Digital Crave

Goofy holiday photo apps for your iPhone and iPad

Holiday Picture It!Holiday Picture It!It seems that every holiday on the calendar brings with it a wave of themed apps, many of which focus on digitally manipulating the photos and videos on your smart phone or tablet. Halloween tends to be particularly fun in this regard, in that you can easily zombify friends and family, which is oddly gratifying.

Christmas season is no exception, of course, and you'll find the app store is overflowing with options for tinkering around with your home photos and videos. Below is a sampling of free apps for iPhone and iPad, though you can easily find similar items for Android or Windows phone. All of these are free to download, though most have some kind of premium in-app purchase system or ad support.

Holiday Picture It!
iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch

This bare-boned photo app is typical of many others out there and basically provides themed digital stickers that you can plop onto photos from your library or camera — Christmas tree, snowman, jingle bells, etc.

In-app purchases unlock more image galleries, but there's nothing here you'll want to pay for. One upside is that the app offers sticker galleries for all the major holidays, and even those second-tier celebrations like St. Patrick's Day and Cinco de Mayo.

Santa Hats appSanta Hats appSanta Hats
iPhone, iPad

The Santa Hats apps takes a different tack by focusing in on one particular trick — fitting digital Santa hats onto the people in your photos. As such, you get a much larger range of hat styles, plus more exacting manipulation tools like color slides and opacity controls.

You've got your classic Santa hats here, but also old-school toboggan hats and even some camouflage variations. If you want to fine-tune your holiday photo tweaks, this is the way to go.

Holiday Cards appHoliday Cards appCards
iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch

Apple's Cards app has been around a while, and it's a simple, straightforward and useful idea. You download the app and design your own real-world greeting card, which is then uploaded, printed, put in an envelope and mailed out to anywhere in the world. ($2.99 per U.S. address; $4.99 per overseas address.)

Christmas cards are among the eight general categories you can choose from, and within each category are dozens of card templates. You can insert, adjust and resize your own photos within each card, and even track the delivery of online by way of USPS barcode system — you'll get an email when your card is delivered.

Elf Yourself appElf Yourself appElf Yourself
iPhone, iPad

The dancing elf meme has been floating around online for many a holiday season, and you're likely familiar with it. You upload a portrait-style close up photo of your face, or that of a loved one, map it to a pre-generated video of dancing elves, and hilarity ensues.

The Elf Yourself app, sponsored by Office Max, is the latest update to the idea and ups the production values noticeably. You can generate one to five different dancing elves and choose from a range of music video styles — the Hip Hop video is free, or you can purchase Charleston, 1980s, Soul or Classic for 99 cents each. Videos can be saved, emailed or uploaded directly to Facebook. This stuff is way more fun than it technically should be. Something about dancing elves, I guess.

Gangnam holiday appGangnam holiday appGangnam Santa Booth
iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch

This was inevitable, really. The Gangnam Santa Booth works much like the dancing elf concept, except your photoshopped friend or family member gets a Santa hat and is forced to do this year's unavoidable pop culture artifact, the "Gangnam Style" dance. In a civilized society, this sort of thing would be outlawed or at least regulated, but what can you do?

Gangham Santa Booth also lets you swap in customized music and background images from your locally stored files, then save or send your video. This app is a spinoff of the DanceBooth series of apps — check those out for even more embarrassing options.

Note: This was written by Glenn McDonald, a Digital Crave contributor.

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