Both Christmas and the New Year are fast approaching, and it is time for me to begin to prepare for our annual family celebration. And, in order to get our festivities to go off without a hitch, I employ the help of my good and dear friend… technology.
I am a simple gal who doesn’t like to recreate the wheel, especially during the holidays. These are hectic times, with the decorations, gift buying and dinner preparations.
And knowing that I am not as creative as I would like to be, finding devices and apps that help me provide my family with an entertaining and memorable holiday is important. This year, I had the help of my Surface tablet to fill in the gaps in areas where I am not the strongest, making for a less-stressful holiday.
I have two kids under the age of 6, so you will not see me attempting to create recipes from scratch or make any attempt to take on the entire holiday preparation process on my own.
During the holidays we often eat roast pork or turkey, lots of rice, potato salad, and tons of desserts. Every year, we add a new recipe to the mix for variety – and I can turn to apps to help find that new addition. Since our oldest just turned 5, it is easier to involve him in a lot of the things that we do to get ready. He helps me prep the main course and is my go-to dessert taster.
As for entertainment, I personally love getting lost in the classic Christmas movies like Holiday Inn and White Christmas and religiously watch A Christmas Story practically all Christmas Day while eating leftovers. This year, I am hoping my oldest will join me in this self-made tradition.
Good music, great food and memorable moments are the three main areas that will guarantee my children will have the most fun over the holidays, and also capture those epic once-in-a-lifetime moments that will stay with them forever.
So whether you are hosting your first or your 20th holiday bonanza, these apps are sure to help you create the type of holiday your family will remember, too.
iHeartRadio 1 of 9
I LOVE iHeartRadio! Holiday tunes play in my house from the day after Thanksgiving through Three Kings Day (January 6, 2014). As long as the music is on, you will find us singing and dancing along to just about anything. And this, in my opinion, is the only app you need to enjoy free music, news, talk, etc and customize radio stations to your liking.
Epicurious 2 of 9
Epicurious recipes are amazing! I love looking for recipes that allow me to go outside of my food palette and try new things and introduce my boys to other flavors. Plus, my oldest has become our go-to sous chef and taster.
Cocktail Flow 3 of 9
Up your bartending skills with Cocktail Flow for Windows 8.1. This app allows you to browse and discover hundreds of drink recipes to entertain your guests this holiday season. The app features visually appealing recipes and identifies cocktails that can be made from ingredients within your bar.
Holiday Fonts Collection 4 of 9
Want to show off your hostess skills? Create elegant or fun holiday invitations with Holiday Fonts Collection app.
Holiday Fonts is the perfect type for designing cards, holiday tags, place cards or thank you cards in Microsoft Office. You can get as creative as your crafty heart desires. I love seeing how my 5-year-old son uses his newly acquired spelling skills to write letters to his baby brother and Santa.
NORAD 5 of 9
What better way to entertain children during the holidays than giving them the opportunity to stalk Santa online? My son is looking forward to tracking Santa using this NORAD app. His game plan for pulling an all-nighter includes hot chocolate and his Winnie the Pooh bear who will keep him company.
Crayola Photo Mix & Mash 6 of 9
Another great source of entertainment for your little ones. Crayola Photo Mix & Mash. My son loves being able to put his own touch to the pictures he takes using this app.
This apps sparks a kid's creativity by making funny and fab photos while you cook or the adults or having their own fun. Designed for everyone ages 6 and older, this app allows for lots of customization of text, sounds, backgrounds, borders, etc and can even be printed out to share with friends.
Greeting-Cards 7 of 9
Make birthdays, holidays and just about any other occasion more memorable with Greeting-Cards. This apps provides the opportunity to put in your personal touch to that special person in your life.
New Year Clock 8 of 9
How do you countdown to the New Year? We usually are home and countdown with friends or by watching Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve. If you want to try something different and provide your kids with a real-time countdown, the New Year with this app will do a fine job and includes pretty nice 3D effects.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! – Dr. Seuss 9 of 9
Christmas is not complete without The Grinch hates Who-ville's festive celebrations. Every year, we read the book and watch the movies (both animated and the Jim Carrey version), it's part of our holiday movie watching tradition.
What's great about this app, is that it appeals to younger readers, this eBook includes professional narration, background audio and enlarged artwork for each scene. And to promote reading in younger children, each individual word is highlighted as the story is read.