There's an app for almost anything these days - including Christmas.
You can download an app that turns your family into a bunch of goofy-looking, virtual elves, and then you can use the same app to share with the world a festive video clip of them dancing. There are also a few apps that let your children track Santa's wherabouts on Christmas Eve. You can even view an interactive storybook version of the classic A Charlie Brown Christmas special.
That said, Pocket-lint has rounded up some of the best Christmas apps now available, with the purpose of helping you get into the Christmas spirit. Let us know in the comments if we missed one worth including, and keep checking back, because we may update this list over time.
A Charlie Brown Christmas ($5.99/£3.89)
This app is an interactive storybook with dialogue from the 1965 animated classic. Narration is provided by Peter Robbins (the original voice of Charlie Brown), and you get access to the music and sound effects from the orginal show too. Other features include the ability to decorate your own Charlie Brown Christmas Treet and participate in contests to unlock rewards.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas ($3.99/£2.54)
This app is another interactive book, but it provides three ways to read: Read to Me, Read it Myself, or Auto Play. Auto Play will play the story like a movie, automatically reading and turning the pages, and it's likely the best option for young children. But all the options encourage literacy skills with highlighted narration and includes sounds and imagery from the animated classic.
Twas The Night Before Christmas ($3.99/£2.54)
This app is another interactive storybook. It's based on the classic American Christmas poem and lets you choose from one of three narrations. You can even record your own own voice reading. Other features include music, sound effects, and numerous 3D-like animation, including a "one minute intricately choreographed St-Nick-delivering-gifts-in-a-home-dance-routine."
12 Days of Christmas ($1.99/£1.49)
This app is based on the classic Christmas songs and features illustrations, animations, and an original musical arrangement. Features includes the ability to record video or audio while singing, with the idea that you will count down from 12 and discover "each gift from your true love", and then you can share the excitement of it all by sending your recorded vidoes to friends and family.
NORAD Tracks Santa (Free)
This is the official app for the NORAD Tracks Santa website and tool. It lets you countdown the days to Santa's fligh, and, of course, you can also use the app to follow Santa's progress on Christmas Eve. Other features include the ability to play a "Thin Ice" game, in which you help Santa's elves deliver presents. The app even teaches you about the NORAD program and its mission.
Google Santa Tracker (Free)
This Santa Tracker tool from Google doubles as a hub for festive activities. It's called Santa's Village, and during the weeks leading up to Christmas, you can use the app or site every day to: "Prep alongside the elves, test weather conditions with Rudolph, skydive with Santa, learn about holiday traditions like kallikántzari -little creatures from Greece that eat Christmas cookies".
Elf Pets Reindeer App ($0.99/£0.79)
This is one of three official "Elf On The Shelf" apps. It's a cute game in which you adopt a virtual reindeer and must interact with it to fill the Christmas Magic Meter that helps Santa's sleigh lift off the ground on Christmas Eve. You can feed, wash, love, and play with your reindeer, as well as earn Care Badges that add to the Christmas Spirit and grow the magic meter.
The Elf Adventure: A Christmas Story For Kids ($0.99/£0.79)
This app is an advent calendar, Christmas countdown clock, and even a storybook-game thing (in which you help elves save Christmas). The story goes like this: as the elves finish with their preparations, they notice the Frost Giant has overslept. He makes snow, so the eleves must go wake him and put things right before Christmas Eve. It includes 24 episodes and a new game every day.
Elf Yourself (Free)
This app is a Christmas classic at this point - and it returns every year with all new dances and features. It allows you to “elf” yourself to become the star of an augmented video, featuring your photos superimosed onto holiday dancing elves. Just upload up to five photos of you and your friends or family, then select a dance theme, and it will generate a video you can share.
Arthur Christmas: Elf Run ($0.99/£0.79)
This app lets you become an elf in order to deliver gifts to children across the world. You must "jump, dive, and crawl through houses as quickly and quietly as you can" - while trying not to crash into anything. You must even feed pets to keep them quiet. Otherwise, you'll get a "waker" and the mission will end. You'll also have to collect treats but can spend them on abilities.
A Royal Christmas ($4.99/£3.99)
This app comes from Disney and lets you celebrate the season with your favourite Disney Princesses. It features original artwork, three original stories, tap-and-play animations, two reading modes (including an interactive reading format that allows children to read and explore seamlessly), original Disney music and sounds, and an app-wide ornament hunt.
Elmo's Monster Maker ($2.99/£2.29)
This app comes from Sesame Street and is a build-your-own-monster app, in which you design a dancing monster friend for Elmo. Just choose a monster body, customise its face and look, and when you’re done, Elmo will dance and play with your monster. The app isn't necessarily Christmas-themed, though the iOS verions has festive artwork and video.
Talking Santa (Free)
This app is pretty simple: speak into your device's microphone and listen to Santa repeat your words aloud. Talking Santa features new content every year, but it still allows you to create 3D video greetings and Christmas cards that you can share by email or social media. Santa is joined by similar characters from the Talking Tom and Friends collection too.
Inkly: Personalised Greetings Cards (Free)
Inkly lets you make and send real printed Christmas cards straight from your own mobile or tablet. You can also send handwritten postcards - to anywhere, from anywhere. The app features a rich photo editor and typography editor as well as a collage feature, the latter of which lets you create beautiful layouts and get them printed in 3 different sizes. (The app includes in-app purchases.)
Secret Santa's Tombola (Free)
Secret Santa’s Tombola helps mobile shoppers find the perfect Secret Santa gift for friends, colleagues, and loved ones this Christmas. The app adds new gift options every year, too. All you have to do is pick a gender, set your price preference, and tap the Tombola to spin. Easy peasy.
Santa Claus Yourself Xmas Photo Booth (Free)
This app is kind of like Elf Yourself. You can use it to see how you would look with Santa's beard, or you can add your friends pictures and see them with Santa's hat. Just snap a picture or grab a photo straight from your camera roll, and the app will give it a Christmas makeover. Once you're done, you can save your creation or share it via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and more.