Who wouldn’t love a project that involves Python, a Raspberry Pi, and Christmas lights? One of my favorite tutorial sites, tuts+, has out done themselves with their recent tutorial. Now tuts+ has a tutorial on using a Raspberry Pi to control Christmas lights.
You’ll be able to control the lights with a simple Python program, which is easily modifiable for different patterns or triggers. You could also setup your Pi for remote control and be able to control your Christmas lights with an iPad or mobile phone.
Overall the project, from scratch, will be about $125 (YMMV on what deal you can find on the parts). Using a Raspberry Pi has been a great way to get kids into tech because it involves a little hardware, a little software, but a whole lot of visual feedback when it works. Perfect holdiay project with the kids!