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Helpful holiday apps for parents

So much to do – and not all that much time left. With four kids, a husband, and a pretty big family, I know how you feel. But, don’t worry. There is help. I know, you’d like to get organized, make things easy, keep a budget – and have all of your holiday shopping information available 24/7 … don’t worry - there’s an app for that. In fact, there are quite a few.

I’ve been researching and trying out a few different Christmas shopping apps on my iPhone to see which are the most convenient, easiest to work with and work the best. Here’s what I’ve come up with.

My favorite so far is Santa’s Bag. It is very easy to work and understand. It can help you keep track of the gifts you bought, those you’d like to buy, and are thinking about buying. It keeps track of stores, recipients, and of course, the ever-important budget. It keeps a running tab of what you’ve spent and how much you have left. It even tracks your stocking stuffers so you won’t forget a thing. There’s a place for special notes, and it has a running countdown to the big day. This free app makes things very easy and I feel like I won’t forget anyone or anything. At least that is my hope.

The next app is Gift List Free. This is also fairly easy and does all of the same things. It also keeps a progress graph to see what you have left as a percentage. This one allows you to use a passcode which could be good for nosy kids like mine. It is not as easy to navigate as Santa’s Bag, but I do like it.

Gift It is next. This one is good. It answers two important questions with every click: my budget status and am I ready for Santa. This is easy to navigate and has all of the same features as the others. The downside to this app is the pop-up ads that come every few minutes. But, it is free, so I get it.

The final app that I think is useful is Manage Christmas. This one is clear and has all of the above features but adds a line for you to mark if the gift is wrapped and if it is sent yet – if you are mailing the gift.

One last app for those with little ones – Santa Claus. This has nothing to do with shopping or organization, but it can help get your kids to eat broccoli or pick up their mess. This clever app allows you to make a call to Santa at any time. Maybe a tool to help you keep your kids in line. You can call Santa or request a call. You simply put in your child’s info (age and gender). You also check a box as to the reason for the call; your child has been good, bad, nice to sister, etc., and they’ll call back in just a few seconds.

The speaker tells your child what you want them to hear. Santa says, “Why hello, this is Santa. I understand you are three years old.” Then a pause for your child to respond. Then he continues, “I understand you’ve been a good little girl.” He goes on to say how important it is to be a good girl. It’s brilliant. My 3-year-old, Emma was over-the-moon excited when St. Nick called her. The voice is great. It’s easy and free.

So there you go, some helpful apps for this holiday season. Keep in mind, data rates do apply.

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