Most of us have a bit of a love/hate relationship with technology. On one hand, it makes our lives a helluva lot easier and helps connect the world. On the other hand, it can distract us from the beauty of the ‘real world’ and give us serious FOMO when we check out other people’s feeds. But during the busy holiday season, technology is definitely our friend. When there’s a million-and-one things to organise and no time to do it, our phones become like our virtual assistant that helps get everything done. However, there are SO many apps out there, it can be hard to know which ones are actually worth downloading! That’s why we’ve rounded up our favourite apps for making it through the holidays. Whether you’re trying to cook the perfect roast, organise your office’s Secret Santa or just stay sane around pesky relatives, we’ve got you covered.
1. For beating holiday traffic: Waze
Both mine and my partner’s families live on the North Coast, a four-hour drive from Sydney. Last year, we were stuck in traffic for more than an hour as we tried to get out of the city on Christmas Eve. But that won’t be the case this year, thanks to Waze! It’s the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. Not only can you use it as a GPS when driving, it gives you real-time updates on any accidents, road closures and heavy traffic in the direction you’re heading (so you can detour if necessary). It can also tell you the cheapest petrol stations on your route and send ETAS to whoever you’re meeting (just in case mum gets worried!)
2. For organising group presents: Tilt
Doing a combined Christmas present with your siblings and want to avoid squabbles? Get everyone to download Tilt, stat. It’s basically the digital equivalent of splitting the bill at a restaurant. The social payment app is the easiest way to collect money from a group of people and keep track of who’s paid. The best part is, it’s completely free and it doesn’t charge anyone’s card until everyone has paid. You can also use the app for crowdfunding and donations, which is great if you’re doing any Christmas fundraising.
3. For the perfect Christmas lunch: Time to roast
In charge of the Christmas roast this year and have NFI how long you’re meant to cook it for? Time To Roast will be your new favourite sous chef. You simply select what type of meat you’re cooking and how much it weighs and it calculates how long it needs to be in the oven. It even has an alarm so you can make sure it’s not overcooked (because nobody wants to be the person who ruined Christmas dinner!)
Download here (iOS)
4. For gift shopping: The Christmas List
Halfway through your Christmas shopping and can’t remember who you have and haven’t already bought for? You need The Christmas List. The easy-to-use app allows you to input everyone you need to buy for and set a budget for each person. It also allows you to record any present ideas and check them off as you buy them. Worried about your cheeky younger siblings, nephews or nieces (or even an impatient partner!) snooping on your list? Fear not, you can set a password!
5. For staying organised: Todoist
At this busy time of year, we tend to have a billion questions running through our minds at any given moment. Have you organised a present for your Secret Santa? What are you going to wear to the work Christmas party? What are you going to do for New Year’s Eve ? Even people who don’t usually rely on a to-do list may find they need one during the holiday season! Enter, Todoist. The free app is the ultimate digital to-do list, thanks to its simple, distraction-free design. We love the fact that it makes it really easy to manage multiple lists: so you don’t mix up ‘work tasks to finish before the Christmas break’ with ‘gift ideas for Grandma.’
6. For staying fit: Daily Workouts FREE
There are a LOT of fancy training apps on the market right now. But for over Christmas, (when the last thing you feel like doing is working out) you need something quick, simple and fuss-free. That’s why we love Daily Workouts FREE. The home workout app has nearly 100 different full body and targeted workouts. They range from 5 to 30 minutes, so you can fit in a workout no matter how long you’ve got. The videos that accompany each move make it super easy to follow, so it’s perfect for any experience level. Best of all, it’s free (as the name suggests) and you don’t even need an internet connection to use it.
7. For tracking your drinks: Intellidrink
Let’s face it, the holiday season and alcohol tend to go hand in hand. Whether it’s cider at a Christmas BBQ or cocktails at a Christmas party, many of us go a little too heavy on the dancing juice in December. One of the best ways to stop yourself from going overboard is by monitoring your alcohol intake. But who is going to pull out a little notebook in the middle of a party and start tallying up drinks? Not us! The app Intellidrink is a really simple way to keep track of how many standard drinks you’ve had. It also gives you an accurate estimate of your blood alcohol content and counts down how long you’ll need before you’re sober again (so you can put yourself on timeout, if necessary!)
Download here (iOS)
8. For staying sane: 5 Minute Relaxation
Christmas shopping crowds, nosy relatives, holiday traffic… there’s a lot that can stress you out at this time of year. Sometimes the key to not slipping into meltdown mode is taking some time out for yourself. This app is the perfect companion for your solo chill time.The bite-sized guided meditations are the perfect amount of time to recharge your batteries before heading back into the party. There are even meditations as short as 30 seconds for when you’re really pinched for time but need to get your zen on!
9. For organising Secret Santa: Kris Kringle
Been asked to organise a last minute Secret Santa for your office or friends? Don’t stress, this easy-to-use app will sort you out! You can either import names directly from your address book or put them in manually. It then randomly draws the names and matches them up with each other. As for the task of letting everyone know who they’ve got? The app features an email template you can use to easily send notifications. It’s way simpler than drawing a name out of hat, especially if you’ve got people in a few different locations! Just a head’s up for multidenominational groups, though, the app is quite Christian-oriented!
Download it here (iOS)