Holiday Apps for Christmas and Hanukkah

Around this time each year, many of us fall victim to a condition known as holiday burnout, a malady sustained from weeks of consuming heavy food, viewing terrible Christmas specials and listening to the the tinny holiday music that is piped into every shopping center. However, at App360, we’ve decided that the old chestnut “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” is sage advice at times like these (plus the holidays are almost over). Thus, we present you with a roundup of “holiday” apps, some of which are actually practical, and a few offerings that are fun but essentially useless.

 Santa's SleighPimp Santa’s Sleigh

This entertainment app bills itself as appropriate for children, though surely this particular cultural reference is lost on the very young. Regardless, Pimp Santa’s Sleigh allows the user to create a range of different custom rides for St. Nick, including a “rocket propelled sleigh,” “Fast and Furious style sleigh” and “Asian dragon inspired sleigh” to name a few. You can then share your creation with your friends via a Christmas card, or display it in the gallery with other users’ designs, which you can rate (be nice, as you can be rated as well). It’s not a terribly useful app, but it can be entertaining – much like its namesake. We’re sure Xzibit would approve.

iOS and Android, $0.99

Christmas!! Countdown to Santa

The overly enthusiastic title says it all. This is a digital advent calendar for die-hard Christmas lovers only, with saccharine Christmas jokes, festive songs, and all things cutesy included – even counting down to Christmas in terms of “sleeps to go.”

iOS only, free

Santa's Bag

Santa’s Bag

On a more practical note, if you’re looking to jazz up your old shopping list, Santa’s Bag lets you list off your holiday shopping to-does and budget out your gift giving. It’s a glorified to do list with some added holiday cheer, including a countdown reminding you how many days left you have for elf business before Santa makes his rounds.

iOS, free

iGive Gifts

For something a bit more heavy duty, this app can your own little elf for holiday shopping. Truly great gift ideas are few and far between, so don’t let your next superb gift scheme get lost in the interstitial space in your brain as you complete yet another circuit of the mall or cyberspace in search of “the perfect gift.” This app offers a handy place to record all the details of great gift ideas, including cost, where you can purchase the item and the rationale for the purchase. Importantly, the app allows you to set and monitor your holiday spending budget, and tracks your giving history (to avoid the dreaded repeats).

iOS only, $0.99


The season that celebrates togetherness tends to make single people feel very alone. Fill the void with a chance encounter with a sufficiently attractive stranger. Or if strangers frighten you more than Santa scares children, try Hinge, which matches you up with friends of friends.

iOS and Android, free



Hanukkah is almost over, but an app that combines Jewish trivia and Sudoku is relevant in any season. This fun game app features a nicely-styled, blue-hued 9-by-9 Sudoku interface. In order to fill in each grid, the player must answer a multiple choice trivia question plucked from all categories of Judaica, including pop culture, history, pornography, the Talmud and Yiddish (many of the questions are really difficult!). Fun for anyone interested in Jewish culture.

iOS only, $2.99


This fitness app is a Christmas miracle for lazy people. The holidays are time where we fill awkward silences and familial fights with apple pie and turkey (or maybe spiked cocoa and mulled wine), forcing our hand in making weight loss resolutions for the New Year. Now Christmas has come early with this gift-giving fitness app that rewards you for exercising by awarding points toward prizes from stores like Sephora, Best Buy and Amazon. Nexer-Santa will give you gifts year round, as long as you keep running.

iOS only, free

Santify Yourself


If you need some material to break the ice with your great-aunt, or an easy activity to connect with your kid cousins, Santify is fun for all ages. It’s basically your average photo booth app, but on a serious Christmas kick. Snap a photo of your favorite cousin, and let the app do the rest, as it turns even the biggest Grinches into a rosy-cheeked Santa or red-nosed Rudolph. It’s free to download, if you want to be anything more than Mr. or Mrs. Claus, you’ll have to fork over a buck for each additional face like Rudolph, Scrooge or an Elf.

iOS only, free (paid upgrades)


How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Dr. Seuss

This holiday favorite that began as a book, and was realized into several movies, has now come to your phone. Rediscover this heartwarming classic in an interactive book app that you can record yourself reading. Your heart is guaranteed to grow three times larger by the end of it.

iOS only, $1.99

What holiday apps are on your list this year?