7 Apps You Need to Survive the Holidays

Santa Claus sitting at his desk and using a digital touch screen tablet surrounded by colorful Christmas gifts

Between finding the perfect gift for everyone you know, sending out greeting cards, making sure your bank account stays out of the red, and balancing your normal responsibilities, we all know that the holidays can get a little (or a lot) crazy. While there are some things about living in today’s technology-ridden world that kind of suck (I personally wish we still lived in castles, but hey, what do I know?), I for one don’t know how I would make it through the month of December without my smartphone. So when you start to stress about your mile-long to-do list this Christmas, just remember: have no fear because the app store is here.

Ink

Free for Android and iOS

Sending out Christmas cards might seem like a pain, but downloading this app will make the process a whole lot easier. Ink Cards has thousands of greeting cards for any and all occasions, including the holiday season. The card templates are extremely easy to use, and you have the ability to add your own photos, texts, and other customizations. After you enter the addresses of each person you’re sending the cards to, the cards are printed onto high-quality 5×7 inch paper and delivered for only $1.99 a piece (which is discounted even more when you buy in bulk).

All in all, the whole process takes about 15 minutes to complete — instead of the week-long event of choosing a photo, printing the cards, hand-writing addresses, licking envelopes, and remembering to put them in the mail (which is somehow always the hardest part).

Related: The Christmas Lover’s Guide to Budgeting

Gift Professor

Free for Android

If you’re really stumped on what to get someone on your list, Gift Professor is an awesome way to get some ideas flowing. You start by filling out a survey about whoever you’re shopping for that includes questions about their age, career, interests, hobbies, and personal style. With access to over 2,000 merchants, Gift Professor does the rest. If you don’t have an Android, there’s also a Gift Professor website that works the same as the app.

The Christmas List

$1.99 for iOS (similar app for Android)

Of all the apps on this list, this one is by far my favorite. Not only does this app allow you to make personalized, individual lists for each person on your Christmas list (complete with a breakdown of each item including the price, store location, and even a picture), but it also keeps your spending in check by showing you the progress you’ve made toward your budget — both for each individual person on the list, as well as a cumulative total for everyone.

This is a godsend for someone like me, who tends to let my overspending get the best of me year after year. The Christmas List has other cool features too, such as wrapping reminders, shipping tracking, and a fingerprint recognition security system to keep away from prying eyes. Though this app is not free, I it’s well worth the money.

RedLaser

Free for Android and iOS

After you have your list, it’s time to hit the stores and start checking things off. But don’t leave your personal shopping assistant behind! RedLaser is rated as one of the top shopping apps because it lets you scan the barcode of any item and instantly find the best prices from other local stores and online.

Once you have the app, it also pulls up any available coupons for whatever store you happen to be inside you’re currently shopping in, as well as store maps to help you get your shopping done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Sesame

Free for iOS

Subscription boxes are becoming increasingly popular, and they make good gifts too! (Who doesn’t love six months of free wine showing up at your door?) The only problem is that when you give a subscription box as a gift, you have no control over what the recipient is actually receiving. Gift box services, like Sesame, remove the “subscription” aspect and offer a way to personalize the gift you are sending by choosing from a variety of boxes with different themes instead.

From the “Relax & Refresh” box that contains candles and scented soaps to the “Craft Beer Cheer” box that contains a collectible pint glass, bottle opener, beer nuts, and a specialized craft beer tasting notebook, there’s something for everyone on your Christmas list. Not to mention, Sesame gifts are already wrapped in a neat little box, complete with a personalized greeting card. Christmas shopping doesn’t get much easier than that!

Yiftee

Free for Android and iOS

If you know where someone likes to shop, but are horrible at actually picking out something they would like (I’m looking at you, boyfriends everywhere), then this app might just become your best friend. Most major supermarkets carry an assortment of gift cards, but gone are the days where you spend half an hour scouring the rack for a specific store/restaurant and a specific amount (why is there no amount between $25 and $50?).

Yiftee allows you to choose from all major retailers and chain restaurants in your area and lets you choose the exact amount you want to give (usually between $5 and $250, although it varies depending on the place). The best part about Yiftee is that it also engages with local businesses by letting you purchase gift cards for local coffee shops and boutiques alike. If you’re indecisive and can’t choose just one place, you can just give the recipient a Yiftee gift card and let them decide what to use it on. You can give the gift card electronically, or you can print it off and put a pretty little bow on it — it’s up to you.

Parcel

Free for iOS

If you’re planning on doing any online shopping for anyone on your list, you know how complicated it can be to keep track of everything you have ordered and when it’s scheduled to be delivered. As an online shopping addict, I have a love/hate relationship with tracking shipments that I’ve ordered online. It feels like Christmas once it’s finally here, but the anxiety I feel while waiting for its arrival is almost not worth the high. Apps like Parcel can remove some of that anxiety by streamlining your shipment tracking and making it all accessible in one convenient place. Because Parcel connects with over 200 delivery services, you’ll no longer have to dig up every single order confirmation email to find out when your package should arrive. Parcel also lets you add notes about each package so it makes it easy to remember what you have even ordered in the first place.

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