Holiday Chemistry

chemistry etching
Lamar High School, Arlington, TX


Prepare a chemistry-related ornament for your own tree or for a classroom “chemis-tree,” or try other holiday science fun such as marbling paper for gift wrap, singing a chemistry carol, or deciding if you’d like to eat a “variegated disaccharide ‘J’ tube.”  


Youtube ID: ujBA_C_mgnk

  • Redox Ornament
    Kick off the holidays at the hardware store! Start with a sheet of galvanized iron, finish with a unique copper-plated ornament.
  • Silvered Test Tube Ornament
    Test tubes aren’t just for the lab anymore—use them to decorate. Silver the inside of the glass using redox reactions, add a ribbon, and it’s ready to go.
  • Borax Snowflake Ornament
    Don’t buy your ornaments—grow them yourself instead! All it takes is borax, water, pipe cleaners, and a little time.
  • Christmas Bulb Chromatography Ornaments
    “Deck the hall with bulbs of color. Fa la la la la la la la la. Made with ink and a solvent water. Fa la la la la la la la la.”

Vimeo ID: 8217840

  • ElementsCubed
    It’s elements—cubed! Check out this Etsy store for an ornament idea. See what each clear and colorless cube-shaped ornament contains.
  • Crystal Snowflake Ornaments
    Forget brewing coffee with those filters—make a beautiful crystal snowflake instead. Now, where’d I put the borax?
  • Elemental Ornaments
    Elements turn into ornaments! See how these students interpreted the properties of their element.
  • Lab Equipment Chemis-tree
    Ring stands? Utility clamps? Erlenmeyer flasks? Test tubes? No, they’re chemis-tree ornaments!
  • A Chemical Christmas Tree
    Even “grown-up” chemists can get into decorating a chemis-tree. Check out this research center’s trees.
  • Christmas Tree Elephant Toothpaste
    The elephant toothpaste demo goes green—Christmas-tree-green, that is. Color and shape this demo’s foam to look like holiday greenery.
  • Chemis-Tree Project
    Decorating a chemis-tree doesn’t have to be just a filler activity. See how one teacher uses it as a classroom assignment.

Youtube ID: X0hDX7LtSxk

  • Santa Slime Recipe
    Why settle for ordinary slime when you can make holiday slime? Try these recipes for Santa, Grinch, Gingerbread, and Candy Cane Slimes.
  • Case #1225: Case of the Christmas Cookie Mystery
    Help out the North Pole Bureau of Investigations by identifying the mixed-up white powders Mrs. Claus needs to bake her sugar cookies.
  • Poinsettia pH Paper
    Tired of plain old pH paper? Make your own (holiday style!) using a solution made from poinsettia plants.
  • Crystal Frost Window Paint
    Either Jack Frost came to visit, or you’ve found this recipe for crystal frost window paint. Grab some Epsom salt and get started!
  • Snow Globe Lab
    Making a snow globe is a great way to learn about solubility! Try this lab and make your own.
  • ACS/NSTA Holiday Chemistry Webinar
    Take a whirlwind tour of holiday chemistry activities that are ready to use in the classroom, along with how they can tie into what you’re teaching/learning.
  • Chemistry Carols
    You’ve never heard “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls” like this. Ready, set, sing!

Youtube ID: VYrF3sFBY20

  • "A Chemistry Christmas Carol"
    “With apologies to Charles Dickens.” Can you find the names of 86 elements hidden in this story?
  • Creating Colorful Icicles
    Live in an area with cold weather? Use a phase change to create a temporary outdoor sculpture.
  • Holiday Periodic Table
    What makes up the holiday items around us? Consider how elements on the periodic table are part of things like snow, pine needles, and cookie frosting.
  • A Christmas Lantern Project
    Use the chemistry of oxidation to turn an empty soda can into a beautiful lantern.
  • Christmas Chemistry
    These infographics will give you a quick run-down on the aroma of Christmas trees, what makes Christmas crackers go bang, and more.
  • Elemental Facts of Santa
    Sounds like Santa loves his elements! Figure out some of his favorites in this fill-in-the-blank puzzle.
  • A Christmas Elemental Word Search
    Find all the elements in this word search, then discover the “Grinchy quote” made by the left-over letters.

(all sites accessed November 2015)