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Christmas Chemistry

Christmas Chemistry Projects & Topics

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Are you looking for a way to add some chemistry to the Christmas holiday? Here's a collection of Christmas chemistry projects and a look at topics relating to Christmas and other winter holidays.

1. Make Christmas Tree Preservative

Keep your tree alive by using a tree preservative.
Martin Poole, Getty Images
A lot of people who put up Christmas trees choose Thanksgiving Day or Thanksgiving weekend as the traditional time to put up the tree. If you want the tree to still have needles by Christmas you either need a fake tree or else to give the fresh tree a tree preservative to give it the help it needs to make it through the holiday season. Use your chemistry knowledge to make the tree preservative yourself. It's really economical and easy!

Make Christmas Tree Preservative

2. Poinsettia pH Paper

Poinsettia
Emily Roesly, www.morguefile.com
You can make your own pH paper with any of a number of common garden plants or kitchen ingredients, but poinettias are common decorative plants around Thanksgiving. Make up some pH paper and then test the acidity of household chemicals.

Make Poinsettia pH Paper

3. Make Fake Snow

Fake snow is made from sodium polyacrylate, a water-absorbing polymer.
Anne Helmenstine
You can make fake snow using a common polymer. The fake snow is non-toxic, feels cool to the touch, and looks similar to the real thing.

Make Fake Snow

4. Colored Fire Pinecones

It's easy to make colored fire pinecones.
Anne Helmenstine
All you need are some pinecones and one easy-to-find ingredient to make pinecones that will burn with colored flames. The pinecones are easy to prepare, plus they can be given as thoughtful gifts.

Make Colored Fire Pinecones
Video - Colored Fire Pinecones

5. Crystal Snow Globe

Snow Globe
Scott Liddell, morguefile.com
Snow made from water crystals melts at room temperature, but snow made from benzoic acid crystals will still be decorating your snow globe when the weather warms up. Here's how to make a snow globe by precipitating benzoic acid to make the 'snow'.

Make a Homemade Snow Globe

6. Borax Crystal Snowflake Ornament

Borax crystal snowflakes are fun and easy to make.
Anne Helmenstine
Do real snowflakes melt too quickly? Grow a borax snowflake, color it blue if you like, and enjoy the sparkle all year long!

Grow a Borax Crystal Snowflake
Video - Borax Crystal Snowflake

7. Snow Ice Cream Recipes

This girl is catching snowflakes on her tongue.
Digital Vision, Getty Images
Actually, you'll get flavored snow slushy unless you apply some freezing point depression to your ice cream-making process. When you make snow ice cream you can use snow and salt to freeze a flavored cream mixture or else you can use ice and salt to freeze actual flavored snow. It's a pretty great family project, either way.

Make Snow Ice Cream

8. Snowflake Chemistry

Snowflake Electromicrograph
USDA Beltsville Agricultural Research Center
Here are answers to common questions about snowflakes. Learn how snow forms, what shapes snowflakes take, why snow crystals are symmetrical, whether no two snowflakes really are alike, and why snow looks white!

Learn About Snowflakes
Snowflake Photo Gallery

9. Copper Plated Christmas Ornament

Metal Star Ornament
Andrea Church, www.morguefile.com
Copper plate a holiday decoration as a Christmas ornament or for other decorative uses.

Copper Plate an Ornament

10. Make Holiday Gift Wrap

If you use scented shaving cream, you can make holiday-scented gifts.
Anne Helmenstine
Use a surfactant to marble paper to make your own gift wrap. You can embed a fragrance in the paper, too, so that it can smell like candy canes or Christmas trees.

Make Your Own Holiday Gift Wrap

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