Little Box of Christmas

A good while ago, I made The Little Box of Poems. This is a box that prints a random poem every time you push a big red button. Inside is an Arduino microcontroller and a thermal till roll printer, and it inspired Carrie Ann Philbin’s Little Box of Geek. (I also made a Raspberry Pi-powered version too.)

As it’s Christmas, I’ve decided to make a seasonal version. This one prints really bad, random Christmas cracker jokes:

Here’s how to wire it up:

box-of-poems-diagram

And here’s the Arduino code – it’s based on the Poem code, so the variables have rather odd names. If you want to find out how to add bitmap graphics, like my Christmas tree, Adafruit have a guide here. I used Photoshop and Processing to make mine.

/*
 Little Box of Christmas
 by Giles Booth
 
 http://www.suppertime.co.uk/blogmywiki
 @blogmywiki

 not for commercial use
 if you modify this code for edcuational or charitable use
 please credit Giles Booth and/or @blogmywiki in printouts
 */

const int buttonPin = 2;     // the number of the pushbutton pin - doesn't change
int currState = 0;           // set variables to hold the state of the button
int prevState = 0;

#include "SoftwareSerial.h"
#include "Adafruit_Thermal.h" // you need to download this and put it in your Arduino library
#include "tree.h"              // Christmas tree picture
#include <avr/pgmspace.h>     // I have no idea what this does

int buttonState = 0;     // variable for reading the button status
int printer_RX_Pin = 5;  // This is the green printer wire
int printer_TX_Pin = 6;  // This is the yellow printer wire

Adafruit_Thermal printer(printer_RX_Pin, printer_TX_Pin);

void setup() {
  pinMode(buttonPin, INPUT);
  Serial.begin(19200);   // this is the baud rate of your printer - may vary
  pinMode(7, OUTPUT); digitalWrite(7, LOW);
  printer.begin();
  randomSeed(analogRead(0));
}

void loop(){
  // read the state of the button:
  currState = digitalRead(buttonPin);
  if (currState != prevState)   // if something has changed, do something
{
  if (currState == HIGH) {
    printPoem();
  }
  else {
    // if you want something to happen when the button is released, put it here
    // such as a beep, or a display saying 'your poem is on its way'
  }
prevState = currState;
}
}

void printPoem(){

  // put greetings here  
  char* myTitles[]={"Merry Christmas!","Happy Christmas!","Season's Greetings!","Joyeux Noel!","feliz navidad!","God jul!"};
  
  // put 1st lines of joke in here
  // they must all be on the same line, in double quotes, separated by commas
  // use \n for a new line and \" to escape a quotation mark
  char* myPoems[]={"What does Santa suffer from\nif he gets stuck in a chimney?", "What kind of motorbike does\nSanta ride?", "Who delivers presents\nto cats?",
"What never eats\nat Christmas?", "What's brown and sneaks\nround the kitchen?","What do you get if you eat\nChristmas decorations?"};

  // put punchlines here in order
  char* myAuthors[]={"Claustrophobia!","A Holly Davidson!","Santa Paws!","Turkeys - they're\nusually stuffed!","Mince spies!","Tinselitis!"};

  int poemChoice = random(7);  // choose a random poem number between 0 and 6

  printer.boldOn();
  printer.feed(1);
  printer.println(myPoems[poemChoice]);
  printer.boldOff();
  printer.justify('R');
  printer.println(myAuthors[poemChoice]);
  printer.justify('L');
  printer.doubleHeightOn();
  printer.println(myTitles[poemChoice]);
  printer.doubleHeightOff();

  
  printer.printBitmap(tree_width, tree_height, tree_data);    // print Blog My Wiki logo    
  printer.boldOn();
  printer.println("The Little Box of Christmas");
  printer.boldOff();
  printer.setSize('S');     // Setting the size adds a linefeed
  printer.println("www.suppertime.co.uk/blogmywiki");
  printer.println("@blogmywiki");
  printer.feed(3);
  
  delay(2000);   // 2 second pause to help prevent multiple presses     
}
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