Calm. Relaxing. Cheap. Three words no-one said about Christmas, ever. Fortunately, your phone can help you retain your sanity, through apps to help with organising, cooking, and remembering how many days it actually is until Christmas. With that in mind, here’s our guide to the best Christmas apps for iPhone and Android in 2022.
With any luck, they’ll help you zone out long enough that when you come to, it’ll all be over. The Boxing Day football will be on – and your in-laws won’t be giving you a look for having turned the turkey into coal and totally forgetting to buy anyone a gift.
When planning Christmas, it’s fairly important to remember when Christmas actually is. Kids (and many grown-ups) can get quite cranky when you insist celebrating is just as good on the 28th, so this useful tool will help ensure you don’t forget the big day.
Drowning in a sea of Christmas errands, festive drinks and family meet ups? Make Todoist your personal assistant this holiday season to manage all those pesky events in one, easy-to-use app. You can add events, sync it to your calendar and voice assistant, and input important reminders. Or just dedicate an entire week to lounging on the sofa eating Quality Street.
Fed up with impersonal cards with generic pics and routine rhymes? Go custom with Moonpig. Upload festive snaps into templates, type your greeting inside the card, and hurl the result at friends and relatives. Although you’ll have to do that digitally now, given that last post has long gone in the UK (if ordering after 20th December). Luckily, Moonpig lets you send festive cheer in an instant by way of personalised ecards.
Remember that year when you ended up with eleven copies of that Steve Jobs autobiography? What larks! Make sure that never happens again with Giftster, a private gift list system where everyone can enter their wish list, rank items by how much they’re wanted, and ensure duplicates are a thing of the past.
Whether you’re staying at home or going on a festive journey, you need to know if the weather will behave. Carrot offers a mix of forecasts, customisation and snark, such as: “You should stay indoors today. No-one wants to see your face anyway.” It’s like Christmas cheer and 50 Santas all rolled into one! (On Android, try Appy Weather, which lacks snark, but retains hyperlocal weather reports.)
Get Carrot Weather for iOS (free + IAP)
The cross-country jaunt to the in-laws’ is going to be even less fun when you get lost on the way, and realise your lateness will likely result in ‘burnt turkey’ being the day’s centrepiece. So grab Google Maps, download chunks of the local area for offline turn-by-turn directions, and revel in being able to lob that useless road atlas into the recycling bin.
You don’t want people arguing about what to listen to this Christmas, so take such decision-making out of everyone’s hands by firing up Santa Radio. It endlessly broadcasts a selection of suitably festive hits – plus, if you tap the grinning Santa, he’ll get entertainingly angry: “Ho-ho-ho! No-no-no! Stop pressing my face!” (On Android? Try Christmas Radio.)
Get Santa Radio for iOS (free)
Although Epicurious contains every recipe known to humankind, Kitchen Stories is a better bet, despite its streamlined selection. It reduces the stress of making Christmas lunch by way of handy step-by-step guides complete with photos and videos. Great stuff for knowing whether you’re about to ruin the turkey or burn the ice cream.
There’s going to come a time during the day when you really need a drink. Perhaps the sprouts actually caught fire, or the Christmas tree fell on your gran. But don’t just reach for the gin – use Cocktail Flow’s to fashion a drink fit for the season. It even offers some festive options, like Winter Chill and Jingle Juice.
It’s that game where you – in the days before technology – held a piece of paper with a name on it to your forehead and guessed who you were by asking questions. But now it’s on your phone – and in super-fast fashion, since you flip your device to zoom through card decks. It’ll also record your friends, so you can embarrass them later.
You’re having festive fun, but halfway through the 17th mince pie realise you forgot to send any cards. Or invite half your relatives over. Make it look like you care by welding together a load of photos from your day, slathering them with festive stickers, and then emailing the lot, shortly before you pass out in a pile of turkey.
For the Christmas chef who can’t get their timings right, MultiTimer is a quality timekeeper ready to save your roast. The app makes it a cinch to set up multiple custom timers you can trigger with a tap. Maybe make one called ‘hour of blissful peace’ once everyone’s full and snoozing on the sofa.
Just Dance Now
This is the perfect festive game to hype up kids and embarrass parents. By way of an internet-connected screen and movement tracking smartphone, Just Dance Now has you bust a move against friends across the globe. There are over 700 songs to grooves to – including Let It Go, which should suit Disney-obsessed younglings.
If one positive came from covid, it was normalising video calls – even to that annoying wing of the family who moved to the sun of Australia and never shut up about it. Zoom’s cross-platform nature makes it good for catch-ups. Grab a month of premium to remove call limits. (Or don’t and use that as an excuse to cut things short.)
Super Mega Worm vs Santa Saga
Aunt Beryl’s drunk and attacking the tinsel. Your other half bought you only one sock. Random kids are drawing on the walls with cranberry sauce. Take out your frustrations by having a giant worm devour all things Christmas. It’s Tremors meets Santa, with jingling bells, gore, and giant robots. Nothing could be more Christmassy than that.
• Related: Christmas Gift Guide 2022