The holidays are here. Christmas is just two days away and others are in full swing. It's time to suit up in the tacky Christmas sweater your mom bought you last year and practice your fake smile in the mirror for the in-laws you can't stand. Nothing gets you in the holiday spirit quite like a nice tall glass of eggnog or fighting off crowds for those last few gifts for your loved ones or a nice round of Dirty Santa with the coworkers.
But sometimes it's nice to enjoy this time of year without all of that. Not everyone likes socking someone in the nose in a tug-of-war over the last tablet on the shelf. So instead of all of the angst, violence and the typical holiday rush, you can turn to your phone or tablet to get into the holiday spirit from the comfort of your couch. Here are a few Christmas-themed applications for your mobile devices:
There is no shortage of Christmas live wallpapers in Android Market this year. In fact, if you search "Christmas" in Android Market and start digging through the found applications, the majority of them will be live wallpapers, mixed in with a few launcher and replacement keyboard themes, a few story books for children and some games. Snowfall is one of those live wallpapers. The main scene is on the top of a handful of evergreens. You can tweak things like the time of day, northern lights in the sky, Santa Claus sightings, how fast the snow falls, and much more.
Don't ask me how every evergreen in the forest got covered in Christmas lights. Don't pay attention to the details and simply enjoy the zen-like air given by the light snowfall and a sunrise going on behind your home screen. Oh, and if you see Santa Claus shoot across the night sky, rest assured, it isn't Aaron this year. ... We think.
Who doesn't love Peanuts? Charlie Brown is a timeless classic. And Loud Crow Interactive Inc. has brought the pleasures of Charlie Brown to our favorite mobile devices this year in the form of an interactive, audible storybook. It's a classic tale of people losing sight of what Christmas is really all about and, our hero, Charlie Brown coming to the rescue to restore the true meaning of the holiday.
It's pretty apparent that this isn't meant for adults, but I've been on a nostalgia kick lately and felt like scrolling through about half of the story. With mini games and an interactive story, it's perfect for the little tots and brings a good message. Normally this app would set you back $2.99 for Android, but I know everyone's wallets are thin and you've probably already maxed out all of your credit cards (that's the American Christmas way, right?). For today only, you can snag A Charlie Brown Christmas for free from the Amazon Appstore. For iOS users, this app will set you back $0.99.
If snow covered evergreens isn't your style, maybe a spot in front of the fireplace with stockings on the mantel and presents beneath a decorated Christmas tree is. Christmas HD is a nice live wallpaper for your Android phone or tablet that gives you that warm, cozy, "at home for Christmas" feel. It comes with a slew of customization options – like changing the names on the stockings or setting your own picture in the mantel picture frame. You can also write a letter to Santa, if that's your thing. For $1.99, Christmas HD is a awesome little live wallpaper, one that I've been using for several weeks now.
As I mentioned before, there are also quite a few games to be found in mobile application stores this year, from helping Santa solve his dilemma of a Christmas without Rudolph or playing the part of Santa's little helper. If you're in search of something a little more in-depth and time consuming (to get you away from that pesky relative, of course), try Santa's Village.
It's a remake of the age-old, popular real-time strategy game. This time, however, you are trying to help Santa prepare for Christmas by building up Santa's village from scratch. Build workshops and housing for elves and create toys for children around the world from Santa's list. There are also mini-games included in Santa's Village to break from the monotony or to give you something else to do while you wait on those slow little elves making the toys (read: napping or guzzling down some eggnog instead of actually working, seriously, those little guys are slow). Again, this is mostly directed at youngsters, but if something like Farmville or Cafeworld is your thing, you may also enjoy Santa's Village.
Lastly, who hasn't already heard enough Christmas music? It's playing in every single store around America, on a large majority of radio stations and even as background music in commercials on TV. Seriously, there is no escape. But nobody can ever get tired of the same ol' tunes every single year, right? If you haven't already had enough Christmas music, download Christmas Radio and enjoy literally an endless supply of Christmas Internet radio stations around the country. Meanwhile, I'll be listening to the songs and albums I bought while on a rampage the other day.
As always, share any holiday-related apps you've downloaded and found helpful, cheerful or just plain fun below! (Note: they don't have to specifically be Christmas apps, I just don't know enough about other religions, beliefs or holidays to say anything about them and not sound like a fool.) And, of course, enjoy your holidays, all!