There is nothing more fun (or stressful) than the days leading up to Christmas.

The anticipation of opening your presents, seeing friends and family, the big Christmas dinner and watching Christmas Specials on TV. On the flip side there are also the long lines at stores, the rush to get everything done before Christmas, stressing that your gifts will arrive in time, writing all those Christmas cards and dealing with family politics.

With Christmas only 12 days away, I’ve selected 12 apps that just may help keep you in the Holiday Spirit.

Lets start by keeping the children at bay and the constant barrage of “When’s Santa coming?” questions…. I’ve selected a number of kid-friendly apps with holiday themes, starting with Toca Boca’s fun hair cutting and styling game, Toca Hair Salon – Christmas Gift. My daughter LOVES this free game, in which you can cut, color and style Santa’s hair and beard as well as a Christmas tree. Next up is Winter Land, a charming winter-themed iPad board game that is very similar to Candy Land. It is 99¢ and can be played by up to 4 kids. I have yet to find a kid who doesn’t like Elmo (adults are a different story) and Sesame Street’s Elmo’s Monster Maker, has been updated for the Winter and is an excellent choice to entertain your little monsters.

When you think of Christmas time and TV specials, two classics immediately come to mind, Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! and A Charlie Brown Christmas. Oceanhouse Media’s Grinch app brings this classic Seuss title to life with some nice interactive elements and wonderful narration. Loud Crow Interactive have done a truly spectacular job with their A Charlie Brown Christmas app, it has wonderful narration and interactivity and even offers a free Directors’ cut of the special which includes an additional 4 scenes. Today kicks off their “12 days of Charlie Brown Christmas” contest, with fun daily activities and an “amazing prize to be awarded after Christmas”.

Still feeling stressed? Why not get your mind off things with the some games. There are the obligatory Holiday-themed releases of popular puzzle games including Cut the Rope: Holiday Gift and Angry Birds Seasons and a fun new freebie called Festive Dash. Or you can really kick up the action (and carnage) with MADFINGER Games’ BloodyXmas 2010.

Last but not least, I’ve selected a few “utility” apps to make your life a little easier over the next week or so. Keep track of all your online gift orders and mailed packages using Posted. It supports both domestic and international carriers, counts down the days until delivery and even gives you push notifications with every status update, so you’ll know exactly when your loved ones receive their gifts. You’ll never have to fear that you paid too much for that Twilight DVD for your cousin Jake, or coffee mug for your Aunt Linda, while fighting off the crowds at the mall. Just pull out your iPhone and use RedLaser to scan the item’s barcode and you will instantly be able to see a price comparison to let you know if you should be ditching the mall for another store or the comfort of your couch and laptop. Finally, you are likely to have lists upon lists of things to get done before the big day. It could be groceries, gifts, pickups to do around the house or even your packing list. If so, I highly recommend picking up Paperless: Lists + Checklists. I have found it to be one the easiest to use checklist apps available, and you can even share lists between devices as well.

Happy Holidays to everyone and hopefully some of these app suggestions will make the Holidays a little less stressful.

Toca Hair Salon – Christmas Gift
Toca Boca

Winter Land
Tangorang Labs LLC

Elmo’s Monster Maker
Sesame Street

How The Grinch Stole Christmas! – Dr. Seuss
Oceanhouse Media

A Charlie Brown Christmas
Loud Crow Interactive Inc.

Angry Birds Seasons
Rovio Mobile Ltd.

Cut the Rope: Holiday Gift
Chillingo Ltd

Festive Dash
Bell Pottinger Digital

BloodyXmas 2010
MADFINGER Games, a.s.

Leeane Robinson

RedLaser Barcode Scanner and QR Code Reader
eBay Inc.

Paperless: Lists + Checklists
Crush Apps