The Festive Apple 2012: Advent calendars for iOS, Web and legacy Macs

Sections: Home and Personal, iDevice Apps, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, iPod touch, Mac Software

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Advent—which begins this year on the First Sunday in Advent, December 2, 2012, this year—marks New Years on the the historic Christian Church calendar, the beginning of the new liturgical year and the Church season leading up to Christmas Day.

Presumably some people actually welcome rollout of Christmas decorations, music, and commercial hype directly after Hallowe’en. But not many. A December 7, 2011, article entitled “Too Much Christmas Turns Shoppers Away,” by Marketing Daily’s Sarah Mahoney cites psychologist Nancy Puccinelli, associate fellow at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, saying new consumer research shows that laying on too much Christmas holly-jolly sales associate demeanor, relentless Muzak, and overcooked decorations tends to stress shoppers out, making them feel bad and less willing to purchase. Moderate festive decor, however, inclines consumers to spend more and like the retailer more. Music-wise, Prof. Puccinelli said classical melodies like Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” “… celebrate the holiday without hitting consumers over the head with the joy they should be experiencing.”

Interestingly, a solid majority (57.44%) of respondents to a recent online poll chose the “Start of December” as the ideal date for stores to begin playing Christmas music.

Advent calendars also seem more popular than ever recently, possibly due to the variety available for use on computers, smartphones and ‘Pads.

According to the Blogging Thomas Website, advent calendars first appeared in 19th-Century Germany, when various methods of counting the days between the start of Advent and Christmas Day were used. Advent calendars were introduced to the USA with the assistance of U.S. president Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower, whose grandchildren took a shine to the idea. The calendar was soon adopted in other countries too, and in the U.K. chocolates began to appear behind the little doors as soon as rationing would allow. By the end of the 1950s, chocolate advent calendars had appeared, and by the following decade they had become widespread. They still exist today, with hundreds of different varieties appearing across the globe.

Here is a roundup of electronic Advent calendars for 2012:

iPad, iPhone and iPod touch

Advent Calendar 2012 LITE

Swiss-based JustKidsApps has released a lite version of its nostalgic Advent calendar for iPad with illustrations by Swiss illustrator Viviane Dommann. With Christmas short stories, poems, little games, recipes and ideas for handicraft behind each window, the Advent calendar has something in store for everyone in the family to count down the days until Christmas.

The LITE version contains the first four windows of the full version, the remaining 20 windows can be obtained via In-App-Purchase.

Starting the days in December by opening doors on an Advent Calendar is a fun tradition enjoyed by many, but the best thing about Christmas is that it’s about so much more than “things.”

With over 100 pages, the windows have something behind them for everyone:

  • Christmas-related short stories and poems by the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, O. Henry, M. A. Haley, E. T. A. Hoffmann, Clement Clarke Moore and others
  • 3 recipes
  • Spot the difference and other little games
  • Instructions on how to make a gift box

All are beautifully and whimsically illustrated by Viviane Dommann.

Zoom in and explore together all the pictures and discover:

  • Christmas figures like Santa Claus and The Nutcracker sharing the pages with characters from well-known European folk tales.
  • Interactive features such as Pinocchio’s nose – do you know where it goes? That his nose in fact grows?!
  • Hidden sounds – Christmas tunes, animal noises, musical instruments and more, oh my!

Regardless of where you live, with JustKidsApps’ Advent calendar 2012 you can enjoy together an advent season full of snow, baking, stories, games, music and most importantly, family.

The Advent calendar 2012 is $3.99 US (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Entertainment category.


Gourmet Pixel Ltd. has made this one the biggest and best Christmas app for iOS devices. Packed full of features, the app features a helpful countdown, letting you know exactly how many more days you have to get all those presents for loved ones.

The app is available all year long, yet before the 1st December each year all of the extra features, jokes, songs, toys etc are locked. Once the 1st December arrives, the fun really starts.

You will then be able to start opening the windows within the Advent calendar. Each window unlocking a new feature within the app. This will happen every day right through December until Christmas arrives. The developers have added some great hidden treats this year, wallpapers, jokes, festive songs, games, facts and many many more. – the only one you ever need. Xmas Fun 2.1 includes:

  • Christmas Day Co
  • Advent Calender with surprises
  • Gift list
  • Toys
  • Games
  • Festive Jokes
  • Christmas Songs
  • Wintery Wallpapers

Product [Christmas!!]

Christmas Countdown: Deluxe Edition

Scottish-based software developers Vasoware offer Christmas Countdown: Deluxe Edition for iOS. It’s not exactly an Advent calendar, but something analogicsally similar, featuring a suite of tools to use in the run up to the holidays. Count down the days and hours to Christmas, listen to classic Christmas songs, and track Santa’s every move, all while enjoying fluid animations and dynamic weather effects.

In keeping with the Christmas spirit, all users get the Christmas Deluxe version for free. This app is a big hit with young children and anyone who eagerly anticipates the holidays.

Feature highlights:

  • Countdown the days and hours to Christmas Day
  • Santa tracker – rekindle the magic and let your children see where Santa is!
  • Classic Christmas songs – for free!
  • Real-time clock – use as your main clock
  • Fluid animations, crisp sounds and retina display
  • Dynamic snow effects and day/night cycle

Christmas Countdown: Deluxe Edition is free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Entertainment category.

Product [Christmas Countdown: Deluxe Edition]


Wait for Christmas with this alarm clock and calendar of Advent. The wonderful Christmas music is performed and interpreted by Trio Monte for every day of the week.

It’s simple:

  • Set the alarm time (also works in the background)
  • The alarm clock has new music every day of the week
  • Every day you can also mail the postcard

Christmas time is over? There’s a special track for the alarm throughout the year!

Product [AdventAlarm]

Christmas Advent Calendar for Christian Kids and Schools

BCNmultimedia, publisher of Children’s Bible and Children’s Prayer apps, the world’s most downloaded christian apps, has announced Christmas Advent Calendar for Christian Kids and Schools by Children’s Bible 1.0, a free Advent Calendar app for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. If you are looking for a Christian Advent calendar, this is the app for you: a Bible faithful Advent calendar for children of all ages. Starting on the 1st of December, kids will be able to open the corresponding window every day until Christmas day. In every window you will find an illustration about a moment in the gospels on the Annunciation and the Birth of Jesus with a text and a quotation from the Bible.

Main Features:

  • The app is free and does not contain neither ads nor in-app-purchases
  • A different illustration every day, from December 1st to Christmas day
  • A complete Bible teaching resource for Advent and Christmas in 25 illustrations
  • For every window, a matching illustration and the corresponding Biblical quote
  • Parents and teachers can open the windows before the date in order to prepare their comments
  • Wish your friends and relatives a Merry Christmas sharing these illustrations via e-mail

Christmas Advent Calendar for Christian Kids and Schools by Children’s Bible 1.0 is free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Education category.

Product [Christmas Advent Calendar for Christian Kids and Schools]


BBC Bach Christmas Calendar

If you love the music of J.S. Bach as I do, this Christmas calendar from the BBC is sublime. It hasn’t been updated for a while, but no matter. A visit will be self-explanatory.

Product [BBC Bach Christmas Calendar]

Full Homely Divinity Advent Calendar

The traditional Anglican organization Full Homely Divinity says:

“Finding ourselves a bit frustrated by Advent Calendars that are more about Christmas than Advent, we decided to try our hand at creating our own online Advent Calendar. The background for our calendar is a Jesse Tree on an ivory panel from Bavaria, c. 1200, which is now at the Louvre Museum in Paris.

“As is the case with most Advent calendars, ours begins on December 1st, rather than the First Sunday of Advent. That simply means that in some years you will have to start the calendar a day or two before Advent begins, while in other years, it will not have enough days. Click on the numbers to follow a link for each day of December leading up to Christmas. The numbers beyond the current day are not yet linked to the page of the day. You can look back at days you have missed, but you will have to come back for the days that are still ahead. The Jesse Tree provides one of the themes of the project: the ancient faith history of the people of God as the forebears of the Messiah lived it. The calendar also looks forward to the culmination of God’s plan at the end of time, linking the faith history of the past with John’s grand apocalyptic vision in the Book of Revelation.

“The Jesse Tree provides one of the themes of the project: the ancient faith history of the people of God as the forebears of the Messiah lived it. The calendar also looks forward to the culmination of God’s plan at the end of time, linking the faith history of the past with John’s grand apocalyptic vision in the Book of Revelation.”

Product [Full Homely Divinity Advent Calendar]

PhotoAdvent 2.0

PhotoAdvent is a personalized Advent Calendar that runs on your Mac Classic using your pictures. PhotoAdvent allows you to import your own picture files so that when you click on a day in the Advent Calendar, the pictures which are revealed are yours.

The program opens on a snow scene with 25 numbered boxes. You click on the dates in order to expand them and then click and drag your mouse to gradually reveal the pictures hidden behind the dates.


PhotoAdvent comes with 25 pictures built in. So even if you never import a single picture, you’ll still have a working advent calendar this Christmas.

Registered users can import pictures for all 25 days of the calendar. Unregistered copies of PhotoAdvent are limited to importing five pictures. Although PhotoAdvent is not a screen saver, certain entertaining things do happen when PhotoAdvent is left idle for a period of time.

Minimum System Requirements for Macintosh:

  • System: System 7.0 or later
  • Processor: 68030 or better (PowerPC or better strongly recommended.)
  • Memory: 8 MB RAM
  • Monitor: 640×480, 256 colors (Thousands of colors strongly recommended.)
  • Disk Space: Around 1 MB

Basic PhotoAdvent is now a fully functional Advent Calendar, even if you don’t register. However, registering PhotoAdvent allows you to import your own pictures for all 25 days of the Advent Calendar. Unregistered copies of PhotoAdvent are limited to importing the first 5 pictures.

The price of PhotoAdvent registration is $20.

Product [PhotoAdvent]

Christmas Calendar

This is a free Christmas calendar widget for Mac OS X 10.4. (Tiger). It contains 24 “Windows jokes”—one behind every door—until Christmas Eve! In other words, 24 reasons why you are glad you’ve got a Mac!

If you try to open a door too early you’ll see the cat image and the number of days you still have to wait. There is a “Show Anyway” button, but you’re trusted not to use it.

System requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.4 or later

Product [Christmas Calendar]

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