If you want to make your Christmas even Christmas-ier, download some of these free apps that’ll bring both practicality and fun to your life. Whether you’re organizing a Secret Santa, throwing a holiday party, entertaining your kids or just trying to relax, you can find whatever you need on your phone.
Here are some of our favorites to add some cheer this holiday season.
1. Elf Yourself
Elf Yourself is a Christmas classic. Even if you haven’t used it, you’ve definitely seen videos from it. After downloading the app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store, just upload a selfie and crop it onto an elf’s head. After that, Elf Yourself will produce a hilarious video of you (or your friends) as a dancing elf.
2. Secret Santa 22
Organizing a Secret Santa with your friends or family can be a hassle but Secret Santa 22, for iPhone and Android, makes the whole process easier. The app lets you invite people and organize your group, as well as set any rules you want. For instance, you can prevent certain people from gifting one another and set a group price limit. It’s Secret Santa without the stress!
3. Christmas Countdown
While we all know Christmas is around the corner, sometimes a countdown clock can help build some extra anticipation. While there’s no good version that works across both platforms, iPhones and Androids both offer great countdown apps. The premise is simple, but keeping tabs on just how far away Christmas is will help you get in the spirit.
4. NORAD Tracks Santa
Most of the year, NORAD is an important aerospace agency for the U.S. and Canada, but on Christmas, they focus all their energy on an important mission: tracking Santa Claus. The Norad Tracks Santa app (iOS and Android compatible) will give you up to the minute updates on where St. Nick is on Christmas. The app also includes extras like Christmas games and stories!
5. Santa’s Bag
Although Santa’s Bag is only for iPhone, it’s one of the best Christmas gift list apps out there. You can easily create customized gift lists for everyone you’re buying for and track each present. You can even set budgets to make sure you’re not overspending. Santa’s Bag is easy to use and helps take away some of the chaos of the Christmas season.
6. Portable North Pole
If you can’t make it out to see Santa at the mall this year, Portable North Pole brings Santa to you. The app, which you can download for Android or iOS, has videos of Santa that you can show to your kids! It’s free to use, but there are also premium options that offer more personalized videos and messages.
7. Christmas RADIO
As I learned from Elf, “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” That’s why the Christmas RADIO app (for iOS and Android) is perfect for the holiday season. The app has more than 140 Christmas radio stations to choose from and is totally free to use. You can also pay $1.99 to remove ads, but either way, you’ll have endless Christmas music in your hands.
8. Message From Santa
Like Portable North Pole, the Message From Santa app (iOS only) offers personalized messages from Santa Claus for your children. Santa can call or text you, and your kid can leave Santa a voicemail with their wish list too. Within the app you can even track Santa, see the current North Pole weather, and see a countdown to Christmas.
9. Christmas Tale HD
Christmas Tale is an interactive Christmas storybook that updates every year. Within the story, there are entertaining and educational games that let your kids help Santa get ready for Christmas and learn more about him. It’s a perfect family app for the holiday season, although it’s only available on iOS.
10. Yasa Pets Christmas
Yasa Pets Christmas brings you into the home of a family of kittens getting ready for Christmas. The game (available for iOS and Android) is easy to use, fully interactive, and great for children to get into the holiday spirit. And it’s totally free to use with no in-app purchases either.
11. Advent Calendar 2019
As you count down the days until Christmas, the Advent Calendar 2019 app offers games and cards every day! It’s structured like a traditional Advent calendar, with a different door for each day of December, but instead of chocolate, you get a virtual candy and a new game to play. There’s also Christmas music in the app, but unfortunately, it’s only available on iPhone.
Unlike other Secret Santa programs, Elfster (for iOS and Android) removes some of the guesswork of gifting. After everyone in your group signs up, they can make wish lists and share them. That way, you’ll never end up getting someone a gift they don’t actually want. It’s totally free and easy to use to coordinate your Secret Santa this year.
13. Santa’s Secret Keeper
Another great Secret Santa app, Santa’s Secret Keeper (for iOS and Android) makes planning your gift swap simple. The design is festive, but there’s no bells and whistles. Just input your friends’ email addresses, invite them all, and let the app will do the rest. Every participant will get an email telling them who they have to get a gift for and the details.
While your Secret Santa invitations may be covered, you’ll still probably want to send out invites to any holiday parties you’re hosting. Punchbowl has you covered, whether you use an iPhone or an Android. This free app lets you create beautiful, custom invitations with only a few clicks. Instead of the cost and stress of making and sending paper invites, Punchbowl will help you create and email your invites easily. Now all that’s left to worry about is the RSVPs!
15. Christmas Photo Frames
While you probably already have your Christmas card finalized, the Christmas Photo Frames app (Android only) will help you turn any photo into a Christmas pic. You can add frames, effects, and texts onto any image you like to give it the perfect Christmas feel. Plus, the app lets you upload any of your creations right to social media!
Read more: How to Spend Less Money This Christmas