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Since it is nearly Christmas, I do hope that everyone is getting into the festive spririt. For those that are there already, welcome!

For those that are not, I hope that by reading this blog and possibly downloading some of the suggested apps you will be nudged slowly into the spirit. 

A wise man once said that "Creating a successful app is an incredibly difficult task, whichever platform you are using".  

So with that in mind, I have diligently researched, trialled and tested Christmas apps suitable not only for children, but for people of all ages. 

Santa Tracker

Santa Tracker App

Most people with kids know of the NORAD tracker (North American Aerospace Defence Command) that follows Santa on his magical trip around the world. This year, the tracker has gone mobile.

Between now and Dec. 24, users can explore Santa’s 3-D Claymation village and play a variety of games. On the night in question, the app will track Old Saint Nicolas as he and his reindeer deliver gifts worldwide. And to give it that modern feel, Santa now has two accompanying fighter jets. Random, I know. I thought reindeers, an army of elves and magic would be enough. Apparently not.

Platform: iOS, Android and Windows

Price: Free

Hello Santa

Hello Santa app

Hello Santa, if you haven’t heard of it, is available on iOS to connect to Santa through Skype.

Yes folks, you (or your children) can actually have a live, recordable conversation with Santa Clause himself at the other end of the line. Imagine the memories! Although pricey (may cost £10 or over) St. Nick will chat to the children and they can tell him face-to-face what they want for Christmas, cutting out the traditional visit to Santa's Grotto.

Although it has been reported that many users are unhappy with the cost, the creators Make Believe Labs have sold ‘hundreds’ of calls following their launch a few weeks ago.

Platform: iOS

Price: £10+

Santa Spy Cam 

With the technology available today, I find it difficult to imagine what Christmas is like for children these days. 20 years ago I was fit to burst on Christmas eve, but something tells me that if I was a child now I would be spontaneously combusting at the very mention of Santa.

Santa Spy Cam takes the technology of augmented reality to catch elf activity in your home. You “set up” your iPhone to capture certain areas of your house in the night when the kids are asleep and the elves are at work.

The elves land and are captured by the iPhone which is recording their movements. Spy Cam will let you capture Santa creeping around too, closer to the time.

Platform: iOS

Price: Free 


iCaroler App

If you’re like me and you enjoy a sing-a-long every now and then, I would imagine the iCaroler app is more for you than the kids.

A multiplayer carolling app which allows you to connect with other players to virtually sing together, iCaroler brings the holiday spirit straight to your phone. You can sing along to the many melodic holiday songs such as Silent Night, or you can let the professional acapella singers do it for you.

With the ability to connect up to four iPhones, iPod Touches, or iPads through Bluetooth or Wifi sync technology, users can bring a caroler to the front of the group or tap carolers to mute them. Pick a part and sing along or just let the happy crooners of iCaroler handle the singing for you!

Platform: iOS

Price: Free

Xmas Radio

Xmas Radio App

I have been listening to the Irish station Christmas FM since it started back on air in early Dec. Unfortunately, as it doesn’t have an app (It’s a festive charity station) so I have resorted, albeit happily, to using the Xmas Radio app when I’m on the go. 

It already has over 100,000 downloads and some of the stations run all year, should you wish to remain in a permanent festive mood. Multiple channels from around the world means that you will be able to listen to not only the traditional songs that you are used to, but songs you didn’t even know existed.

I’m currently listening to ‘Tim McGraw; Dear Santa’. Christmas country songs are definitely a novelty to me.

Platform: iOS, Android and Windows

Price: Free

Santa’s Bag: Christmas Gift List

 Santa’s Bag – Christmas Gift List

It’s too late for me, but it may well be able to help one of you. This app helps with present planning, by giving you space to put down all your gift ideas, sorted by the person who’ll be receiving the gifts and including sections for you to keep track of the ever important spending.  

Import recipients, set budgets, plan gifts. Basically, track your progress and share. Each step is carefully designed to make sure you don't forget anyone or anything. Christmas shopping has never been easier or more fun. It even includes a bar code scanner to add the items into the app.

Platform: iOS, Android and Windows

Price: Free

Fire Place HD

Fire Place HD App 

Last, but never least, on my list is the Fire Place HD. Sitting in front of the fire in the evening is a tradition for many families that translates to warmth, love and family. However, if you’re like me and you don’t happen to have a fireplace wherever you’re living, recreate this homely feel by downloading an app. Yes, this is the world we live in.

The fire moves and crackles like a real one, so throw on the radiators, Christmas music and settle in for the night. It may take a little bit of imagination to believe it’s real, but it is Christmas after all. A little imagination goes a long way.

Platform: iOS, Android and Windows

Price: Free

Ornaith Killen

Published 11 December, 2013 by Ornaith Killen

Ornaith Killen is part of the Econsultancy research team.  Follow on Twitter @ornaithk.

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