The Best Christmas Wallpapers and Icon Packs [November 2019]
With the end of the year drawing closer every day and the shopping season suddenly in full effect, you might be looking for a way to get yourself in the spirit of the holidays. Depending on how you spend the year, it can be difficult to push yourself to embrace the season, especially if you aren’t a fan of the cold. That said, sometimes all it takes to find yourself in a holiday mood is some decoration to remind you of how special this time of year is, and if Christmas is the holiday you celebrate every December, this is pretty easy to do. Christmas trees, lights, hanging ornaments, and even snowflakes can all help to put you in the mood for the season, and even if the stress overcomes you at certain points, with shopping, family, and of course, your diet all contributing to the pressure of the holiday season.
So, if you need some motivation to get through this difficult time of year, and you’re looking for something that will lift your spirits and remember the joys of the holiday season, setting a Christmas or holiday-themed wallpaper on your devices can help. Your home computer or laptop could probably use a fresh wallpaper, and your smartphone or tablet is with you often enough to set you in a proper holiday mood. Christmas-themed wallpapers can be hard to come by, and sometimes the best photos to set as your backdrop are simply the photos that you’ve taken from past holidays.
Luckily, there are also a pretty wide variety of winter, holiday, and Christmas wallpapers on the web, and we’ve gathered some of the best ones together for this guide to the best Christmas-themed wallpapers. Let’s take a look at how to find your own wallpapers, what resolution and aspect ratios mean for your devices.
What to Look For in a Wallpaper
While browsing for wallpapers has gotten a bit smoother in recent years, it’s still not the easiest thing to do online. Finding good wallpapers for your phone, tablet, or laptop shouldn’t be challenging, but some websites and search results list low-quality wallpapers that look ugly on your desktop background. When you’re using a wallpaper on any device, you’ll want to look for some key items to make sure it looks good on your display.
Resolution is a big deal when it comes to making sure your wallpaper looks good on the display of your choice. Whether you’re using a laptop, a desktop monitor, a tablet, or a smartphone, you want to make sure the resolution of your photo either matches that of your display, or goes above and beyond that size. This can be a bit difficult depending on whether or not you’re aware of the resolution of your display. Most smartphone manufacturers make a big deal out of the resolution of their devices, and it’s fairly easy to find that information online. Computer manufacturers also supply their resolution numbers in the key specs of their devices, though occasionally these numbers can be hidden if a computer has a relatively low resolution.
If you’re unsure what the resolution of your display is, there’s a few options. The first is to do a quick Google search of your device name to find out the resolution. For example, if you’re using an iPhone 11, searching “iPhone 11 resolution” will bring up a card on Google displaying the iPhone 11 has a resolution of 1792×828 (Apple’s iOS devices often use strange, non-standard resolutions. Searching for “Galaxy S10 resolution” will bring specs for the device that display a 3040×1440 resolution (this would be equivalent to a 1440p resolution on computers and other monitors, simply with a taller display).
The same goes for computers, though because most laptops outside of the macOS ecosystem typically use a jumbled mess of letters and numbers to create a product name, it can be difficult to find out the exact resolution of your display. So, for Windows 10 users, you’ll want to tap on the Start menu in the bottom-left corner of your display, type “Display,” and hit enter. Look for the resolution number in the settings menu for your display. Most modern laptops use a 1080p (or 1920×1080) display, but your mileage may vary.
Finally, you can also use an online tool like What Is My Screen Resolution to determine the resolution of your display, though note that any display scaling on your device (a standard on Windows devices, for example) seems to throw off the website, displaying the scaled resolution instead of the proper screen resolution.
If you use a low-resolution image, or an image that happens to have a lower resolution than your device, you’ll notice a drop in quality in the image once it’s placed on your wallpaper. This might not sound like a big deal, but if you’ve ever seen a picture blown up to 200 or 300 percent of its original size, you know the artifacts and loss in quality created by stretching an image can distort the photo and make your wallpaper seem like a mess. On the other hand, if the resolution is larger than your display, you’ll be fine to use the image without any drop in quality. Effectively, all this means is pay attention to your resolution. If it’s a number smaller than your resolution, skip the wallpaper. If it’s equal or larger, you’re good to go.
Almost as important as your resolution is making sure you’re aware of the aspect ratio of your device. This really goes hand in hand with resolution, and while it’s not as important as the resolution of your display, you’ll want to make sure your aspect ratio is close to correct in order to ensure the photo matches your display.
First, an aspect ratio refers to the width versus the height of a display. Aspect ratios are used to identify everything from the size of the projection area at your local movie theater, to the television sitting in your living room, to the phone in your pocket. Typically, aspect ratio is measured as (width):(height), as the numbers usually refer to monitors and other horizontal displays, like laptops. Most modern displays are presented close to 16:9, including your TV, your computer monitor, and probably your laptop.
There are some exceptions to this rule, however. Some Apple displays, like those you’ll find on the MacBook line, typically measure in at 16:10 instead of 16:9, meaning the display is a little bit taller than what you’ll find on a television. For the most part, however, an aspect ratio of 16:9 is standard for most wallpapers. If you’re confused on whether the wallpaper you’ve selected for your device fits into the aspect ratio of your choice, you can use a ratio calculator, like the one available here. Type the resolution of your monitor on one side, and you’ll see the simplified answer appear in the “Answer” field.
Aspect ratios can get a bit tricky when you’re dealing with smartphones, however. As you probably already know, smartphones use a vertical aspect ratio rather than a horizontal aspect ratio. Most modern devices from the last two or three years of smartphones have switched to a taller aspect ratio, moving away from the standard 16:9 ratio seen on most phones in the 2010s. Many phones now default to an 18:9 aspect ratio (also known as 2:1) with phones from Samsung and Apple even taller. The Galaxy Note 10, for example, uses a 19:9 aspect ratio, while the iPhone 11 uses a super-tall 19.5:9 aspect ratio.
You’ll want to make sure your aspect ratio generally matches the device you’re using. If you’re on a PC, look for a 16:9 (most laptops) or 16:10 (some monitors for desktops) wallpaper. MacBook users can stick fairly universally with 16:10, though the smallest MacBook Air from a few years ago has an aspect ratio of 16:9. While iOS users will want to make sure their wallpaper fits perfectly with their devices, Android users should keep in mind that wallpapers often move in the background on most phones, requiring more space to the left and right of the wallpaper. On some devices, this can be disabled both in settings or by using a third-party launcher like Nova.
Finally, one of the most important aspects in choosing a perfect wallpaper is to make sure you’re using a trustworthy source. Low-quality wallpapers are typically found on sites that don’t put an emphasis on the quality of their content, which means you’ll want to steer clear of those sites and focus on the ones that are known to provide excellent content for you to spruce up your devices with. There’s no shortage of wallpaper sites online, but some of them haven’t been updated in well over a decade, leaving users out in the cold when it comes to fresh, high-resolution wallpapers in 2019.
Mobile devices have it off a bit easier, since dozens of applications exist on both iOS and Android that offer wallpapers for your device. Unfortunately, you’re bound to run into a similar problem that we’ve seen on desktop and laptops: many of these wallpapers are for older devices with much lower resolutions. Over the course of five years, smartphone users have gone from using devices where a 720p resolution was considered groundbreaking, to mid-range devices where a 1080p resolution is considered “good enough.” Even apps that promise “HD wallpapers” often contain thousands of low-res wallpapers for your device.
As a general rule, here are some of the best wallpaper sites and apps on the market today. This is by no means a comprehensive list; rather, this represents a solid sampling of what we should expect from our wallpaper offerings.
- Wallhaven: This site is a solid offering for anyone looking for new wallpapers. There’s a random button that makes it easy to automatically search through random wallpapers, and the search function works well too, though finding the resolution of the image does require clicking through to the selected image.
- Desktoppr: Desktoppr has some incredible wallpapers, mostly due to the curation the Desktoppr team focuses on to ensure they only offer the best of the best. Unlike most sites, Desktoppr requires you to have an account to even browse the site, and you’ll need to use Dropbox to download your wallpapers into your Dropbox account.
- Social Wallpapering: This site’s design is a bit more basic than some users will enjoy, but it’s a solid offering, not just because of its built-in search functionality, but because almost anyone can upload wallpapers to the site, leading to a diverse selection of wallpapers on the platform.
- Desktop Nexus: An older site, but a good one nonetheless. Desktop Nexus has nearly 1.5 million wallpapers on its site, and with a popular tag system, they have thousands of photos dedicated to Christmas, winter, and other holiday-related terms.
- Retina HD Wallpapers: This one’s only for iPhones, but the resolutions are the perfect size for anyone looking to switch up their wallpaper on the regular. With a sharp resolution and a robust category selection, you’re bound to find plenty to love here.
- 10000+ Wallpapers: Sure, a number this big likely means that the app isn’t the greatest when it comes to searching for new content, but 1000+ Wallpapers features monthly updates and packs, including a pretty extensive holiday pack that is sure to delight iOS users.
- Vellum: With a number of wallpaper packs and a fresh new wallpaper each day, Vellum is a must-have app during the holiday season. Their limited content packs shift with the seasons, which means you’ll have a wide variety of wallpapers to pick from for Christmas. And with the blur tool, you can always guarantee your wallpaper will look perfect with your icons.
- Backdrops: Backdrops has long been our favorite wallpaper app for the platform. It has both featured artists t hat work exclusively with the developers to create some fantastic art, as well as user uploaded work that can be sorted by category, color, and more. It’s easy to find an incredible piece of artwork for your wallpaper here, and the ability to set your content to both the lock and home screen independently can’t be understated.
- Zedge: Everything on Zedge is user-uploaded, which of course means there’s a ton of awesome Christmas and holiday content there. In addition to wallpapers, check out their ringtones and sound effect, where you’re bound to find some uploaded Christmas songs to truly complete the look and feel of your phone or tablet. This app’s also on iOS, so no matter what phone you have, you can check out Zedge.
Our Picks: Best Christmas and Holiday Wallpapers
Now that we’ve discussed how wallpapers look and function on your mobile and desktop, it’s time to highlight some of the best Christmas and holiday-themed wallpapers you can find on the web. Though Christmas is the main focus of this article, we’ve also included some general holiday and winter-themed wallpapers below, both for readers of other religious faiths and for secular readers who may not celebrate Christmas. These are all scaled-down versions of the original images, both in order to not flood this article with large images and to encourage users to head to the original source of each wallpaper. Each image has the original source link shared below the image, along with a link to the full-resolution photograph. Head over to the source link to download the file in its original resolution.
Our first of two dog photos on this list offers some holiday spirit in the form of your favorite friendly canine. Dogs go together with Christmas like a hand and a glove, and there’s nothing more magical than watching a dog bounce around in the snow. Celebrate the holidays with this photo of a good dog wishing you a Merry Christmas.
Star Wars and Christmas might not mix together well, but Star Wars and holiday sweater designs sure do. This wallpaper mixes minimalism and holiday cheer to bring you a great sweater design for your computer, all without having to pay for the actual sweater. Though this paper is only 1080p, you can easily match the color on your desktop to expand to larger wallpapers without losing any fidelity.
Overwatch has continued to be one of our favorite games, and Blizzard ended BlizzCon 2019 with an announcement of a sequel. Celebrate your love of the game with this holiday-themed wallpaper that clocks in at a wide 4K resolution. If you’re a gamer playing on an ultra-wide monitor, you’ll love the look and feel of this design, and it’ll look great on your expensive monitor.
Jack Skellington is a mascot for both Halloween and Christmas time, and with this gorgeous wallpaper, you can have the hero of Halloweentown and Christmas Town alike. The Nightmare Before Christmas is considered a classic Christmas film, and you can honor the movie with this wallpaper sitting pretty on your desktop.
Deadpool may not be a Christmas hero, but he is beloved by adults around the world for his irreverent humor, zany performance, and hilarious stunts. Both Deadpool and its sequel were smash successes, and Once Upon a Deadpool was a fun Christmas-themed re-release of the second film.
Who doesn’t love a bundle of lights to get into the season? Christmas lights are cheap, provide a sense of the holiday spirit for your home, and of course, light up the house with a unique glow. You can’t beat these lights, and if it’s too early to put them up, you can grab this wallpaper to recreate the feel.
For many, Christmas entertainment means another chance to watch the Peanuts gang in A Charlie Brown Christmas, one of the best Christmas shorts ever made. We’re big fans of both Snoopy and Woodstock, and you can have them lighten up your desktop with this gorgeous red, white, and blue wallpaper.
Flat design is very “in” right now, and with this clean wallpaper, nothing will fit the holidays better than this minimalist, 2D Santa. The blue backdrop is perfect for storing folders and desktop icons without being too distracting, and while the font may clash with the overall design, the look and feel of the wallpaper screams holiday fun.
A subtle photograph, displaying a tree decorated for the holidays, this winter-themed backdrop is perfect for holiday fun. The snow-covered tree and bluish winter background is calming and my just provide you a sense of peace and comfort.
Another wallpaper to add to the list of minimalist works, this single tree icon reminds us of Christmas without going too overboard on the design. Plus, it’s a little like the tree from A Charlie Brown Christmas.
There’s something about a winter morning, where the Earth feels cold, empty, and frozen, and everything has a sense of calm and relaxation around it. Seriously, we can’t get enough of this fog-filled photo of this early Christmas morning, and that makes it a perfect wallpaper for your device.
This photo and the above photo aren’t necessarily related, but it does seem like this forest is nearly identical, just a couple hours later. If you prefer some more sunlight in your desktop background but still want something within the woods, this is the shot for you.
Our second of two pups on this list, and we’re still just as in love as we were before. Seriously, look at this little guy, running down a snow-covered road. He’s perfect in every way.
A lot of people think of winter as a time when you have to stay inside and do nothing, limited to the enjoyment of watching movies or reading a good book. People who think that have clearly never been on a snowmobile. While not strictly Christmas, plenty of folks associate the holidays with the coming of winter, and that means shredding some snow.
Another great example of ornament bokeh photography, but we really love this one. It’s subtle, relaxing, and pretty great to look at.
One final desktop wallpaper, a slightly older one for those of us using 4:3 monitors. This Christmas tree display may not be your own, but it can hold you over until your house is decorated for the holidays.
It can be tough to find good mobile wallpapers on the web without first looking on the respective wallpaper applications we’ve linked above. In fact, we’d go as far as to say it’s impossible to find good iPhone or Android wallpapers outside of those mobile apps. The ones we linked above are great places to start, and most mobile wallpaper applications have some amount of Christmas, holiday, or winter-themed wallpapers in their lineup, making it easy to grab some new photos. If you’re looking for suggestions or ideas, we have a few photos we found online highlighted below, and you can also grab some mobile wallpapers on Pinterest and on the sites below.
There is truly nothing prettier than Christmas lights, and this photograph does a great job in capturing their essence.
A simple, yet understated, Merry Christmas display will help you feel jolly every time you unlock your iPhone.
This one is more of a holiday-themed photo, but with the use of a monotone color, it truly looks gorgeous on your iPhone display.
This one is one of our favorites, combining the Merry Christmas display with the lights we’ve grown to love.
Icon Packs and Live Wallpapers (Android)
Android phones allow you some extra customization when it comes to the holidays, thanks to the ability to change your icon shape on your home screen and the option to use a live wallpaper on your backdrop that moves as you use your phone. In our previous wallpaper round-ups, we’ve covered some icon packs that fit the theme of the wallpaper, to help allow your phone to come together as one cohesive theme, and our Christmas wallpaper roundup is no exception. Completing the look and feel of your mobile device is important to plenty of people, and on Android, you can do so with the right combination of apps, icons, and wallpaper packs.
When it comes to icons, unfortunately, your options are sparse. Outside of some older icon packs, there really isn’t a lot to write home about. There are two icon packs worth mentioning here, but both haven’t seen updates in years, and both feature some flaw when assigning icons to applications. As always, you’ll need a third-party launcher or a launcher that supports icon packs from Google Play. The first icon pack, Christmas Ball Icon Pack, is an ornament-themed pack that includes icons that appear to look like circles with tiny ornament holders on top. Considering that the typical icon on Android is now circular, this actually looks decent even on modern devices. With 1600+ icons to choose from, most people should find their library of apps supported in this pack.
New for this year, Merry Christmas 2019 Icon Pack is the second app worth highlighting in our round-up. The app has been updating monthly, giving users brand new icons each month. The app now has more than 3000 icons to pick from, and with a 4.8 rating, you can bet that this is one of the best ways to fill your phone with some holiday spirit.
We also found a good selection of live wallpapers for your device, though some of them looked like they hadn’t been updated in years. The two we recommend are both relatively recent; one was last updated about a year ago, while the other was updated just two weeks prior to preparing this article. The first is Christmas Live Wallpaper, a fairly uninspired name but one with a solid 4.3 rating from almost 500,000 downloads. People seem to really like the wallpaper, with solid reviews and a gorgeous, if understated, animation as snow falls in the backdrop.
The second live wallpaper is a bit more modern, and also happens to serve a purpose. Christmas Countdown is a clean-looking wallpaper, with glowing stars in the backdrop and a light-up display that shows how much longer until Christmas. You can rotate the camera, activate particle effects, and even force the wallpaper to play Christmas jingles. There’s all sorts of different effects, lights, and trees, which make it a must-have for any Android user looking for the best live Christmas wallpaper on Android.
In today’s modern world, making the technology and other mobile products you use every day feel like your own custom devices is as important as ever. Expressing yourself with the design of your phone or computer is as important as choosing how you dress or act, even if you’re really the only one who will ever see your phone. Overall, with how much time we spend on our phones and laptops these days, it’s important to make it feel like something we choose to use, rather than something that we’re forced to use. The holidays are an especially important time to do this. Getting into the spirit of the holidays is important for everyone, lest we all lose our minds and end up feeling disconnected or depressed during the business of the season.
The iconography of Christmas and the holidays in general can be enough to remember the joy that this time of year brings to everyone. It can help make you feel relaxed and a bit more at peace with the world around you, which is really what’s important during this time of year. As we begin to wind down 2019 and look forward to a new year, treat yourself to some holiday wallpapers and countdowns. It’ll make you look and feel festive, and make the tech around you feel a bit more like your own.