I’m a holiday junkie. I watch all the Christmas specials (including a copy of PeeWee’ Christmas Special which I have on VHS. It’s the only reason I still have a VCR), I make hot chocolate, I bake, I go absolutely insane. My insanity now extends to my iPhone, which has recently experienced a rash of holiday apps. Here’s a list of fourteen that I feel stand out somewhat from the growing crowd. They go well with eggnog and gingerbread.
North Pole ($2.99)
I’m not really sure why this app is named North Pole. I was expecting a compass type app, but in fact, this one give you Christmas-themed bobble heads. You can choose from Rudolph, Frosty, or Santa Claus, and the motion sensitive head-shifting action is accompanied by popular Christmas tracks, which you can select in the app’s settings screen.
Holiday Mistletoe (Free)
Any excuse to steal some holiday smooches. There’s about a thousand mistletoe apps out there (Don’t believe me? Search for yourself), but this one has the benefit of being free. It also features motion sensitive animation that simulates 3D space, and real jingling sounds, so your kissee will hear you coming and have a chance to escape.
It’s the most directly named of all the apps on the list, that’s for sure. Does it capture the spirit of the entire holiday in a single piece of software? Probably not, but it’s only a dollar after all. Basically a music playing app with a list of built-in classic Christmas carols. It also features a recorder so that you can add your own, and a countdown timer so you know exactly how long it is till the big day.
Nice List Holiday Gift Manager ($1.99)
I am the worst gift shopper on the planet. I never have any idea what to get anyone, and even if I have an idea, it’s completely forgotten by the time I get to the store. That’s why I used (or am still using, actually) the Nice List this year. It lets you pick people from your Address Book, add gifts to their lists, and set a price for each, and then quickly tick off when they’re purchased, wrapped, and delivered. Nice UI and icon make this one stand out from the crowd.
Are You Naught or Nice? ($1.99)
You probably shouldn’t need an iPhone app to figure this out, but if you do, this one has some decent illustrations and a pleasant interface. Also has some entertaining examples of what qualifies as a Naughty/Nice act, ie. “Returned all the presents to Whoville” and “Stole from a street Santa.”
From the makers of iPhone flight simulator Wings, Santa Wings provides a North Pole-esque landscape for you to fly over in you sleigh, pulled by five reindeer, including the most famous of all. You can adjust your speed, display or remove the cute animated reindeer and sleigh, and choose from four different holiday-themed soundtracks.
Holiday Hunt ($0.99)
I don’t condone taking potshots at the real thing, but you might be able to work off some of that holiday stress by shooting down Jolly Old St. Nick with this simple simulator. The goal is to pick off his reindeer one-by-one, which obviously can’t end well for Papa Christmas.
If you’re already tapped from gift shopping (and/or buying Christmas iPhone apps), then the Starbucks holiday music app will come in handy. It’ll save you a few dollars in holiday music purchases, especially if you don’t mind not being able to pick a specific track to play, since the songs play in shuffle mode only. Still, there’s nearly sixty songs, and they’re all either holiday classics or modern classics from artists like Jack Johnson.
Maybe you’re one of those people who own a virtual fireplace DVD. I’m definitely one of those people, so buying FirePlace for my iPhone was no big leap. Fireplace offers audio and video, and optional holiday music to accompany your burning former trees. It also plays in either portrait or landscape mode, depending on the orientation of your phone.
Festive Holiday Baking ($1.99)
A simple recipe app with loads of delicious looking desserts. I can tell they look delicious because the app includes pictures of all the treats, in addition to ingredients lists, yields, and directions for each item. I’m making the Peanut Butter Fudge for my own family gathering, but I wouldn’t bet on it making it there in one piece.
Christmas Carols by iChristmas ($0.99)
Perfect for your holiday karaoke party. Packs over 100 sets of Christmas carol lyrics and historical background, with more than 85 providing actual audio as well. This is a multi-tasker, since it includes shakeable jingle bells and simulated mistletoe as well. Might be the closest thing to one-stop shopping on this application list.
Part advent calendar, part virtual Christmas tree, the iTree from sodacope changes as the Holiday season progresses. When it was initially released, it displayed a pine tree in the forest, then a stump for a while, then the same tree in a room, then a decorated tree, etc. There’s also virtual snow that reacts when you shake or change the orientation of your iPhone, snow globe style.
Fuzzle Christmas (Free)
If you haven’t tried out the puzzle game Fuzzle yet, this free holiday version might provide the perfect opportunity. Your goal is too line up five or more matching Christmas ball ornaments, but moving pieces will generate more, making it progressively harder. Use the candy canes and stars as wild cards, with the stars erasing all matching tiles on the board. Fun and free, definitely a holiday must-have.
A simple game, but a pretty fun one as well, sort of like the Santa Claus version of PaperBoy. You control your sleigh’s altitude by tilting your iPhone up or down, then drop the appropriate colored gift into the chimneys of houses with corresponding window lights. Suffers from a bad audio track that had me worried my iPhone speakers were broken for a second, so you might want to play it muted.
Happy holidays, TAB readers! Remember, tis the season to pretend that January credit card bill doesn’t exist!