‘Tis the season to be inspired

As Christmas is almost upon us, we’ve rounded up some Christmas-themed apps to show how you might take some inspiration around a big event.

Of course, you don’t have to use Christmas in your own app or game (it’s probably a little late for that!), but don’t let that stop you looking at the ways developers have created software that stands out at certain times of the year and consider how you might adapt this for other events all year round.

Events could be seasonal things like Christmas or Easter, major sporting events, or to coincide with the latest reality TV series. There are far too many possibilities to write here!

Just be aware of licensing issues and seek advice before doing anything that might get you in trouble! If you don’t have the rights to use a name, logo or any other imagery of an event, consider creating something that only follows the theme.

Some of the following apps might also give you ideas about producing spin-off apps to promote your main app. It’s all about standing out from a crowd at the end of the day…

Seasonal adjustments

Touchnote for Christmas 
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Touchnote updated its app for Christmas, giving users a quick and easy way to create and send personalised Christmas cards by creating, editing and sending cards without ever going near a printer or post office. The app also stands out when doing a search for ‘Christmas cards’.

With this seasonal update, the app is given a new lease of life and – because it’s a variation of an existing app – when Christmas is over, you revert back to the original version or get prepared for the next big event.

Even users who might have once installed the app and stopped using it a long time ago will also be reminded that Touchnote could be the ideal way to send those last-minute Christmas cards (or even to get you to send cards at all).

Living on the edge

Christmas Tree Live Wallpaper
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Live wallpapers are a great way to jazz up an Android device, but offering a degree of customisation and interactivity is a sure-fire way of ensuring it will remain in use longer than others, where the novelty can quickly wear off and users begin to crave something different.

Imagine, perhaps, a wallpaper that lets you interact with it using the S Pen to create your own scenes, patterns or messages – perhaps adding decorations to the Christmas tree?

Some other live wallpapers for Christmas also allow you to add personalised text and photographs, to sit within frames on a virtual mantelpiece. The options are limited only by your imagination.

Always remember that everyone will have different opinions about what makes a good live wallpaper, so customisation is vital. And, if you’re thinking this isn’t really much of an app – many developers tag on live wallpapers to accompany their other apps. Create a popular live wallpaper and everyone will be able to see your other apps, pushing your software way above any other type of list.

Soundboards & Ringtones

Christmas Ringtones 
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Okay, so soundboards have a pretty limited attention span and have probably been ruined by the countless fart apps which first appeared on Android (and Apple) devices. As such, they can often be seen as rather tacky and pointless.

But, as with everything, a bit of creative thinking can overcome those negative views and help you come up with something that might be fun, and even useful.

Think of how you might offer some initial sound samples that a user can play with and set as a ringtone or notification/alert sound, then go a step further by letting users record and import their own sounds – and even share those recordings with other users.

What about an app created for children where they can learn different words, read out and recorded by a parent?

Get organised

Christmas Gift List Planner 
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Xmas Organizer 
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Every Android phone has access to a calendar and every Samsung has its apps for keeping memos, notes and reminders. However, a themed app to help organise for Christmas (or perhaps your big family summer holiday) allows even more scope to helping people manage such a large occasion.

Christmas Gift List Planner and Xmas Organizer are two example of an app that can let you keep lists of Christmas presents for friends and family, track costs and keep updated on what you’ve still got left to do.

But what about the next level? Imagine an app that ties in with major retailers, with affiliate links to generate revenue from sales and a combined at-a-glance order tracking facility? Offer more than Christmas and you’ll have something for the whole year, and every year.

Get into the festive spirit

Christmas Radio 
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It’s one thing to create a Spotify playlist for all those Christmas songs you can’t live without, but what about an app that can offer a bit more – such as access to live radio with Christmas Radio, offering more of a personal touch from live DJs, and the chance of hearing something new.

Throw in a load of Christmassy graphics and you’re almost done! But when Christmas is over, there are countless other music genres you could use to create a similar app around, or think about things like rounding up all the radio stations that broadcast commentary for sporting events etc.

It doesn’t have to be limited to radio stations either, with many sites hosting images and videos too.

Christmas Countdown 
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Another obvious app is the virtual advent calendar and there’s loads of scope to be creative here – from simple graphics to giving daily access to videos, animation, music or even things like discount vouchers for online retailers.

As you know people will be using this app every day throughout December up to Christmas, it’s time to make the most of your captive audience, such as promoting other apps you’ve developed and want people to see.

An advent calendar might not have much scope for use for anything other than Christmas, but what about using the concept for similar countdowns ahead of big events?

The personal touch 

Christmas Pho.to Frames 
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Christmas isn’t just about buying expensive presents (unless you’re about ten when of course it does!), it’s about getting closer to those people who are important in your life.

Christmas Pho.to Frames lets you create beautiful Christmas photos with a large range of effects and scenes – all from a simple portrait photo taken on your phone’s camera or selected from the gallery.

And when you’ve got that perfect photo or contact image ready, the huge range of sharing options creates the value in your app. Think beyond sharing the photo on Facebook or emailing it to someone, and to things like sending the photo to the Touchnote app or another online photo printing service – or perhaps being able to use the images in a live wallpaper, as an avatar in a game and – well – just about anything.

And finally…

If you’re working on creating an awesome game too, look at the existing success stories of the big titles like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope – each offering Christmas editions or special levels released periodically.

Create something that can be updated around events and you’ll have people coming back to play again and again!

So come on – make it ‘appen!

Note: The above apps were picked at random and are by no means the only apps you can draw inspiration from. But, to create a truly awesome app you will probably want to think about something that hasn’t already been done! Good luck…

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