The Best Christmas Apps for iPhone

'Tis the season for iPhone holiday apps

The Apple App Store offers a great selection of Christmas apps, covering everything from holiday music to greeting cards. While these apps are not delivered by Santa and his reindeer, they are a festive addition to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch this holiday season.

The market for holiday-themed apps changes quickly. In addition to the choices listed below, don't forget to occasionally look in the App Store for Christmas apps specially curated by Apple's editors.

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Dr. Seuss Camera—The Grinch Edition

Three Dr Seuss Camera screens

The Grinch Edition of the Dr. Seuss Camera is an adorable Christmas app for kids or anyone who could use some extra holiday spirit. It includes 20 “Grinchmas” cards that you can personalize with your own photos — and who doesn't want a picture of themselves dressed as the Grinch? The cards can be emailed to friends or saved to the app’s photo library. If you’re only going to download one Christmas app this season, make it this one. 

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Christmas Radio

Three Christmas Radio screens

The Christmas Radio app features a festive interface and a collection of more than 31,000 radio stations. The app is based on SHOUTcast radio, so you can search the stations by keyword and save your favorites for quick access later. Music can be streamed over 4G LTE or Wi-Fi.

Because it's based on SHOUTcast, you'll be able to save your favorite radio stations to the internet radio player of your choice, on your PC or Mac.

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The Christmas List

Three The Christmas List screens

If you are overwhelmed with holiday shopping each year, the Christmas List app is for you. It’s a full-featured list app with email support, address book integration, and plenty of sortable categories. You can even track your spending so that you don’t exceed your gift budget. And the app is password-protected to hide your list from prying eyes. 

Use this app as a scratchpad or reminder of items for your list, which you can then insert into solutions that your friends or family use for gift exchanges, like Amazon wishlists or tools like Elfster.

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Christmas Countdown!

Three Christmas Countdown screens

If holiday anticipation is killing you, the Christmas Countdown! app—another free offering—will keep you sane until the big day arrives. The app includes a Christmas countdown, an Advent calendar, and a small collection of holiday songs. An in-app gift list will also help you keep track of your holiday purchases.

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NORAD Tracks Santa

Three NORAD Tracks Santa screens

Starting December 1st every year, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) tracks Santa along his global seasonal trek. The app has much more than the web-based Claus-GPS system, though. Kids can play arcade games (a new one each day in December), listen to Santa's favorite holiday songs, watch YouTube videos about Santa and NORAD, and get a glimpse into the Defense Command's HQ (including Secret Santa files). If your little ones want to tech-up their Christmas anticipation, NORAD Tracks Santa is the app for you.

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Santa's Village

Three Santa's Village screens

Santa’s Village, a free app, includes many games with fun holiday themes. It’s got solitaire, checkers, hangman, minesweeper, and more. Twenty holiday songs are also included. Even if you’re not a big game fan, Santa’s Village is a perfect kids app for keeping them entertained during the holidays.

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Escape Game: Christmas Night

Three Escape Game: Christmas Night screens

Love escape room games? This one by Jammsworks is a fun, easy game that includes the clues and puzzles you would expect from an escape room game. One downfall of the game, however, is that it is ad-heavy, so expect to have to watch ads to get additional clues, but if you want to upgrade to the premium version (it's very reasonable) you can remove those ads for smoother playing time.

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Video Call Santa

Three Video Call Santa screens

If there's a little in your life, this is the must-have app for keeping the spirit of Christmas alive. Calls are pre-recorded episodes, but users say they seem very natural—natural enough for the children in your life to enjoy their conversation with Santa Clause. And there are tons of features in this app, including the ability to record and view calls, share those recordings with the world, and for a small fee, you can even personalize the call with your child's name.

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Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Three Elf on the Shelf Ideas screens

If your family does 'Elf on the Shelf' then you know how hard it can be to come up with new and different ideas all through the holiday season. The Elf on the Shelf Ideas app can help. Not only can you see pictures of the ideas, but there are materials lists, and for households with multiple children (and multiple elves) there are even group ideas that might be handy to have.