Making a list, texting it twice -- now there's even an app for Santa

A mom's app for delivering Santa's messages to kids prompts a wish list of of other holiday-themed apps.

For decades now, the North American Aerospace Defense Command has been tracking Santa Claus on his annual journey, but with the ready availability of smart phones, almost anyone can get into the act.

A mom in Utah developed the “SantaMessage2U” app for iPhone. For $1.99, you can download an app that lets Santa leave a message on your kids’ iPhone, letting them know that they were nice, but adds that “Santa is always watching.” It uses voice technology to make anybody sound jolly and Santa-like.

I have to admit, I stopped believing in Santa when I was about 3 years old, when I asked my mom, who is highly rational and logical, if he was real. “Yes,” she said, “there’s a Santa Claus in every shopping mall.”

Thanks for dashing my childish beliefs to smithereens, Mom, like the box of glass ornaments my brother threw down our basement steps that year.

But then a funny thing happened. As the years passed, I rebelled by becoming a Santa fan. To this day, when Santa comes down 34th Street at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, I get a little misty-eyed. Here it comes, the one shot I have all year at this sense of irrational, explosive happiness, the happiness against which all other happiness is measured. “It’s like Christmas,” you say, when something happens that’s almost too wonderful to believe. Think back to “Peter Pan,” when the one thought that got the Darling children flying was Christmas.

Now, I love Christmas. I love the whole month of December too, and, most of all, I love you, chubby little Saint Nicholas of Smyrna, in your ridiculous, ermine-trimmed bishop's robe.

So now we can all track the coming feast days, using the almost unlimited creative resources of smart phones. Here are a few iPhone apps I’d like to see developed for the weeks ahead:

"Holiday Cookie Counter" app: You tap in a record of each cookie you eat. By the end of the holidays, it calculates your cookie intake. It gives you your total cookie consumption load in one of three sizes:

  • Cookie Elf, for reasonable cookie consumers.
  • Cookie Monster, for people who are pushing the human limits of sugar, butter and white flour intake.
  • Cookie Copenhagen, for people whose cookie consumption got so out of control that they are in violation of international environmental treaties.

"Scourge of Scrooge" app: If somebody is being too bah-humbug for your taste, you can arrange to have three ghosts send the person eerie text messages at scheduled intervals. The first text, from the ghost of Christmas past, sends a link to embarrassing home videos posted on YouTube and the Facebook page of the person’s college sweetheart. The second text, from the ghost of Christmas present, sends a link that has the recipient’s face Photoshopped onto a “Dancing with the Stars” video. The third text message, from the ghost of Christmas future, points to a link of Bernie Madoff in jail. That oughta give anybody the heebie-jeebies, enough so that the reformed Scrooge can then use the

"Scrooge on Christmas Morning" app: where he or she can pick from a variety of online retailers to send the biggest gift basket to one of dozens of charities.

You get the idea. Droid or iPhone, there’s almost no limit to the ways you can use the new smart phones to spread Christmas cheer.

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