App roundup: Apps to help celebrate the holidays

The holidays are in full swing, but there’s still time to get that last bit of celebrating in with friends and family before we ring in the New Year. For this week’s app roundup, I’m taking a look at some apps in the Windows Store that I think will help you get into the holiday spirit.

Epicurious

Recipes in Epicurious app

Every year I try to bring at least one dish to my family’s annual holiday dinner. And let’s just say that there have been some pretty memorable disasters, like the year I grossly undercooked rosemary scalloped potatoes or the time I mistakenly made a green bean casserole using snap peas. But this year I’m determined to buck the trend with the help of Epicurious. Chock full of fantastic recipe ideas for main dishes, delicious sides, and decadent desserts, I think I’ll finally be able to make a contribution to dinner that’ll be memorable for all the right reasons.

Cocktail Flow

Hot Peppermint Patty recipe in Cocktail Flow app

Looking for that perfect cocktail to help you eat, drink, and be merry? Check out this app and find the right concoction for any celebration. After doing a little perusing, I think I might give the “Hot Peppermint Patty” a try to bring a little warmth to a cold winter’s night, make like a festive secret agent and shake up a “Candy Cane Martini,” and (when I finally get up the nerve) experiment with some eggnog and mix up a “White Christmas.” Cheers!

iHeartRadio

Holiday music stations in iHeartRadio app

I’ll admit that one of my guiltiest pleasures is listening to holiday music (just being honest). Humming along to a carol or two definitely boosts my spirits and puts me in a good mood. Using iHeartRadio, I can enjoy an endless stream of holiday songs as well as live streams from radio stations all around the US. It’s a must-try for any fan of music (even if you’re not a fan of holiday music).

NORAD tracks Santa

Countdown timer to track Santa in NORAD Tracks Santa app

The countdown is on! In a few short days, children around the world will be busy checking their wish list one last time, setting out some milk and cookies, and nervously anticipating the arrival of jolly Saint Nick. With a little help from NORAD, you’ll be able to show the kids exactly where Santa is on Christmas Eve, so you can set their minds at ease and get them tucked into bed well before he arrives. (For more info and some history about this app, check out Kristina Libby’s post Where is Santa? Only NORAD Knows.)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Menu page for the How the Grinch Stole Christmas app

I have vivid childhood memories of sitting much too close to the TV, completely mesmerized by the animated specials that aired during the holidays. One of my favorites was always Dr. Seuss’s classic tale of how the Grinch discovered the true meaning of Christmas. Although the special still airs today, this book offers three different options (including “Read to me,” “Read it to myself,” and “Auto play”) for sharing this experience whenever you’d like. It’s the perfect way to get kids ready for one of the most wonderful times of the year!

Special holiday offers

I also wanted to mention that the Store has some special holiday offers that are going on from now through January 31, 2013. You can save over $70 on select apps, subscriptions, and services. Here’s a quick look at a few of them:

ESPN Enjoy free Insider access for scores, breaking news, and in-depth game coverage until the end of January.

Expedia Book flights and hotels from anywhere and get reduced rates on select hotels. (Save up to 60%)

New York Times One month free unlimited access to news and issues at NYTimes.com on any compatible device. (Save $20.00)

If you’re interested in any of these special offers or want to read up on others, head over to Windows.comfor more info.

So there you go, a few apps and some special offers that I hope will help get you into the holiday spirit! Leave me a comment and let me know which apps you’re enjoying this season. Wishing you and yours a very happy and safe holiday!

Note: Some apps might not be available in all countries or regions. App offers valid December 20, 2012 through January 31, 2013 through the Windows Store in US only and made available by the app publishers, not Microsoft. Value based on standard price for apps and content while supplies last.