Have an app-ier Christmas

Remember battling the supermarket hordes to buy those last-minute festive groceries? Or when the only source of entertainment once the Christmas Day conversation dried up was the TV?

Since smartphones, tablets and, of course, that small thing called the internet came into our lives, a revolution was born: apps. From shopping apps to interactive games for all the family, your device has opened up a world of possibilities that can make Christmas a happy and fun time for all. We've hand-picked 8 of our favourites.


  • Make your own Christmas cards

    If you're bored of buying the same off-the-shelf Christmas cards, check out Inkly . You can create and send cards by post featuring your photos, and it even has a photo editor so you can add filters to your images. The app lets you upload a photo of your own handwritten message or you can type your greeting. What's cool is if you upload an image of your message written on paper, the photo editor will magically make the paper disappear - giving your card a crisp and professional look.

  • Digital countdown to Christmas

    If those little chocolates in the advent calendar just don't cut it (or you just forget to open the doors), save the calories and the trees by going digital with the Christmas Countdown Widget (Android only). You don't need to stick to the traditional advent date as you can start the app at any time during the year. It also lets you customise the background image and the way time is measured - for example, you can set it to tell you how many heartbeats there are until the big day.

  • Do your grocery shopping anywhere but the supermarket

    Have you ever witnessed a pre-Christmas scrap in the meat and poultry aisle? Not pleasant and definitely not necessary with some of the big supermarkets - including Asda, Morrisons and Tesco - offering easy-to-use grocery apps. Search for all your groceries, save shopping lists and choose from delivery dates and times that suit you. And the best thing is you can do it anywhere you have internet - on your lunch time, on the train or on the sofa. Just remember to do it in advance...the slots get booked up quickly.

  • Get expert gift-wrapping tips

    Gifts can come in all manner of shapes and sizes and wrapping them can therefore be quite a task. For example, if you're wrapping alone who's going to hold the paper in place while you cut off a piece of sticky tape? But don't worry, there's help at hand. Apps like Gift Wrapping Instant Expert (iOS only) offer videos and guides on how to be a pro wrapper and make bows, use ribbon and make gift baskets.

  • Keep the Santa Claus lie alive

    If you're still managing to convince the kids that Father Christmas is real, ReindeerCam should help you to keep the lie going for a little longer. From 16 November to 24 December, you can tune in to a live camera on 'Santa's reindeers' to see what they're up to in the run-up to the big day. You'll even get to see appearances from Santa himself, who comes on cam at set times to feed his trusty team.

  • Extend the gift of giving to the less fortunate

    Christmas is the season of goodwill and there are many others who are less fortunate than us. Whether it's donating to Christmas Day drop-in centres for the homeless or buying charity Christmas gifts for children around the world, Explore Giving lets you search charities you can support. The app gives you the opportunity to donate to either fundraisers or charities all over the world. And you can also see how close or far away they are from their target, helping you decide who needs your money most.

  • Download games for all the family to enjoy

    If you're bored of playing the same boardgame year after year and don't fancy hitting the toy shops, downloading one could be the answer. An app called Heads Up! puts a digital take on charades. While you hold your device up to your head, your friends or family give you clues to help you guess the auto-generated subject on screen (it could be a celebrity or a song) before the timer runs out. Plus there are plenty of other apps, like Your Move Board Games (iOS only), that have an all-in-one selection of games to choose from - including chess and 4-in-a-row.

  • Cook up a festive storm in the kitchen

    Want to prepare something a little bit different to the standard turkey lunch? Download the BBC Good Food app (iOS only) for some more interesting takes on the traditional Christmas feast. Of course, there are also recipes and tips on how to perfect the classics we know and love. Watch videos, enjoy easy-to-read recipes and read people's reviews for extra pointers.

Please note that we take no responsibility for the downloading of these apps onto your device/s. We're not in any way affiliated or in any business relationship with app owners published on this blog.

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