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Best holiday apps of 2016

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After impatiently waiting all year, we’re jazzed that the holidays are finally here. To make sure you don’t get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season, we’ve compiled a list of handy holiday apps to help you out. Whether it’s keeping your shopping lists organized, saving money on gifts, or a helpful cooking app to help you power through Christmas dinner, we’ve got you covered! We've broken our favorite apps into several groups: deal apps, festive apps, gift apps, organizational apps, and cooking apps - none of which are in any specific order.

It's important to note: if you are doing your holiday shopping via smartphone this year, watch out for fake retail apps that have been popping up recently. Counterfeiters have made fake apps that appear to belong to Nordstrom, Zappos, Foot Locker, and even Christian Dior and Jimmy Choo. Entering in your credit card number can potentially lead to stolen information and fraud. If you’re downloading retail apps, check the the company’s website to make sure that you’re downloading the legitimate app.

Best Deal Apps

The Coupons App

iTunes | Google Play
Cost: Free

The Coupons App has been around since 2008 and is the number one most download app for retail coupons. There’s deals, coupons, and promo codes for over 100,000 retailers that never expire. You can set this app up to notify you when you’re near places that have available deals, or even when one of your favorite stores adds a new coupon. Another feature that sets this app apart from the rest is the ability to view nearby Groupon daily deals based on your location. This can be especially useful for your upcoming holiday travels so you can find great deals, no matter where you are.

Groupon

iTunes | Google Play
Cost: Free

Groupon is the tried and true way for amazing deals. This app is made for the holidays because of the countless offers that make great gifts. Groupon includes deals on activities for two or more people to do together! Explore the best your city has to offer at unbelievably low prices, or see another city with Groupon. The app has thousands of deals available to use instantly.

RetailMeNot

iTunes | Google Play
Cost: Free

If you enjoy online shopping and live for promo codes like I do, you’ve heard of RetailMeNot. Good news! They have an iOS and Android app available to give you deals from over 50,000 retailers. The RetailMeNot app makes it easy to save with online codes, barcodes you can scan directly from your phone, and printable coupons. Alerts will notify you of nearby deals wherever you go. While you can check the savings map as often as you’d like to see offers near you.

ShopSavvy Barcode Deal Scanner

iTunes | Google Play
Cost: Free

Not only does Shop Savvy give you daily deals and coupons from your favorite retailers, but you have added convenience attached. This app allows you to scan the barcode of a product. The scanned product code can then compare prices against more than 40,000 stores. Make sure that you are indeed getting the most bang for your buck.

 

Other festive holiday apps

Red Stamp

iTunes | Google Play
Cost: Free

Create personalized cards, invitations, and announcements straight from your phone with the Red Stamp app. Snap a picture and start creating with the 2,000+ templates, ranging from thank you notes, greeting cards, personalized stationary, and more. Use this to make your holiday cards, even if you’re on-the-go, with a few taps. You can then order your designs and envelopes directly. Save frustration and stress and tell Red Stamp to take care of sending them to everyone on your list.

Google Santa Tracker

Google Play
Cost: Free

Each year, Google comes out with a festive Santa Tracker app. It’s packed with games for every kid, even the adult kids. This year, you can play with elves in jetpacks, rocket-powered sleighs, and rolling gumballs. Countdown to Christmas! And once the 24th arrives, track Santa on his journey around the world. Santa Tracker is only available on the Google Play store. However, if you don’t have an Android phone, don’t worry! There’s still an interactive website where you can play games with Santa’s elves and track Santa on his whirlwind trek.

 

Best gift holiday apps

Society6

iTunes
Cost: Free

Buy art prints from any one of thousands of artists around the world with Society6. These prints are available in various different iterations: mugs, rugs, clocks, shirts, phone cases, and more. You’ll be able to find the perfect (gift) print for everyone on your shopping list this year. With the Society6 app, you can save prints, promote and follow artists, and order items easily.

Etsy

iTunes | Google Play
Cost: Free

Similar to Society6, Etsy is an online marketplace where artists can sell their unique goods. Instead of just prints, this site is full of handmade and vintage items that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Etsy is your solution for that person on your shopping list who’s the hardest to shop for. The app features curated collections to assist you in picking the absolute perfect gift. If the holiday cheer has got you feeling especially crafty, you can make your own Etsy shop—start selling your creations on Etsy!

Vivino Wine Scanner

iTunes | Google Play
Cost: Free

Ever needed an app to tell you everything you ever wanted to know about wine? Vivino will fulfill your wine afficionado needs. Use the in-app scanner to take a picture of any wine label to learn more about it. See wine ratings, reviews, average price, tasting nodes, and food pairings with Vivino. This app will help you find the perfect wine to bring to your holiday party and make sure you never buy a bad bottle of wine again.

Buycott

iTunes | Google Play
Cost: Free

Shop for Christmas and vote with your wallet simultaneously, with Buycott. This free app lets you join campaigns for causes you care about. You can choose from a huge array of campaigns, ranging from animal welfare to economic justice, to human trafficking. From there, just use the app to scan barcodes of any product you are considering buying to see if that product clashes against your most important issues. Buycott will always suggest sustainable alternatives.

 

Organizational holiday apps

Santa’s Bag

iTunes
Cost: Free

Santa’s Bag is a beautifully designed shopping list manager app. This app has everything you need to organize your holiday planning this year, so you won’t need to check your lists twice. Plan gifts, save photos, and write down individual preferences for everyone on your list. Make a total budget and divide it up between recipients to ensure you don’t get too carried away with spreading that holiday cheer. Good news, It also made the Forbes “8 Santa-Approved Apps for Big Savings this Season” list.

The Christmas List

iTunes
Cost: $1.99

The Christmas List is the #1 shopping app in the US. Similar to Santa’s Bag, this iOS only app is another organizational app. Import iPhone contacts into your created lists, and set budgets. Sync your lists via AirDrop or email. You won’t need to re-enter any info. Share your lists with other people. For the ultra-organized, add statuses to your gifts: “shipping”, “received”, and “wrapped”. There’s also optional password protection to keep this app safe from any snooping eyes.

Things

iTunes
Cost: $9.99

Get your Christmas list organized – even your entire life, with Things. Doesn’t it feel like the closer it gets to the holidays, the most hectic your life gets? Things is a task manager app to boost productivity, especially at this time of year when you need it the most. Things is particularly useful because no matter what application you’re in, you can use the Quick Entry shortcut to put that to-do right into the app. All your to-do’s are automatically compiled into days so you can review what you need to do, day-by-day. This app isn’t just for your phone, it works with you Mac computer, Apple watch, and iPad.

 

Holiday cooking apps

BigOven

iTunes | Google Play
Cost: Free

Take your recipes anywhere, make grocery lists, and share your meals with the BigOven app. The app has ~350,000 recipes submitted by real people. It also contains preplanned menus for the holidays, ready to come in handy at this time of year! You can search a couple ingredients you already have in the fridge, and BigOven will suggest recipes with those ingredients. Once you’ve selected a recipe you’d like to make, you can adjust the serving size with the app. BigOven will even generate a grocery list for you that’s automatically sorted by aisle. It has a menu planning calendar where you can pick recipes for certain days and then drag them around as your plans change. This app will help streamline and organize your holiday party planning and cooking.

Food Network in the Kitchen

iTunes | Google Play
Cost: Free

With the award-winning Food Network in the Kitchen app, you get access to your favorite chefs and their most popular recipes, right from your smartphone. Watch how-to videos for those more difficult recipes, search recipes by a specific ingredient, and save your fave holiday flavors. This app features a multiple cooking timer that can help you keep tabs on different recipes bubbling up in the kitchen.

Tender

iTunes | Google Play
Cost: Free

Tinder, but for food! Tender embraces the “you eat with your eyes first” mentality. The app shows you a recipe, and you swipe left to nix it, or swipe right to save it. You can filter by core ingredient like “chicken” or “broccoli” so you see the recipes you really want to see. It also has a social component, allowing you to follow well-known chefs and their recipes. Get swiping!

These handy apps will help you spend less time organizing your lists and searching for recipes and gifts. This year, spend more time with your family and making the most out of the holiday season.

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