shipping Box Ornament

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Image: Etsy

Let’s face it, if your desk is covered in a mountain of gadgets, your floor is probably littered with discarded FedEx shipping boxes. The two go hand in hand today, so what better way to decorate your Christmas tree than with a tribute to the unsung hero of gadget obsessions? As an added bonus, all through December, you can let your imagination run wild wondering what miniature gadget is inside this miniature shipping box.

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