Get the Christmas spirit

Turn your PC desktop into a warm and colorful Christmas countdown.

Christmas is coming; in fact, it's always coming. Get in the spirit with a festive animated 3D screensaver that also counts down the days until Christmas with 3D Magic Christmas Toy Shop, which turns your desktop into a window on Santa's workshop. It plays music to a variety of animated activities, including a toy train, an elf on a rocking horse, a glittering Christmas tree, and a snowman dancing outside in the cold. You can easily alter the color balance to give, for example, a reddish or greenish glow, and change what falls from the sky. It displays the day, date, year, and time in addition to counting down to C-Day.

The free trial version downloads and installs easily and uninstalls just as neatly, should you decide not to keep it. Clicking Settings on the Screen Saver tab of the Display properties opens the program's colorful, easy-to-use controls. It will play up to 10 MP3s of your choice (the trial version only plays one, actually part of one, "Let It Snow," and it cloys quickly). Most controls are enabled in the trial version; however, the full version is only 10 bucks.

This is just one of many lively 3D animated screensavers from Unique3ddigital, and one of several holiday-themed offerings. It worked perfectly in Windows XP. Unfortunately, while it downloaded, installed, and even previewed in Vista Home Premium SP1, not even several complete uninstalls and reinstalls could get it to show up alongside the rest of the screensavers in the Display properties.

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