Holiday Chemistry

silvered ornament in a beaker
Osceola Fundamental High School, Seminole, FL


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.”  

  • Copper 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 with redox, 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 the ornaments this Etsy store has sold for inspiration. 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 become ornaments! See how these students interpreted the properties of their elements.
  • Slime Ornaments
    Slime on your tree? Yes! Mix up a batch of your favorite oozy goo to put in fillable ornaments.

Youtube ID: fql3aCuu1l0

  • Magic Crystal Christmas Tree
    “Grow” a small chemical tree using this variation on the classic charcoal crystal garden.
  • The Littlest Christmas Tree
    Create a tiny Christmas tree with beautiful silver branches—all on a microscope slide.
  • It's a Christmas Chemistree
    This teacher’s tree is a visual reminder of the chemistry his students learn during the year.
  • The Chemistree
    These ornaments came from student research on common household chemicals, topped off with “safety Barbie.”

Youtube ID: X0hDX7LtSxk

Youtube ID: 3b4shT7EBZQ

  • Santa Slime Recipe
    Why settle for ordinary slime when you can make holiday slime? Try these recipes for Santa and Grinch 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 window paint. Grab some Epsom salt and get started!

Youtube ID: -6zr2eLpduI

  • 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!
  • "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.

Youtube ID: VYrF3sFBY20

(all sites accessed November 2017)