As the holidays approach, there is often a feeling of elated anticipation mixed with a smattering of dread. There is so much to do and only so much time. Meals to plan, parties to host, travel to arrange, gifts to buy and joy to create … it can take a toll! Make this the year you vow to let technology take over some of the heavy lifting so you can relax and delight in the season.
Meals: The holidays often mean that you’re doing a lot of extra cooking. This is an ideal time to put a reliable meal-planning app to work for you. A favorite is Big Oven (available for Android and iOS). This free app has more than 250,000 recipes stored and includes a virtual grocery list based on chosen recipes. It also has a handy leftover feature that allows you to type in extra ingredients you have and suggests recipes to use them for.
Parties: If the holidays don’t feel complete without a party or two, consider using Wunderlist to help you stay oh-so-organized. This organizing app will allow you to create a timeline, set reminders, store your guest list and keep you from missing deadlines as the big day approaches. You can also share assignments with others so you don’t have to do all of the hard work.
Travel: If you’re headed over the river and through the woods this holiday season, simplify your travel with a packing app such as Packing Pro ($2.99 for iOS). Ideal for families who need multiple packing lists, this app even encourages you to take pictures so you can be reminded of exactly which item you intended to pack. This can come in handy if you’re traveling and attending special events and want to make sure you pack just the right outfit and accessories!
Gifts: Is there a “must-buy” gift from a person in the family? Or that gadget that almost never goes on sale that tops a loved one’s list? Use Google Alerts to keep an eye on possible sales or availability for that hot item of the year. The more specific you are, the more likely you are to find the best deal.
Joy: Last but not least, the holidays are supposed to be about joy, happiness, togetherness and love. Don’t let all of your to-do’s keep you from finding peace in the midst of self-imposed chaos! Consider an app like Calm or Headspace to keep you relaxed and in the moment as you enter the most wonderful time of the year. Too much ho-ho-ho and not enough “ohmmm” can turn anyone into a Grinch. Find time each day to center, relax and remember what the season is all about.