It’s meant to be “the most wonderful time of the year,” but in reality, the holiday season is both mentally and financially stressful. Here are 5 apps that will help restore holiday spirit, reunite family and friends, relieve financial strain and ultimately lead to a successful and happy holiday season:
1. Rounds Video Chat Hangout
New, from the developers’ of one of Facebook’s most popular social video chat apps, Rounds Video Chat Hangout brings an array of Instagram-like effects and activities to video chat on people’s mobile devices. Perfect for families and friends who can’t be together in person during the holidays, but want to feel they’re hanging out watching YouTube videos and looking at photos together from their phones during live chats. iPhone and Android. Free.
2. Santa Tracker- North Pole Command Center
This app uses satellite technology to pinpoint Santa’s exact location anywhere on Earth and help kids follow his journey around the globe delivering presents on Christmas Eve. You can check the Sleigh data to find out the number of presents delivered, Santa’s speed, the last place he visited, and where he’s headed next. Other features include Santa’s Blog, his Naughty & Nice list, texting and getting replies from Santa and even friending elves and reindeer on ‘Elfbook.’ iPhone only. Lite version is free; pro version $1.99.
3. Gift Pony Christmas List
Last minute shoppers can use this ultimate gift list organizer to manage spending this holiday season. The app allows you to build a gift list using existing phone contacts and photos from your phone, track spending, scan merchandise barcodes, remember what you gave people last year, send lists via SMS or email and protect all of your lists with a password. Android only. Lite version is free; pro version $2.99.
4. Times Square Official Ball App
Wherever you are, this is the best way to stay updated on the festivities in Time Square this New Year’s Eve. Live streaming of the events gives users exclusive access to musical performances, celebrity appearances, countdowns around the world and the midnight Ball Drop in New York City. Users can participate in the celebration by submitting New Year’s Eve photos for people to vote on — the favorites will be shown on the large Toshiba Vision sign in Times Square, directly below the New Year’s Eve Ball. iPhone and Android. Free.
5. Santa Dance Booth
Entertaining and addictive, this app that allows you to superimpose your picture onto a cartoon body of a dancing holiday character, like Santa, an elf, reindeer or snowman. Like JibJab’s “Elf Yourself” of yore, this app choreographs funny dance moves to 5 song choices, like “Christmas in Gangnam (Style).” You can share these dances with friends and family by sending holiday video cards via email or Facebook. iPhone only. Free.
About the author:
Dany Fishel is co-founder and CEO of Rounds, the web’s first “hangout network.” Rounds merges online entertainment with video communications, bringing people closer together for a fun, live experience across social networks, operating systems and devices.