Eight Apps to Help Plan Your Holidays

How to Cook Everything


It may be the "most wonderful time of the year" -- or so the classic Christmas song claims -- but it's also one of the most stressful. With parties to plan, dinners to prepare, and gifts to buy, wrap and mail, simply surviving the holidays can seem like a full-time job in itself. This year, make things a little easier with these sanity-saving apps that help you plan everything from your gift budget to your Thanksgiving menu.

Coupon Sherpa (iOS, Android; Free)

Coupon Sherpa provides instant access to hundreds of in-store coupons for your favorite mall stores, including Old Navy, Best Buy, Bath and Body Works and more. Redemption methods vary; some deals require you to print the coupon, while others can just be shown to the cashier on your phone.

Related: Coupon Sherpa

Coupon Sherpa

How to Cook Everything (iOS; $9.99)

Plan and execute your holiday dinner with confidence using the simple, easy-to-follow recipes in this mobile version of Mark Bittman’s award-winning best-seller. Great for both veteran cooks and nervous newbies, the app contains more than 2,000 recipes, along with detailed guidance on basic culinary techniques such as roasting a turkey and chopping vegetables.

How to Cook Everything

Santa’s Bag (iOS, free)

Keep track of who’s been naughty or nice with Santa’s Bag, a free holiday gift organizer for the iPhone. Within the app, you can organize gift lists by recipient, each with his own budget, track the cost of individual gifts and where they were purchased (convenient in case of returns) and check them off as they’re bought, wrapped and given. The app’s home screen features a prominent countdown to Christmas along with a summary of how much you’ve spent, how much of your overall budget remains, and how many gifts you have left to buy.

Related: Santa's Bag

Santa's Bag

RedLaser (iOS, Android, Windows Phone; free)

Shop smarter, not harder, this holiday season with RedLaser. This bar code-scanning app allows you to comparison shop without leaving the store, ensuring that you get the best deals on your holiday gift list. Scan any item -- or enter a product name if you don’t have a bar code -- and the app displays price comparisons at stores both local and online.

Related: RedLaser


Christmas Gift List (Android)

Ditch the paper lists and keep track of your holiday shopping on your Android phone with Christmas Gift List. The free version of the app allows you to monitor your overall budget, track the amount spent on individual gifts, and check gifts off as they’re purchased, wrapped and mailed. Upgrade to the paid version of the app to add the ability to create lists for specific people, add items using a bar code scanner and hide your lists from prying eyes with a password.

Christmas Gift List

JustWink Greeting Cards (iOS, Android, Windows Phone; free)

Holiday greetings are in the palm of your hand with the free justWink app from American Greetings. Customize your card with a photo, note, or signature (using a stylus or your finger) and send it off for free via email, SMS, Facebook or Twitter -- or, for a more personal touch, send a real card in the mail for $2.99.

Related: JustWink


Parcel (iOS; free to $1.99 per year)

Parcel is a one-stop-shop for package tracking, allowing you to see at a glance where all of your holiday packages are at any given time. The free version allows you to track up to three shipments at a time, but if you need more you can pay $1.99 per year for a premium subscription, which adds Web access and push notifications that let you know when your packages are delivered.

Related: Parcel


Kosher Cookbook

Kosher Cookbook offers more than 300 recipes covering everything from standard fare like latkes and kugel to kosher versions of classic dishes. The holiday menu section offers menus for Hanukkah and Thanksgiving, and with a tap you can instantly add a recipe's ingredients to your shopping list.

Kosher Cookbook