Apple decks iTunes with holiday cheer: Iconic Christmas movies available as downloads, albums, audiobooks and apps

Apple offers a wide variety of digital content for those looking to find their Christmas spirit this holiday season. Classic flicks adorn iTunes and the App store as digital downloads, audio books, albums and applications, and each media selection gives global users the opportunity to find good cheer…

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Frank Capra directed “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and it stars James Stewart and Donna Reed. According to Internet Movie Database, the movie is about an angel who helps a frustrated businessperson discover life’s joys by showing him an alternate reality without his existence during Christmastime.

The 1946 film is available via iTunes as a regular download for $9.99 or a high-definition download for $17.99. The audio book version, “It’s a Wonderful Life: Classic Movies on the Radio,” by Screen Director’s Playhouse is priced as $1.95 on iTunes. The radio dramatization is a cheaper alternative to the movie, and it features Stewart re-creating his Oscar-nominated role. Meanwhile, for those who love to quote the flick’s memorable lines, “Wonderful Life” by Johnson App Consulting is an iPhone app that features sound snippets from the original production. It is priced at 99-cents through the App store.

Bill Melendez directed “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and it features voice acting by Ann Altieri, Chris Doran, Sally Dryer, and Bill Melendez. According to IMDB, cartoonist Charles M. Schulz paired with pianist Vince Guaraldi to create a musical television special about the Peanuts’ gang and their attempts to repel the commercialism of Christmas. The special originally aired Dec. 9, 1965; although, it was later re-mastered in 2008. The standard version is available on iTunes for $9.99. It is free, however, on Hulu Plus (with commercials).

The cartoon’s re-mastered soundtrack is also available through iTunes for $7.99, and it features classic songs, such as “Linus and Lucy” and “The Christmas Song.” That’s not all; the film’s self-titled 99-cent iPad app by Loud Crow Interactive is discounted 85 percent for the holidays.

According to the app’s description, users can: “Play Schroeder’s piano, finger paint with the gang, go caroling with the Peanuts choir, and participate in the Spectacular Super-Colossal Neighborhood Christmas Lights and Display Contest to unlock decorations for your very own Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.”

“A Christmas Story” might play all-day long on television for Christmas annually, but the digital download to the film is still a popular pick on iTunes for just $9.99. The production was “destined to become a holiday classic,” according to its description on iTunes. The 1983 flick directed by Bob Clark follows “an Indiana schoolboy whose obsession with getting a Red Ryder air rifle for Christmas leads to hilarious consequences.”

The family-comedy’s iPhone app by World Arena is $1.99 through the App store, and it features a trivia game based on the movie. Users can “choose from two exciting modes of game play” and post “high scores to the Internet,” according to its description. The app also displays a new look for 2011 as it is optimized for iOS 5.

George Seaton directed “Miracle on 34th Street,” and it stars Edmund Gwenn and Maureen O’Hara. According to IMDB, it is about an old man who claims to be Santa Claus and has to prove himself sane in court, and he does so while winning the hearts of folks in Manhattan and across the globe.

The 1947 film is available on iTunes for $9.99. The audio book version, “Miracle on 34th Street: Classic Movies on the Radio,” by is priced at $1.95 on iTunes. The hour-long special was recorded in 1948 at the Lux Theatre and stars the original cast.

There cannot be a summary on the most iconic Christmas films in history and their subsequent digital content without referring to “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” The 1966 television special is $7.99 through iTunes, or users can download director Ron Howard’s 2001 version for $9.99. Both versions are essentially about a Grinch-of-a-hermit who hatches a plan to steal Christmas from the Whos of Whoville.

The Dr. Seuss classic is also available as an interactive omBook by Oceanhouse Media for the iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch via iTunes. The app is priced at $2.99, and it includes “professional narration, background audio and enlarged artwork for each scene,” according to its description. Another Oceanhouse Media app, “Dr. Suess Camera – The Grinch Edition,” allows users to create Christmas cards based upon original artwork by Dr. Suess for just 99-cents. A third 99-cent Oceanhouse Media app, “Grinchmas,” lets users assume the role of the Grinch perched on Mt. Crumped.

And finally, the “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” original cartoon soundtrack is only $9.99 on iTunes, and the motion picture soundtrack’s songs can be individually bought , as well.

It is nearly impossible to not find any Christmas spirit this holiday season after exploring the multitude of Christmas content Apple has to offer through its iTunes and App stores. Unless, of course, you are a Grinch.

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