While I love notebooks, ring binders and paper lists, I’m also a fan of apps that make my life easier and help me get organised for Christmas.
I’ve tried out lots of apps in recent years – and in this blog I recommend some of my favourites.
If you want to give the apps a try, it’s a good idea to download and start using them now so you’re familiar with how they work as early in the year as possible.
It’s never a good idea to be learning something new when time is short and you’re under pressure!
I know some of you are using these apps already as you recommended them to me over on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The Christmas List app was particularly popular, so that was definitely one I had to include.
Thank you so much for your tips – and do let me know if you have any others!
By the way, I’m not receiving any company sponsorship – these are simply apps I think you might find useful.
The Christmas List
This app is brilliant for keeping track of your Christmas shopping and costs £2.99.
It’s currently only available on iOS – but if you’re an Android user and like the sound of this app, the Christmas Gift List app is a good (and free!) alternative.
The idea is that you add everyone you are buying gifts for (either manually or via your phone’s address book), setting a budget for what you want to spend on each person.
You then log each gift you buy, tracking your spending as you go. It’s brilliant for ensuring you don’t over spend.
You can also mark gifts as wrapped, posted and record when the person received them. Brilliant!
As you tick off gifts you’ve allocated and bought, you can refer to a progress pie chart to see how much you’ve achieved (and how much you still have to do!).
You can text or email lists to others, or if you’re sharing a list with someone else using the app, you can send it directly to their app using AirDrop.
I also use this app for birthdays and home projects, so I definitely get my money’s worth!
This app allows friends and family to create and share lists of items and/or experiences they would like to receive for Christmas and birthdays.
It’s quick and easy to do – you can even cut and paste links from retailer websites to the items you want and the details will automatically pulled through to save you the bother of typing everything in.
It’s free and available on both Android and iOS.
I have friends and family all over the world and although I keep in touch with them, without seeing them regularly (especially during the current pandemic) it’s hard to know for sure that what I’m buying them is something they will really like.
I used to spend a lot of time wracking my brains for what to buy, or surreptitiously contacting other friends and family to suss out what a particular person might like.
I found it stressful and I wasn’t always convinced I’d bought ‘the right’ gift!
This way of doing things does remove the element of surprise, but I’d rather know that my loved ones have received something they truly want and need – otherwise it feels like a bit of a waste of time and money.
The app allows you to mark that you’ve purchased an item, ensuring people don’t receive more than one of each item on their gift list.
If you tend to shop via Amazon, an alternative to this app is to add a ‘wishlist’ of items you’d like to your account and share it with your friends and family.
I’ve been a big fan of Google Sheets for quite a few years now – I do love a good spreadsheet!
I have the app on my phone and tablet (it’s available for free on both Android and iOS), which is really handy.
It saves any changes you make automatically to Google Drive and, if you’ve got a basic understanding of how to use spreadsheets, it’s really easy to use.
The Google Sheets app is an excellent option if you want all of your Christmas shopping lists, gift lists, Christmas card lists and names and address all in one place rather than across different apps, documents or on lots of different pieces of paper!
One pro tip is to keep each year’s spreadsheets so you can refer back to them the following year and ensure you don’t give someone the same thing two years running.
I’m rather attached to my physical page-per-day diary – I add all my appointments and to-do lists for both work and my personal life to it.
Whether it’s a meeting to discuss a work project, a reminder to put the bins out, or my Christmas-related tasks for the day or week, it gets written in there and once the task is complete, I cross it out.
I’ve organised myself this way for as long as I can remember, but recently I’ve been thinking it would be good to try going digital – and not have to lug my rather large diary around with me everywhere I go.
Plus, I’d be very upset if I lost it – my whole life is in that diary!
So I’ve been trying out various to-do list apps to see if they might work for me.
Any.do is the one I’ve tried so far that I think is the most likely to do the job.
It’s free, with the option for some extra functionality with a paid subscription. It’s available on both Android and iOS and can also be used on a desktop computer.
You can sync it with the calendar app on your phone, so everything can be in the same place, and set reminders to help keep your schedule on track.
It even integrates with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can ask your smart speaker to add items to your Any.do shopping or task list – super handy.
So I’ll continue with my trial of Any.do and see if I prefer it to my paper diary. No promises though!!! Let me know if you try it too…
Okay, this one isn’t strictly related to festive planning – but it is funny and silly, so is most definitely about Christmas fun!
Elf Yourself has been around for ages, so you may already be familiar with it, but ICYMI – the kids will love it!
The app helps you create extremely funny elf dance videos quickly and easily, replacing the elves’ faces with photos of yourself, family, friends and pets.
You can choose from a range of comical dance themes and share your hilarious creation via social media, email or just download it.
Elf Yourself is available on both Android and iOS and it’s free to download the app – but you might choose to spend a few pounds on in-app purchases, for example, if you want to use one of the paid-for dances themes.
If you’re sending electronic Christmas greetings in lieu of Christmas cards, this app could really help liven them up…enjoy!
I hope you find my app recommendations useful – do let me know if you have any of your own and I’ll share them with the rest of the Christmas Organised community.
All app prices and details are correct at time of publication (10 February 2021).