By:Â Michele Wolfson
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Presents need to be wrapped, endless shopping needs to be taken care of, preparations forÂ holiday parties are underway, many of us are going to the gym more than ever to compensate for our overindulgence in eggnog, cookies, cake, and other sweets in order to prevent our protruding stomach from popping our flies open… wait a minute… this actually sounds like the most DAUNTING time of the year! There is so much to do in so little time!
With all of the lists of things that need to get done, it’s a wonder that anyone did it all without the help of a handy-dandy smart phone. I think my mother and I say, “How did we get by before cell phones?” on a very regular basis and she is a product of the 1950’s. That baby boomer lived most of her life without a cellular device and yet it’s hard for her, as well as many of us, to imagine life without one.
So why not enlist your trusty cell phone as an aid to have during this busy time of year. Here is a list of our top five smart phone apps that are helpful during the holiday season:
- Telenav- This is a great app that helps you find a relative or friend’s house you’ve never been before! “Holiday traveling with kids can be a challenge” is the understatement of the year. View maps, find local businesses and driving directions with online maps, and easily send addresses to your phone for navigation. It beats other handheld GPS systems and in-car navigation systems because it’s right on your phone and provides turn-by-turn directions with TeleNav GPS Navigator.
- Simple Soiree- If you work up the guts to throw a holiday party (bless your soul, you’re a braver person than I), meet your new BFF- Simple Soiree. Start by selecting your party’s theme, location, date and time. Then you can invite guests directly from your phone’s contact list or from scratch. Your guests will receive an email with all the details and can click a link to RSVP; the app keeps track of those who reply “yes”, “no” and “maybe.” You can also create as many shopping/to-do lists as you want, i.e. menu, decor, entertainment and compile them into one big list to take with you when running errands.
- My Vacation: If you are going away for the holiday season, this is the app for you. My Vacation is a travel app that allows you to create a personal travelogue all from the palm of your hand. Preserve memories of your travels through photos, videos and journals. This app will let you plan and document your travels easily and create an instant photo album! Features: Plan activities and what to pack before the vacation and create a travel journal containing photos, videos, maps, journals and audio recordings. Interactively follow a playback of the trip by uploading to Facebook, Twitter and/or email.
- Better Christmas List: Ever find that you’re making your list and checking it more than twice? In fact, you’re actually checking it 500 times, crossing off names and then wondering who gets what and when and where? Yeah, I feel you. Here is an app that lets you create shopping groups for family members, friends, teachers, etc. and set and track budgets for groups or individuals. (The app conveniently alerts you when you’ve blown your budget.) There’s also a nifty gift archive, where you can list the gifts you’ve purchased to avoid buying two of the same thing.
- Instagram/Postagram: Okay, so I am aware that these are two separate apps, but they go together hand in hand as far as I’m concerned. With these two apps, one can make a really creative and unconventional Holiday card in the form of a postcard with a customized picture. You can select a photo from your phone’s photo album, Instagram, Facebook or take a shot with the app. Â Selecting a photo from Instagram is the way to go because it lets you add preset filters to your photos. The filters are applied with one tap and will make all but the least inspired photographers look like they have an eye for a snap. Did I mention that Instagram is free?
The holiday season will always be a time mixed with joy and stress, but downloading and using these helpful apps is as easy as pie (even for my technologically-challenged mother, who loves her phone in spite of her ongoing war versus technology).***
Are there any phone apps that are helpful for the holiday season that you would add to this list? Please let our readers know!
***I love my mother very much and she is the most beautiful woman alive.
For more helpful holiday tips, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)