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15 of the Best Apps and Websites to Get You and Your Kids in the Christmas Spirit

We’re spending Christmas out of town this year so, coupled with the fact that we’re in the middle of a house remodel, we decided to not do any decorating. No tree, no lights on the house, no lighted garland lining the mantel. Just a lot of construction dust, that is currently doubling as snow, and a lonely little Elf on the Shelf.

So I’ve been trying to come up with other ways to foster a little Christmas spirit in my kids. Because they love to be able to spend time on my computer and to play games on my phone, those are the two places I’ve turned most frequently. When I can find time, my plan is to hit the library to check out a few books as well. Hopefully that will happen before December 24th.

Because goodwill is part of what the season is all about, I’m sharing my favorite Christmas-themed apps and websites with you. You can check them out after the jump…

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  • Elf Yourself 1 of 15
    Elf Yourself
    An old standby, the folks from OfficeMax partner with JibJab to provide Elf Yourself, a *free* and festive way to turn yourself and up to four other people into dancing, singing elves. Always fun, always funny.
  • JibJab 2 of 15
    JibJab
    The paid home site of Elf Yourself, JibJab is a great go-to website for year round fun. Their Holiday themed offerings are spectacular and diverse. The $12 yearly price tag is a bit hefty in comparison to other apps and websites, but the sheer amount of options on their site, and the fact that you can make videos all year long, make up for it. There is one free elf video available without membership.
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas 3 of 15
    How the Grinch Stole Christmas
    This is one of my favorite Christmas books and movies (the original animated version, thank you very much). Having said that, I was a little hesitant to spend the money on this app. But I'm glad I did. My kids love it, and I love that they can either read it themselves or have the app read it to them. The illustrations are a gorgeous quality and the message, as always, is touching.
    $3.99 Available for iPhone and iPad from iTunes and for Android.
  • Parents Calling Santa 4 of 15
    Parents Calling Santa
    I love that in the digital age, Santa is available at the click of a button. This app lets parents choose which message Santa is going to deliver to their child. The three choices are "Good," Warning" and "Naughty." Once a message is chosen, the parent chooses when to have the app "call." The phone rings and an automated message from Santa is played. This app doesn't allow for any customization, but is a fun, easy tool for parents.
    $1.99 - Avialable for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad from iTunes.
  • Santa Call 5 of 15
    Santa Call
    Another app in which Santa can have a chat with your kids. This one is akin to a video chat with Santa. Your child's name, age, photo, good and bad behaviors can be entered and Santa will address them.
    $1.99 Available for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch from iTunes
  • Pandora Holiday Stations 6 of 15
    Pandora Holiday Stations
    If you're not a Pandora fan yet, this season might turn you into one. Forget downloading and storing all of your Christmas music, let Pandora do the work for you. With a number of Holiday themed options, you're bound to find one you like from Pandora's Holiday Stations.
  • Reindeer Match 7 of 15
    Reindeer Match
    A fun matching game of cute cartoon reindeer, this app will keep your kids busy, and keep their little brains working, while you bake cookies or put lights on the tree.
    Available for $0.99 for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad from iTunes
  • Santas Village 8 of 15
    Santas Village
    This app is chock full of fun Christmas themed games for kids and adults. My personal favorite is a gift version of Minesweeper. It's nothing fancy or spectacular, but it is entertaining.
    Available for $0.99 for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad from iTunes.
  • Angry Birds Seasons 9 of 15
    Angry Birds Seasons
    Based on everyone's favorite bird chucking game, Angry Birds Seasons offers up holiday and winter themed fun. The 2011 Advent Calendar game is available now!
    Available for iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone for $0.99 from iTunes and free for Android.
  • Norad Tracks Santa 10 of 15
    Norad Tracks Santa
    The Christmas Eve standby, the Norad Tracks Santa website has information and games available to keep kids entertained throughout the month. But be sure to check back on Christmas Eve so you and your kids can keep an eye on Santa and the reindeer as he travels the globe!
  • Norad Tracks Santa App 11 of 15
    Norad Tracks Santa App
    This year Norad is offering up their Santa Tracking knowledge via an app as well. The Elf Toss game is fun and challenging and my kids love to check out the Christmas Countdown Clock. If you're going to be on the go on Christmas Eve, this will be a great way to keep track of Santa.
    Free - Available for iPod Touch, iPad and iPhone from iTunes and for Android.
  • Piggly Xmas 12 of 15
    Piggly Xmas
    The popular Piggly games offers up a Christmas themed option. Help Mrs. Pig collect apples and get them home so she can make apple pies for her little piggies.
    Free - Available for iPhone and iPad from iTunes
  • Santa Booth 13 of 15
    Santa Booth
    The basic version of this app allows you to take a picture of a loved one and turn them into Santa. My kids think it is hysterical. To be honest, I do too. The paid version allows you to choose Mrs. Claus, Elf and Reindeer options as well.
    Free and paid ($0.99) versions for iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone from iTunes.
  • Talking Santa 14 of 15
    Talking Santa
    In our house, we love the Talking Tom apps and have been known to spend embarrassing amounts of time playing with the cat version. But as soon as the boys discovered this Santa version, all bets were off. They love to see him get run over by the snowball and think it's funny when the cat steals Santa's milk. And they have a great time making him repeat what they say. Who knew Santa could be so crude?
    Free and paid ($0.99) versions available for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad from iTunes and for free for Android.
  • Capture the Magic 15 of 15
    Capture the Magic
    Another slightly pricey option, this website allows you to upload a photo of your Christmas tree and add Santa to the image. Your kids will love to see "proof" that Santa was actually in their house in front of their tree! Capture the Magic is available for $9.95 and includes 3 images.

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