Asbjoern Andersen


Sound is a fantastic tool for creating and heightening that special Christmas atmosphere in your projects – and here’s some good news:

With this guide, you can easily create your own Christmas sound effects, using just what you already have in your house. It’s quick, free, and a lot of fun.

To make this hands-on guide, I asked my sound-designing friends for ideas, consulted the excellent Guide To Sound Effects and did some of my own experimenting in the studio.

Thanks to everyone who’s helped out – and without further ado, I give you:

 

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO MAKING YOUR OWN CHRISTMAS SOUND EFFECTS


fireplace sfx

1: A cozy fireplace

Let’s start out with the warming, cozy Christmas fireplace: To create the sound effect of a crackling fire, there are several ways to do it: Slowly squeeze a bag of potato chips, or crumple a piece of cellophane. For the larger cracks and pops, slowly twist some bubble wrap, or break some matches.

 



Ice SFX

2: Icy Sounds

Here’s how you create some great ice-cracking sounds: First off, freeze some water in an ice cube tray. Once it’s frozen, twisting and bending the frozen tray will give you some brilliant cracking and creaking sounds.

 
 


magic sfx

3: Magic

To sprinkle your projects with a bit of Christmas magic, there’s one particularly effective tool for that: Wind chimes. They give out a great, recognizable sound to use when something magical happens and you want to take the Christmas spirit to 11. It’s also a great sound for wintry ambiences. If you don’t have any wind chimes handy, here are several clever ways you can easily create your own.

 


kissing sfx

4: Mistletoe kissing

For kissing under the mistletoe, here’s a recipe for creating a kissing sound from Mary Schoals: You’ll need a glass of water, your lips, and your forearm. Take a sip of water and wet your lips. Then, make out with the underside of your forearm, the part with very little hair–letting your mouth make sloppy kissing sounds.
If you’ve got an “assistant” at hand, you may be able to think of other ways of achieving a kissing sound.

 


Need some ready-made Christmas sound effects?
Here's the Christmas Sound Effects Bundle:
 
  • Get ready for Christmas with this X-Mas audio package featuring sleighbell loops, bells, swoosh, oneshots, twinkle and christmas ornament sound effects. With different mix-outs in a total of 175 sound files.

    Includes sounds like:

    04 Oneshots FX
    21 Sleighbell Loops
    14 Swoosh Sounds
    10 X-Mas Bell Theme Sounds (81 total)
    09 X-Mas Oneshots
    10 X-Mas Ornament Bell Sounds
    10 X-Mas Ornament FX Sounds
    05 Sleighbell Sounds
    04 X-Mas Swoosh
    17 X-Mas Twinkle Sounds

'Christmas Sound Effects Bundle' by AudionFX isn't waiting until after Black Friday to pull out the tree. Since popular music has a funny way of crossing hemispheres, this library features the instrument synonymous with Christmas: sleighbells.

With over 170 Christmas sounds and one-shots as well as other ringing, twinkling bells, this collection will help you complete your yuletide soundscape, conjuring up images of falling snow and hot cocoa, or a day on the beach with a fruity cocktail if you're in balmy Queensland.

For a little Christmas cheer, have a listen to the aptly-named 'Christmas Sound Effects Bundle'.

 

christmas ornaments sfx

5: Ornaments

Dangle and shake metallic jewlery like earrings or similar for a ringing sound. Do you have a chandelier or similarly glass-equipped lamps or decorations in your house? They’ll make a great source for some glittery sounds too.

 


gift sfx

6: Presents

For the sound of presents being handled, sound designer Stuart Ankers suggests that you use a shoe box and fill it with various objects such as plastic toys, DVD cases, coins etc. Then shake the box with various degrees of excitement! For the sound of gift wrapping: Tear, glide, rub together and crumple old newspapers – or preferably magazines that have a slightly thicker paper quality – for some really useful sounds.

 


santa sfx

7: Santa in the chimney

For the sound of Santa squeezing himself through the chimney, try rubbing a balloon in sync with any visuals showing Santa’s wiggling efforts. Experiment with the various squeaks and creaks you get out of it. If Santa becomes stuck and manages to get free, add the almost-mandatory sound of a cork popping for a cartoony effect.

 


skiing sfx

8: Skiing

A simple way to make a skiing sound is simply to rub a sheet of paper across a table or desk. For a harsher, icier sound, you can rub polystyrene against a concrete surface.

 


sleighbells sfx

9: Sleigh Bells

You’ll of course get the best sound with the real deal – but if you’re low on bells, try this: Dangle a bunch of keys for the basic sound. For added effect, try dangling some metallic jewlerly (note: it might get slightly scratched, so beware) in sync with the key dangling for some more ringing. If you’ve got a sturdy metal chain with lots of links, you can also try beating/stroking/stepping on this while it’s laying tangled in a pile on the ground for some more ringing.

 

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  • Horror Distorted Perception Play Track 146 sounds included, 44 mins total $25 $15

    Need to create a tense atmosphere to induce madness, craziness and fear in your Horror or Sci-fi project? DISTORTED PERCEPTION is the library for you.

    Abnormal melodies, strange sound movements, transitions and distorted cinematic impacts are some of the things you will find in this collection; sounds with a distorted, saturated and tense feeling to grab people’s attention and provoke fear, tension and suspense in them.

    Yu can also use the sounds to enhance musical productions or create some nasty and crazy musical moments, thanks to a nice selection of percussive elements. The library contains two musical compositions using only the sounds in this library (using the percussive sounds with some of the atmospheres and transitions). Apart of being a great library for Horror or Sci-fi games and movies, this collection works well for trailers too.

    Sounds included:
    Atmospheric elements: Abnormal melodies, feedback and tense drones • Cinematic basses • Saturated bass drops • Distorted cinematic impacts • Sci-fi impacts • Sound movements • Noises • Percussive elements: Drum kicks, distorted drum kicks, hi-hats, snare drums, movements and sequences • Transitions

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  • Fire Fire Burning Stove Play Track 21 sounds included, 30 mins total $15

    Fire Burning Stove is a 30-minute collection of fire ambiences. With 21 files to choose from, the library was recorded throughout the life cycle of a fire. Featuring multiple variations, examples include the initial start up, full intensity and even down to the last dying embers.

    Using both closed and open door perspectives, typical fire traits such as whining, crackling and popping can be heard throughout. A number of recordings also include the metal of the stove expanding/contracting due to to the heat.

    Short of incinerating the recording gear, the library was recorded using a close mic’d perspective. With a minimum of 1 minute recorded per file, Fire Burning Stove was also entirely produced with looping in mind.

  • Fun Casual Sounds contains over 600 professionally designed sound effects!

    A perfect collection of fun sounds suitable for all types of sound designers, video editors, game developers or anyone who needs a large range of high quality fun sound effects ready to use out-of-the-box. Great for both quickly prototyping and the finished product. Designed specifically for games, video and other media by award winning sound designers.

    This pack also includes a variety of 150 bonus sounds effects from our full library Pro Sound Collection featuring over 4800 sound effects. All sounds from Fun Casual Sounds are included Pro Sound Collection so if you need more sounds be sure to check out our full collection.


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Need specific sound effects? Try a search below:
 

santa sleigh sfx

10: Sleigh Ride

For the sound of the sleigh moving through the snow, sound designer Kini Kay suggests you use a combination of flour and corn starch and take a block of wood and rub it around according to picture. For the sound of reindeer hooves, try beating two potatoes in a 3-beat rhythm in a pan filled with the flour and corn starch mixture above. You can experiment with adding sand, rice, and crushed crackers to alter the effect. Sprinkle with sleighbell sounds and make some huffs and puffs with your mouth to simulate those hardworking reindeer’s breathing.


Snowman sfx

11: Snowman-making

When you’re making a snowman, you’ll be rolling some big snow rolls to make up the body. To recreate the sound of this, fill a leather pouch or a balloon with corn starch, flour or salt. Then roll it between your hands as if you were rolling a sausage. For the squeaky sound of smaller patches of snow being added to a snowman, give the bag a few squeezes.

 


Snowball sfx

12: Snowball fighting

For a snowball being compacted-sound, squeeze a bag of salt / flour as with the snowman sound effects. For the inevitable snowball impact sound, punch the bag or a duvet. To sweeten the impact effect, also add the sound of you giving your chest a thump.

 


tree cutting sfx

13: Tree felling

For the chopping sounds, chop on a wooden cutting board with a knife. Watch your fingers, and consider adding some vegetables to add texture to the chopping (great for soup later on, too!). To make a a tree falling-sound, sound designer Stuart Ankers suggests using the sound of cellotape being stretched out and then slowing it right down. Experiment with different speeds and pitches, and eventually it should sound like a thick tree cracking and falling.

 


snow footstep

14: Walking in the snow

When you need to create that sound of Santa walking through the snow, here’s how: Use flour or corn starch in a pouch (or a balloon), or rock salt in an open/wide container such as a bowl, then “walk” around with your hands in it – or actually walk in it with your feet.

 


Winter wind sfx

15: Winter wind

Sound designer Sam Watson suggests that you try turning a touring bicycle upside down. Spin the tire and press a piece of stretched silk/parachute-pants/winter-parka against it – and out comes wind. For some extra howling, let the air out of a large ziploc bag (experiment with varying the degree of opening).

 


Hope you found this guide useful! Best of luck with your Holiday projects, and if you’ve got any more ideas for great Christmas sound effects, please share them in the comments below.

 

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NEED OUTSTANDING SOUND EFFECTS?
 
A Sound Effect features the world’s largest collection of independent sound effects
– a few wintry highlights
:

 
  • Sports Bob Skeleton Play Track 82 sounds included, 24 mins total

    Bob Skeleton library delivers exciting action sounds of  Two Men Bob and Skeleton heroes that go down the track with more than 100 kilometers/hour.

    The sounds of this library were taken from 9 spots along a track in Altenberg in the south of Germany. Each take is sorted and meta-tagged by recording spot and with this content you are able to assemble a complete run from start to finish or even to extend it by easily combining start sceneries, energetic passes in different speeds and noisy brakings down in the valley.

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  • Ice Designed Ice Play Track 65+ sounds included, 10 mins total

    Designed Ice features creatively processed field recordings to create both exciting ice breaks/shatters and evolving textures that combine the natural sounds of ice with otherworldly and experimental digital post-processing.

    Designed Ice highlights:

    65 24bit / 96kHz WAV files / Meta-tagged (Soundminer)
    25 Elements
    30 Evolutions
    10 Source Recordings

  • Ice Elements: Ice Play Track 1500 sounds included, 86 mins total

    Elements: Ice is a collection of ice sounds recorded and edited over the 2015/2016 winter by George Vlad. The library is made up of more than 1500 individual ice sounds including cracks, creaks, hits, impacts, smashes, drags, stomps, splashes and water under ice ambience. The sounds have been recorded over more than 4 months in Romania and Scotland at temperatures ranging between -25C/-13F and 5C/41F.

    The library's most obvious use is as Foley elements since it covers a wide variety of ice thicknesses and performances. As is the case with other libraries in the Elements series, these sounds can also be used for other purposes such as gore sweeteners, glass or wood cracks, bone breaks etc. Additionally, all files are recorded and mastered at 24/96 quality which makes them excellent sound design elements ripe for serious processing.

    Ice: Elements at a glance:

    • 89 .wav files ranging from 3 seconds to 8 minutes long; more than 1500 sounds in total
    • recorded and presented as 24 bit/96 kHz mono files
    • 1 hour and 26 minutes total length
    • 1.59 GB uncompressed size – 1.09 GB zip archive
    • recorded on Sound Devices 633 with Sennheiser MKH-8040 microphones and Sony PCM D100 with on-board mics and JrF hydrophones
    • comprehensive metadata compatible with Basehead and Soundminer

  • Winter Footsteps One Play Track 1800+ sounds included

    If you’re after high quality footsteps sounds on unique surfaces, this library is for you: ‘Footsteps One’ is the first library of the series aimed at providing exciting and unique footstep sounds for your next project. All the sounds were recorded in quiet remote locations in Northern Finland.

    Surfaces included:

    Forest Plain • Frozen Stairs • Grass • Gravel • Pine Needle Ground • Snow Deep • Snow Packed • Snow Scrapes • Wood Scrap

    Each surface comes with walk, scuff and stomp sounds with a lot of variations. Also included is bonus material like frozen stairs walk and snowscrapes recorded at various lengths.

    You get the sounds in two formats: 96 KHz 24 bit and in 44.1 KHz 16 bit, for more convenient ways of utilizing the sounds in games and other media.

    Don’t forget to check out the ‘Footsteps Bundle’ which gives you both of the libraries with a special bundle discount price!

  • Environments Footsteps Snow Play Track 45 sounds included, 25 mins total

    A footstep library built from long walks in cold and snowy conditions. Recorded in a remote, deserted Swedish forest, miles away from the nearest road.

    Different types of snow and boots were recorded as well as different paces:

    • Crusty
    • Thin/hard packed
    • Deep
    • Frozen stairs and porches
    • Stomps/scuffs
    • Sneakers
    • Leather boots
    • Kamiks

    Each track is easy to edit into multiple single footsteps for sweetening your tracks with real snow.

  • Destruction & Impact frostbite Play Track 843 sounds included, 49+ mins total

    In the winter of 2013-2014, both the Northeast and the Northwest were slammed with snow, ice, wind, and blizzards. The SkewSound team braved the frigid cold and recorded what we could: footsteps, compression, breaking ice, body falls, and much more.

    Our content was obtained during storms and their aftermath in Seattle, WA, Portland, OR, and Salem, MA. The frostbite SFX library contains some great impact sweeteners and sounds unique to winter temperatures. You won’t be disappointed!

  • Prepare for shivers! Frozen Footsteps is a huge library of winter footstep & foley sounds recorded on 8 expressive and cold surfaces in real -20 °C (and below) temperatures.

    Containing over 2400 sounds in 81 files, Frozen Footsteps foley sfx library is created for game and film sound design. If your game needs winter footstep sounds, or you are missing some authentic source material to take your studio foley tracks to the next level, this is the library for you.

    All surfaces were recorded in real movement with multiple walking and running velocities. Frozen Footsteps library includes also real jumping and landings sounds. Jumping sounds are often missing from other foley libraries, but are extremely useful for creating character movement sounds for games. This package gets you covered.

    7 surfaces were recorded during two freezing winter nights in a quiet rural area in Finland. Everything from ground to trees was totally frozen and covered in frost. However, snow hadn't fallen yet. This special moment allowed recording footsteps on unique surfaces that are usually under snowpack. To make the package complete, the frozen snow sounds were recorded later, with real crusty snow. In freezing temperatures, as well.

    All sounds were carefully edited in iZotope RX and Pro Tools 12 removing the background and clothing noise. This was quite a task, but it was worth it. This makes the sounds extremely clear, versatile, and easy to use.

    Library highlights:

    – 8 frozen surfaces
    – 2400+ sounds in 81 sound clips
    – Sneak, walk, run, jump, slide, scuffs, and more
    – 96 kHz, 24-bit stereo WAV files
    – 1.20 GB
    – Carefully edited & noise-free
    – Soundminer & BWAV metadata

  • Ice Ice Cold Play Track 98 sounds included, 05min 35sec mins total

    Need crunchy, creaking, crackling sounds of ice cubes? This library delivers 98 sounds of ice creaking, ice cubes clinking and squeaking, ice moving, melting ice, and many other really cold sound effects in 24bit / 96 kHz quality.

  • ‘Ice Skating’ is a very comprehensive library of 1000 audio files from the realm of ice skating.

    It encompasses a broad variety of sounds using different skating techniques and features many ice skating activities such as hockey games, figure skating, free skating and more.

    Most of the recordings have been made in an outdoor setting to reduce reverberations.

    Almost all of the sounds were recorded using a M/S technique with AKG C-414 and Rode Nt5, and Sound Devices mixPre.

    This library presents unique focused sounds that have been edited meticulously making them easier to integrate in any audiovisual project or interactive program.

    The rare distinctive quality of these recordings also allows them to be a base for
    any sound experimentation through a creative process; and can be layered with other sounds or treated in order to produce interesting sound design.

    A couple of Ambiences are also included in the library. These are ORTF stereo recordings of outdoors/indoors skating.

    Like every other sound library from Articulated Sounds, the files are embedded with metadatas (Soundminer/iXML/XMP/BWAV/ID3).

  • Ice Ice Tension Play Track 206 sounds included

    A collection of 206 ice tension, creaking, and breaking sounds, recorded in a dense pine tree forest in Sweden.

    Ice Tension includes:

    • Very long tension creaking sounds
    • Multiple breaking sounds
    • Ice impacts on ice
    • Ice impacts into ice water

  • Icy Snow HD is a unique collection of ice debris, stress, cracks, and impacts, as well as snow impacts and footsteps.  The local weather produced a foot of snow covered in less than an inch of ice.  Very unique sounds!

  • Need the sounds of a snowmobile / snow scooter? The Ski-doo library gets you the sound of no less than 6 different snowmobiles. It comes with a selection of sounds such as engine start, engine loop, acceleration, speed loop and much more.

    A unique collection of engine sounds, for when you need snowmobile sounds specifically, as well as for other creative sound design purposes!

    Snowmobiles recorded:

    • 1977 El Tigre 5000
    • 1978 Yamaha ET250
    • 1979 Yamaha ET250
    • 2003 Bombardier MXZ 600
    • 2003 Bombardier Rotax 800RS
    • 2004 Bombardier Arctic 4

Explore The Full Collection
 

 
THE WORLD’S EASIEST WAY TO GET INDEPENDENT SOUND EFFECTS:
 
A Sound Effect gives you easy access to an absolutely huge sound effects catalog
from a myriad of independent sound creators, all covered by one license agreement
- a few highlights:
  • Drones & Moods Strange Moods Play Track 69+ sounds included, 65 mins total

    Whether you seek eerie ambiences, mysterious chatter, or a bassy sweetener, Strange Moods has you covered. In this collection, you’ll find over an hour of perfectly-loopable, atmospheric audio. Inspired by such games as Limbo, No Man’s Sky, and Badlands, all 69 files are high-quality 96kHz/24bit WAV files and drag and drop ready.

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  • In High Desert Ambiences 1 – Essentials, get the desolately beautiful sounds of the American Southwest as the sun brings to life the songs of desert wildlife. This collection features sounds that will make you fall in love with the desert with the trickling of distant rivers, smooth cricket chirps, echoey caws from ravens so close you can hear the details in their wings flaps, snorts from a cautious yet curious mule deer, choruses of birds at dawn, and much more. Most recordings are well over 4 minutes, with one half-hour night-time track that will make you want to take out your tent immediately. For lush, peaceful nature sounds from the heart of the American Southwest, here’s High Desert Ambiences 1 – Essentials.

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    Two percent of the price of this library is donated to an environmental cause. I view it as an “artist royalty” for the planet!

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    • A huge THANK YOU to all customers who purchased my sound libraries this past year! Sale ends Monday 8/21.

    KEY FEATURES:
    • Featured on Designing Sound: “Our Favorite Sounds of 2016
    • Desert dawn and evening choruses
    • Distant flowing river, songbirds, and insects
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    • Lengthy night-time cricket chorus
    • Partially audible and ultrasonic bat clicks up to 70kHz
    • Ghostly distant animal calls
    • Mule deer warning snorts and jumping movement
    • Files ranging from 31 seconds to 30 minutes
    • Rio Grande dawn chorus along the Texas/Mexico river border
    • Locations: Near Marfa, Texas (in a mountain valley at an altitude of 6,000 ft) and Big Bend National Park along the Rio Grande River, Texas/Mexico border.
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    ambiences_markers

    GEAR USED:
    Sennheiser MKH 50/30 MS pair
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  • Household Kitchen Play Track 155 sounds included

    The Airborne Sound Kitchen sound effects library includes over 150 culinary sounds.

    The package includes appliances: blenders, toaster, fridges, and freezers. There are tools, too: glasses, knives, bottles, dishes, and cans. Also included is the work that ties it all together: cooking, cleaning, preparing, and chopping. Includes over 10 fields of Soundminer metadata.

Explore the full, unique collection here
 
 

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