Looking for a project to put your electronics skills to the test? Consider this animated star project design from UK-based Unusual Electronics.
You'll need a PIC18F2620 controller, 60 LEDs, a circuit board and a few miscellaneous electronics parts. Total cost should be around $20 plus a few hours of your time. You wire the LEDs and the controller into a circuit along with two push buttons that will enable you to change the lighting effects without having to reprogram the controllers. To program the controller you'll need a PIC programmer.
The developer hasn't released the ASM source code for the project but HEX files are available. Overall it seems a festive, moderately-challenging build to increase your skills and add a little Christmas cheer.
Animated Christmas Star project Unusual Electronics]