01-12-2017 02:22 - edited 01-12-2017 02:24
Ignore the fact it's 2:10am and I should be in bed... It's officially the 1st of December and that means... CHRISTMAS IS NEARLY HERE! Yep, I'm excited.
Whether you’re merrily excited for it or bah humbugging your way through December, there’s no escaping it… Christmas is on its way and following closely behind it, a brand new year. Here’s hoping it’ll be a great one! So, check out our top apps for Christmas to help you get into the spirit of things .
Pricing Notes : Most apps featured here are free. Where an app costs money, we’ve highlighted and made this clear. Some apps may include ads and/or in-app purchases. If your phone supports it, we’d recommend setting up fingerprint ID for app store purchases to ensure no unauthorised purchases are made.
Santa has a list (a big one!), and so should you. Both these apps are from different creators, but both have similar functionality. Add friends or family members you’re buying gifts for, set a budget for them, and tell the app as and when you buy gifts for them and how much they cost.
You’ll be able to stay in full control of your spend and while out and about shopping, you’ll know when you’re under/over budget, who you’ve already sorted gifts for, and who you still need to buy for. Perfect!
Next up it’s got to be the good ‘ole Christmas Countdown widget. There’s loads out there, but the one we’ve chosen for you is great for any event, at any time – not just Christmas. Load the app up and tweak your countdown timer – set it for Christmas, a summer holiday, or other important date.
Obviously your first widget should be a Christmas countdown!
During December there’s loads of great selfie opportunities, whether you’re out with mates, or having a family day out at the Christmas markets. What better way to have fun with those selfies than to ‘Elf Yourself’ and turn you and your crew into dancing Elfs!?
Elf Yourself shows at least one free dance per day – so check back regularly in the app for more fun.
There’s two types of people out there. Those that go into a shop, hear Christmas music and smile from door to till, and those that go into a shop, hear Christmas music, and want to get in and out before the song ends and the next one begins.
If you’re the first kind of person, you need a Christmas Radio app in your life. Through testing a few different apps out, see below for our top pick from the bunch. Each app, whether Android or iOS, has a massive list of different radio stations so you’ll be sure to find a Christmas jingle you like.
You know the drill… You wake up one cold morning, look at Facebook, and you know it’s been snowing before you even look out the window. Get ahead of the curve and know when it’ll snow, before Facebook does!
‘Dark Sky’ is the only paid app we’ve featured on this blog, but it’s because no other weather app comes close. It uses magic to give you the most accurate weather outlook in your specific location. With our testing, it has rained within 5 minutes of when it predicted, and stopped within the same timescale. So if it says it’s gonna snow… Well, the snow never bothered us anyway.
Keeping the kids entertained can sometimes be tricky business when you’ve got both hands full of Christmas shopping, but one of the best apps out there to help with that is Google’s own Santa Tracker (sorry iPhone folks, it’s Android only), which includes a bunch of games, videos, and you can track Santa on his way around the world on Christmas Eve!
If you’ve got an iPhone, don’t worry – We’ve included a Santa Tracker below for you too. This one’s a bit different from Google’s, but still great for the kids. You can input your child’s name, add their photo to make it more personalised, and track Santa to see what he’s up to. There’s a few ads in this one – if you love the app though, you can ‘upgrade’ to add more features and remove ads for £1.99.
Want to feel those exciting Christmas-y butterflies in your tummy every time you get a text or a call? Zedge is one of the best apps around for that. Search for things like ‘Wham’, ‘Christmas’, or ‘Santa’ to find exactly the Christmas tone you want.
It’s great after Christmas too – there’s literally thousands of great ringtones, alarms and notification sounds on it, and you can set different tones for different contacts too.
Do your kids keep asking about Santa? With this great app, you can receive calls from Santa and even let your kids message him directly. In the old days we’d write letters to Santa, but if your kids are already a whizz with the smartphone, this could be the perfect solution.
Do you do a happy dance in the kitchen after managing to make beans ‘n toast? Step up your game with the BBC Good Food app. It won’t turn you into Gordon Ramsay, but it has 10,000+ recipes that you can search through and they show prep and cooking times, how easy (or not) the recipe is, the ingredients you need and how to make it.
Cook up a storm in the kitchen and get your friends and family licking the Christmas gravy off their plates. Yum!
If you’re lucky (or unlucky…) enough to have a large family where everyone has a smartphone and different schedules, this app should help nicely. If there’s that one rare day where everyone’s free for a get-together or day out to the Christmas markets, this will help you pinpoint it and get it locked in.
It’s not a Christmas app, but it will help all-year round and could be great for keeping the family organised. There are paid subscription options that can even let you set what tonights dinner is, set special events (no excuse for the whole family not knowing when Grans birthday is!) and more.
Chances are you already have and use these, but if not, don’t forget our great O2 apps this Christmas which can help you keep track of your allowances and maybe even save you money.
O2 Priority – Offers, discounts & freebies ( or )
With the O2 Priority app you get instant access to all of our fantastic offers and discounts, including some “on us” treats like a free hot drink at Cafe Nero. Perfect for a cold winter day!
And who knows, O2 Priority might help you get a head start on the January sales when they come!
Because he knows how committed we are to keeping kids safe online, O2 and the NSPCC ( ) have a direct link with Santa, and he’s agreed to send a letter to any child whose adult relative requests it on a specially-created website. Even better, not only can you make your child’s Christmas, you can also help us to keep kids safe online with a suggested £5 donation – which you can increase or decrease should you wish.
So what do you think of Santa and our O2 Gurus Christmas app choices? If you think they've missed anything, let us know in the comments below - or even just let us know what apps you find invaluable at this time of year.