Feeling stressed? Don't panic! Christmas doesn't have to be a faff when you've got the right festive apps on your side...
It’s time to deck the halls, hang the mistletoe and settle in for a week of indulgence; Christmas is just around the corner! Excited? Or are you dreading it? We know the holiday season can be a logistical nightmare, but there’s no need to panic; the right apps can really help.
If Santa’s appointed you as his resident elf, we’re here to help you relax, get stuff done, and ease into the festive period in style. Here’s our pick of the very best apps for a relaxing Christmas…
Pinterest’s many winding avenues are a digital rabbit hole of tempting, aspirational things to do, make, buy and visit, but it really comes into its own as a gift list tool. Once your giftees have all signed up, just get them to create a ‘wishlist’ board and pin things that take their fancy, then share that with you. It’ll take all of the guesswork out of Christmas buying. Simple.
If you’re a bit of a Last-Minute-Larry, you’ve probably had many a stressful Christmas spent rushing around shops full of barren shelves. An Amazon Prime subscription can certainly put paid to that kind of panic, but Prime Now – available in selected areas of the UK – goes one step further. With Prime Now you can choose from millions of items (including gifts, food and booze), all available for free delivery within two hours. On an even tighter turnaround? You can get delivery within one hour for an extra £7.99.
Got presents and packages coming from a swathe of different companies? You can keep track of them all in one place with AfterShip. It’ll log every one of your orders, provide up-to-date tracking info, and send you notifications when each one enters a new stage of the delivery process. Handy for knowing when you need to be in, when you’re free to head out, and whether you’re going to need to grab emergency replacements.
The days of scrabbling around trying to find that old Christmas compilation CD are now long gone, and it’s mostly down to Spotify. Gift yourself a Spotify Premium subscription and you won’t be short on festive favourites this year – there are no fewer than 12 Spotify-made Christmas Playlists (forgetting the thousands made by other users), meaning there’ll be a backdrop for every festive occasion, on hand whenever you need it. Worried about your data use? Grab a Vodafone Music Pass and enjoy endless Spotify streaming!
If you’re still feeling under pressure to make Christmas run smoothly (or if the in-laws are driving you mad), why not give yourself ten minutes to take a breath, relax, and focus with top mindfulness app Smiling Mind? There are loads of different meditations to choose from, of differing lengths and designed for different ages, meaning there’s something for everyone – and no excuse not to chill.
Yes Chef | Free, iOS
There’s no need to get yourself in a tizz over cooking during the festive period; it’s never been easier to follow pro-grade recipes with the right apps. Yes Chef offers over 350,000 recipes, each of which’ll it’ll duly read aloud to you so you can keep your hands where they should be – on the ingredients. Using natural language recognition, it’ll also answer questions as you bark them, like ‘What’s the next step?’ or ‘What temperature should I set the oven to?’
The Google Assistant comes baked into some newer Android phones (as well as Google Home devices), but you needn’t miss out no matter what smartphone you have, since it’s available as a standalone app on both Android and iOS. Think of it as Google on steroids – a digital helper willing to answer anything you throw at it over the festive season and beyond. It has a million uses, but during the Christmas break, we reckon ‘argument solver’ is its most obvious.
Guilt can be another stress-inducer over the holidays – worrying that you’re overindulging while others are barely scraping by. Luckily, Donate a Photo by Johnson & Johnson can help alleviate this in a pretty easy, ingenious way. Simply download the app, create an account and share a photo of you and your family, and the company behind the app will donate one US dollar to a charity of your choice. It’s genuinely that simple. You can upload one photo per day too, making it a great, free way to give $365 (£274) to charity over the year.
Get more great apps… Check out our pick of December’s must-have (non-festive) downloads.