Smart technology has seamlessly crept its way into the joy of our holidays. I honestly cannot imagine my holidays without a smart phone, iPad, or tablet, which is crazy because I am actually old enough to remember a time when we did not have cell phones. As a kid, I remember watching a young man walk to the corner of our block, lean against the pay phone booth, and patiently wait for a phone call. Fast forward 25 years, and I haven’t even seen a public pay phone booth in the last seven years.
Because of this technological shift in our society, the holidays have drastically changed. I spend a lot of money and time hoping to avoid feeling drained or rushed during this beautiful time of the year. It is my goal to use any and every tool that will help to calm the chaos of the season. November and December bring so many positive memories and experiences to our family, and I do not want stress to invade that space.
In my home, smart devices have changed our lives for the better. I am thrilled to share five of my all-time favorite mobile applications for a cheerful holiday!
Message From Santa! – FREE – Andrioid and IOS
If you are spreading the joy of Santa Claus in your home, then you will love this app. You can call Santa, record a wish list, and hear what Santa is doing. This app also has a Santa Chatbot that chats with you, just like you’re chatting with the real Santa. You can also request a call from Santa, and you can let your children record a voice message for Santa. This app is a must-have for the kids who just want to tell Santa Claus everything!
Norad Tracks Santa Claus – FREE – Andrioid and IOS
I find that this app is a hit with the older kids even if they no longer believe in Santa Claus. Beginning on Christmas Eve, NORAD tracks Santa’s journey by using detailed satellite maps and GPS images. The app shows where Santa is located around the world in “real time.” This app is a great way to spark great conversation and interest in geography. You can also follow @NoradSanta on Twitter to get the latest on Santa’s journey around the world.
The Christmas List – $2.99 – IOS
The Christmas List will keep track of your Christmas shopping. You can make a list of everyone you need to buy gifts for, and then you can set a budget for each individual person. Let’s say that you add a friend. You’ll walk into the store, tap your friend’s name, and then you can tap on the items as you buy them, and when you go back to the main screen, you can see how much you have left to spend on your gifts. This app helps me to keep track of what items I still need to purchase, and most importantly, it reminds me to stay within my budget.
TripIt – FREE – Andrioid and IOS
Anyone traveling for the holidays? TripIt organizes all my travel itineraries and documents. Each reservation is automatically sent to TripIt, which will let you view travel confirmations, flight itineraries, tickets, hotel booking info (including Air BnB), rental car reservations, ferry tickets, driving directions, etc. in one easy place. The app also makes it simple to share your trip plans with whoever is picking you up from the airport or train station or anyone else who may need to know what your travel plans are. Winning!
Holiday Recipes, Delicious Meals – $2.99 – IOS
Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day is packed with full plates and bellies! If your home is the hot spot, you will love this app to help you to keep track of your menus and recipes. Even if you aren’t the hostess, we all know there’s often a lot of pressure to show up to events with tasty food and drinks. For a little extra help in the kitchen, I like to use my smartphone as a meal planner and cookbook. This app covers the most popular dishes served during major holidays and special events— Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, Super Bowl, Passover, Easter, and more— with over 1oo recipes and video tutorials on fun holiday traditions like making gingerbread houses! Up to six family members can even share this app.