It’s that time of year again:Christmas, when millions of disparate families com together to exchange gifts and joy (and the occasional instance of drama!). But it’s also a time of shopping craziness, of mayhem, and – of course – hours of slaving over delicious food. Fortunately for all of the hosts out there, modern digital tools like apps can make the crazy times more sane – and the fun times even better.
So why don’t we take a look at some Holiday app categories and which apps are providing the most value in the best ways.
Gift Shopping Apps
Obvi this should be first. Let’s be honest the holiday season are all about buying things; even you don’t celebrate Christmas, you probably still have to buy gifts for a Secret Santa or Gift Exchange at work, or with friends. No matter what, most Americans in the US are buying more than usual in the month of December.
This is for those people in your life who appreciate the finer things in life. Gilt on the Go helps you find Luxury Brands for basically any type of gift. But don’t worry, it won’t break the bank – the app finds discounted brands (don’t worry, the gift recipient doesn’t have to know!)
2. Santa’s Bag
This app has a wonderful design that makes sure you remember everyone in your life. It keeps all your gifts (and the people to whom they belong), allows you to track the people you’ve already checked off. But the best part of this app is that it tracks all of your spending, so you know exactly how much money you’ve gone through. It even let’s you enter a budget and tells when AND how much you’re over/under budget! Plus its free!
This is very similar to Santa’s Bag, but is available on Android devices. This app also lets you track gifts by person and lets you check them off the list so you know when they’re done. It’s design isn’t as clean as Santa’s Bag; but it does let you set a budget per person, which is a pretty sweet feature (especially for Work Gift Exchanges with a price limit).
Time Management Apps
The one universal truth about the Holiday season is that we all seem to pack 28 hours of errands in a 24 hour day. So, one thing we all need is something to help better manage what little time we have. That way we can have all the time we need for shopping, family/friends, cooking, and – importantly – yourself!
Google Calendar is an amazing and understated app. It’s not overly sexy; it doesn’t wow you with showy tech. But it is a workhorse, hands down. It allows you to create dynamic events, showing time and location (which is naturally linked to your Maps App for easy navigation). It functions and integrates excellently with most 3rd party apps (take that Apple!).
Google Calendar is great, but Picniic is 100% designed to help people manage family lifestyle. This is more than just a holiday app; it helps parents balance their busy lives with their kids’ busy lives. Plus, it’s not just a family planner; it also has a Shopping list feature and a Recipe Planner feature. These last features require a $12 monthly subscription, but those of you with large families and kids, this is 12 bucks well spent.
Cooking for large groups of people is another staple of the Holiday Season. It all begins on Turkey Day, when that bird better not come out dry and hopefully ends sometime around New Years – when those appetizers better be spot on. So clearly it’s a good idea to talk about some of our favorite recipe apps. Keep in mind, these are relegated to the Holidays!
Are biscuits Gluten Free? Does honey have sugar? Are there nuts in a Rocky Road Ice Cream Cake? These are all questions the modern home chef needs to ask themselves, especially when cooking for a large group of people. Yummly is a recipe aggregator that has probably the most robust set of allergen filters of any Recipe app i’ve seen. That way you don’t have to worry about substitutions, or concerns of contamination -just put in your restrictions and the app will find the appropriate recipe. With clear directions and the ability to easily transfer ingredients into a great shopping list, this is the perfect app for a home cook who does all of the shopping too!
2. Out of Milk
We love this app due to it’s great price calculator. It allows users to enter prices of goods (manually or with a useful barcode scanner feature) and saves them for later use. That way when you create your shopping list in the future you can auto populate goods, with the price. This allows users to have a good idea of what the total bill will be (it even auto calculates tax for appropriate reasons!).
It lets you put items in a specific category to optimize time at the store and it even has a recipe feature. The one downside is that it’s not easy to share the list; this is important in a family just in case you have one who does the shopping and one who does the cooking/stocking. To be clear, you can share, the button is just buried in a menu.
So those are our picks of 2016 – but the story doesn’t end there. Maybe none of these quite match what you want. Why not get yourself a gift this year and start your own mobile app empire? All you need is an idea and the right development and design team on your side. Give SDI a call at 408.802.2885/408.621.8481 – or click to contact us!