My Windows Phone gets a real workout this time of year; I’m constantly popping open apps to help me stay organized, on schedule, and entertained. If that sounds familiar, check out our two new holiday app collections—Winter Holidays and Holiday Games and Apps—each meticulously assembled by our crack team of in-house app pickers. Here’s eight great highlights from both. And don’t forget about the Bing-powered NORAD Tracks Santa, which I wrote about last week.
As a guy, I’m all for apps that simplify shopping and help make gift-giving more on target. Gifts ($0.99) is an excellent app for organizing all the people and purchases on my holiday list. I can share gift suggestions among family and friends, track my spending, and—new with version 1.1—sort my lists by date, recipient, and price—plus share them by SMS and email.
When it comes to groceries for the family feast, I call on Shared Shopping List (Free) to help my wife and I divide and conquer at the market. She can organize items by store location—frozen foods, dairy, bakery—and provide a count of what we need. This helps me stay efficient and ensures I don’t forget any essentials. And if she adds anything at the last minute, I’ll get notified.
I love hosting holiday gatherings, but getting the food and drink orders just right can be challenging. One of my favorite cooking apps is Epicurious (Free), which puts more than 30,000 recipes from the pages of Bon Appetit, Gourmet, SELF, and other culinary sources right at my fingertips. I can see how things turned out for other home cooks, browse ratings and reviews, and get a handy shopping list for each dish.
Cocktail Flow ($2.99), meanwhile, can transform even timid home bartenders like me into a mixologist of Tom Cruise-like awesomeness. Cocktail Flow is packed with hundreds of drink recipes—and has options for browsing by ingredient and even drink color.
Once the party’s warmed up, it’s time for a group photo. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of fiddling with timers, sprinting back into the picture, and deleting ill-timed shots of my posterior. ReadyClick! ($1.99) is a really cool app that lets you tell your phone when to snap the shot via voice command. Just say the word when everybody’s in position and smiling big, and ReadyClick! does the rest.
In between shopping, cooking, sipping cocktails and taking well-deserved naps, I plan to devote some serious couch time to games.
If you’re looking for two holiday-themed options, here are two great ones. What happens when you start with an addictive puzzle games, turn the balls into ornaments, add candy canes and holiday music? You’ve got Fuzzle Christmas (Free). As with all great games, the idea is simple: move same-colored ornaments into lines of five. The obstacles start coming right away, though, and I lose track of time quickly as I struggle to keep up. And for all-out holiday madness, try Tangled Webs—Holiday Edition (Free). Untangling the webs of these spiders in Santa hats can take you through up to 100 artfully designed levels.
Updated November 7, 2014 8:11 pm