10 Apps to Take the Stress Out of the Holidays
The holidays are the happiest time of the year, full of family, friends, and cheer. For all too many of us, however, the holidays are also full of stress. From navigating mall lines to scrambling to send out those holiday greeting cards before it looks like a last-minute gesture, the holidays can leave us needing another holiday just to destress.
Fortunately, there’s an app for that. Several actually.
App publishers have leveraged the holiday opportunity by creating mobile apps designed exclusively for the season. From virtual Yule logs to Advent calendars, the app stores are full of festive apps to rein in the holiday cheer.
We’ve picked out 10 of our favorite holiday apps that address some of our own team’s biggest stress points this holiday season: Finding the time to relax, creating and mailing greeting cards, organizing holiday parties, entertaining the little ones, and giving that perfect gift within budget.
If you have a favorite holiday app or are looking for an app to address a different stress point, leave a comment below and we’ll give your app a download or see what we can dig up in the app stores. Enjoy, and have a very appy holiday season.
Relax and keep the holiday spirit flowing with Snowfall Wallpapers and Super Dreidel
Snowfall Free Live Wallpaper
This OpenGL-rendered animated wallpaper brings the holidays to life every time you reach for your phone. The stunning home screen wallpaper features a winter forest setting, complete with gentle snowflakes, swaying pine trees, the northern lights, and even the rare Santa sighting. The best part? Tilting the app changes the direction of the snow for a snowglobe effect.
On iOS? Sorry! This app is Android-only, but try Charismatic Christmas Wallpapers for an iOS alternative.
Keep the Hanukkah tradition alive with the animated dreidel mobile game. Whether you want a quick respite from the holidays or something to liven up a holiday party, Super Dreidel provides hours of entertainment, with gameplay for up to eight players, three different game modes (including Vegas Dreidel and Turbo Dreidel), and two versions of the Dreidel song. Simply declare the game type and the number of players, rounds, and starting gelt, and then take turns spinning the dreidel to see who can keep their gelt the longest.
On Android? Sorry! This app is iOS-only, but try Digital Dreidel for an Android alternative.
Skip the post office lines with Inkly and ElfYourself
E-Greetings and Facebook messages simply can’t compare to the experience of receiving a handwritten note in the mail. Inkly is the greeting card app that sends real greeting cards or postcards straight from your mobile device. The app simplifies card-giving by blending automation with personalization for a truly unique experience. Choose from one of thousands of premade templates or upload a photo, design your own card, and type or upload a handwritten note—the choice is yours. After you’ve designed your card, you can store the names and addresses of your recipients and, for a small fee, your cards will be printed and mailed by Inkly on the same day. One more item off the holiday chore list.
ElfYourself by Office Depot
Bring the North Pole to your palm of your hands with Office Depot’s ElfYourself app. This fun app allows you to create a personalized Christmas video featuring photos of you and your loved ones on an ensemble of dancing elves. Once you’re done, email your new video greeting to friends and family, or post it to Facebook or YouTube for all to see.
Make your next holiday party a snap with Punchbowl and Red Stamp Cards
Punchbowl takes the stress out of creating and sharing personalized event invitations. With thousands of holiday-themed templates and the ability to upload photos and create your own invitation, Punchbowl makes it fun to find the perfect invitation. Simply import your contacts from your address book or email, and you’re ready to send out your party invitations. If an RSVP is requested, recipients can respond directly from the emailed invitation. The host will then see all RSVPs and guest comments from a single dashboard. Premium features allow you to set up a poll or a potluck list for centralized planning.
Red Stamp Cards
Source: Red Stamp Cards
Voted “Best of the Web” by InStyle magazine, Red Stamp Cards combines the best of Inkly and Punchbowl to create and mail invitations right from your mobile device. Choose the perfect design from over 2,000 templates and add the “wow” factor to personalize your design with photos and design overlays. Once you’re ready, you can email, text, or tweet the invitation from your app and manage correspondence in a virtual mailbox. Or, for less than $3 a card, Red Stamp will print your invitation on the paper of your choice and mail it directly to the intended recipient.
Entertain the kids with NORAD Tracks Santa and How the Grinch Stole Christmas
NORAD Tracks Santa
If you ever find yourself in need of a few minutes’ respite or need to put the kids to bed on Christmas Eve night, the NORAD Tracks Santa app does just what it purports–lets you and your kids track the days until Santa’s flight and follow his progress as he and his reindeer fly across the globe Christmas Eve night. As an added bonus, the app comes with the “Thin Ice” game, in which Santa enlists your help to make all those deliveries in time for Christmas Day.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Source: Google Play
How the Grinch Stole Christmas comes to life in this interactive, activity-packed story. Read along or listen to a narration of Dr. Seuss’ Christmas classic on auto-play. The app includes seven mini-games and 28 activities hidden throughout the pages, as well as vocabulary tools and highlighted narration to encourage literacy skills.
Give the perfect gift with Santa’s Bag and Gift It
Simplify your holiday shopping with the app that allows you to set and allocate a budget, import recipients, create shopping lists, and share wishlists with others. With Santa’s Bag, you’ll never miss a beat when it comes to staying within your budget and finding that perfect gift for everyone on your list.
On Android? Sorry! This app is iOS-specific, but try Christmas Gift List for an Android alternative.
Perfect for Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas, or any occasion, Gift It takes the stress out of holiday shopping. Described as a “personalist assistant for all your holiday organization,” Gift It helps you organize and keep track of all the gifts your gifts and gift recipients. The app even tracks your progress, encouraging you to record which gifts are ready to be sent out and which gifts you still need to purchase.
Between last minute shopping and party planning, the holidays are among the busiest (and most stressful) times of the year. Yet, with these ten apps, the holidays can be made a little less stressful–allowing you to focus on what really matters this holiday season.
Have a favorite holiday app that you find time-saving or stress-reducing? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
Thanks, and have a very appy holiday season.