We seem headed on a collision course with Christmas, given the speed and frenzy of its arrival this year. If you’re one of those über organized people who do their holiday shopping in August and are done by September, we both hate and envy you.
For the rest of us mere mortals who can use a hand, check out these virtual elves who can help organize our lists, bring out our Christmas spirit and send out holiday cheer on our behalf.
1. Martha Stewart Craft Studio (iPad)
America’s champion homemaker and DIY queen Martha Stewart wouldn’t put her name on this app if it weren’t good. Create holiday cards and invitations with different kinds of paper, punchers, stamps, fonts and stickers—all Martha Stewart-approved. Ready-made templates are also available for those looking for simple and elegant cards. The app has also tied up with Snapfish so you can have your cards printed for a fee.
2. Red Stamp (Free, iOS)
This free app provides you over a dozen gorgeous templates per occasion. You can add photos to your invite/greeting and the app gives you the option to mail actual paper versions of your newly designed card for a fee, or send it via e-mail, text message, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. It’s the best app for the social network butterfly who wants to spread holiday cheer on the Internet this Christmas.
3. Cards (Free, iOS)
Send an elegant holiday card to loved ones all over the world using Apple’s Cards app. Choose from available templates, personalize with your message and photo and the app will take care of postage to your chosen address. Cards sent to the US cost $2.99 while it’ll set you back $4.99 when sent elsewhere. The price may be a little steep, but bear in mind that the cost will include postage and the card itself made of premium material (100 percent cotton paper), while the print on the card is debossed using the letterpress technique, a pricey method of imprinting.
4. Secret Santa Generator (http://www.boogspace.com/secret-santa-generator)
Friends located in different parts of the globe who still want to engage in a fun round of Secret Santa can do so, thanks to this online Secret Santa generator. Simply input the names and e-mail addresses of participants and the generator will e-mail each person to let them know who they’re playing Secret Santa to. The generator takes into account exceptions-you can plug in who may not give each other gifts, e.g. generally, couples/siblings are exempt from becoming each other’s Secret Santa.
5. A Charlie Brown Christmas ($6.99, iOS)
Introduce your kids to Snoopy or indulge in a bit of holiday nostalgia with A Charlie Brown Christmas. This holiday staple has gone digital and interactive, featuring original dialogue from the cartoon, narration by Peter Robbins (Charlie Brown’s original voice), the melancholic Christmas soundtrack and interactive goodies like Christmas tree decorating, moving objects and games that will let you unlock more rewards from the app.
6. Social Wishlist: Christmas Edition
Are you the type of person who wants to receive specific items as gifts? Quit dropping subtle hints and send an e-mail instead. Social Wishlist not only lets you create a holiday wishlist for yourself, you can also use it for your birthday (every year), your wedding (hopefully, only once) and other special events. You can create several lists and you can even assign a photo to each item on your list, including price and store where it’s available. Now you never have to join a “White Elephant” party again since you’ll end up getting what you wished for.
7. Santa’s Big Helper: 9 Christmas Apps in 1 ($0.99, iOS)
Bond with your kids this Christmas the tech way with this app. Nine Noël-themed mini-apps such as Santa Tracker, Elf Cam, Christmas Countdown (for the little ones excited to open presents), Elf Updates, Nice/Naughty list (to keep your naughty tykes in check!), Letters to Santa, Ask an Elf, Magic Compass and a Christmas Sound Board featuring sounds frequently associated with the holiday, are all included in this app.
This website and app allows you to create stylish holiday cards and invites. While the cards are varied and all beautifully designed, each card sent will cost you a certain number of virtual coins (you’re given 25 free coins upon sign up). You can buy virtual coins with your credit card once you’ve run out. It’s a handy tool for those who intend to entertain this season because each invite sent will come with an RSVP function, allowing you to find out who will be attending your gatherings.
9. Elfster-www.elfster.com/Free, iOS
No, Elfster is not the social network preferred by Santa’s elves. Rather, Elfster corrals everything that’s holiday gifting-related and places it in one handy at-a-glance app. You can create Secret Santa lists among different groups of friends, create your gift wishlist and check out your friends’ wishlists as well. Bar code scanning lets you scan any item so you can instantly add it to your growing wishlist. Stumped for gifts? You can also check out Elfster’s Trending Gifts section, where you can see the most requested gift this season (a handy thing to have especially when it comes to gifting kids—you want to be the cool aunt/uncle who knows what the latest toys are).
10. No More Socks: The Christmas List Genius (Free, iOS)
If you’re a virtual window shopper (like I am), this is the perfect app for you. Turn your window shopping into a productive experience with this app, which lets you bookmark gift sources online. You can also go shopping using the in-app browser and check out what other people are planning to give as gifts. You can use this app year-round for birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. •