10 Apps to Simplify the Season

How to tech the halls and tap your way to a more streamlined, stress-free holiday.

Words: Alyssa Giacobbe
Illustration: Jeff Hunt

Feast with ease…

BigOven: Recently relaunched, BigOven is the home cook’s sous of choice. Search through more than 350,000 recipes by ingredient, sure, but also by style (slow-cooker, canning, grilled) or occasion (like picnics, tailgating, after-school snacks), then plan your menu. The app creates a grocery list based on your guest count, and the next day, will be back to help you figure out what to do with all those leftovers.

Goldbely: Can’t jet to San Francisco to cure that midnight craving? With Goldbely, Humphry Slocombe’s addictively sophisticated ice cream pints will fly to you. The mail-order app delivers artisanal favorites from around the country — LA latkes, Brooklyn babka, DC hot dogs — while a variety of themed gift subscriptions (cookies, pie, bacon) solve your every last what-to-give crisis.

Raise your spirits…

Drizly: Discover on-demand, hour-or-less liquor delivery in 20 markets and counting. They’ll also bring mixers, ice, lime, even plastic cups, so your get-together never goes dry. With a selection bolstered by an exclusive relationship with the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, the app also serves up cocktail recipes, trends, and best boozing practices, like “The In-Cider Scoop” and “How to Shoot Tequila.”

Delectable: Recognizing any wine from a snapshot, Delectable then gives you the lowdown: what people say, whether you’d like it, what similar wines you’d also enjoy. Tag a place where you had a memorable bottle, save and share new discoveries, and follow newsfeeds by vintners, sommeliers, and wine editors — esoteric intel that makes for great table talk while you’re uncorking.

Entertain in a click…

EasilyDo Mail: Like a personal assistant, it taps into your email to organize travel plans, collate receipts, track packages, and otherwise make itself abundantly useful. Like when it suggests you employ the snooze feature, hiding messages you don’t want to deal with until the new year.

Zkipster: Created for event pros, it’s an amateur planner’s savior. Use it to design and send invitations, manage rsvps, create seating charts, and seamlessly update attendees via text.

Soundrobin: Connecting Spotify Premium — and its 20 million songs — with your contact list, it allows you to tag-team a soundtrack with pals or let them vote on yours, in advance or in the moment. The idea: Only the most desirable tunes get played, meaning the music matches the vibe in real time.

Give back, organize gifts, and get away in style…

GiveGab: The first app for volunteering, GiveGab lets do-gooders filter opportunities by location, availability, and interest or create profiles to be matched with nonprofits in need, from food banks and animal shelters to Habitat for Humanity. It also puts an interactive spin on philanthropy. Connect with friends to pitch in together and see how others are doing their part.

Santa’s Bag: You needn’t sacrifice sanity to celebrate. There’s a reason this list-keeper and budget-manager has been a perennial holiday must-have among the tech set. Record gift ideas, track purchases by recipient, and get a quick handle on expenditures (and what monies you’ve got left). An archival feature reminds you what you gave in previous years too.

PackPoint: Tell PackPoint who you are (M/F), where you’re going (city, country), what you plan to do (beach, hike, shop, party), and how long you’ll be there (probably not long enough). The app will check the weather forecast and produce a just-right list of the clothes, accessories, toiletries, and gadgets you should bring. Whether you flat pack or roll, though — that’s up to you.

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