10 Free Android Apps to Get You Through The Holidays

Gift Organizing: Free Christmas List

free christmas list app

Get organized with Free Christmas List, a gift-giving app that not only helps you sort and track presents by person but it also gives you a summary of how much moolah you’ve spent.  Those lucky friends and family on the present-list can be added with detailed notes and clothing sizes.

Inputting people will later enable you to assign multiple gift ideas to the contact and it notifies users with a visual alert icon to tell you that gift hasn’t yet been purchased.  It’s unfortunate that the app doesn’t pull in contacts from the address book or allow users to attach media to gifts.  It does, however, back up all of the data to email.  A light weight app, but it should get the job done.

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Productivity: SpringPad

SpringPad App

This productivity app has tons of tools to find recipes, restaurants, stores, products and it supports the creation of shopping lists, to-dos and memos.  Users can create individual lists for anything.  It’s kind of an all-in-one note-taking task manager for any occasion.

The built-in search feature finds albums, products, movies, wines, books etc. This could be extremely useful during the holidays if a friend mentions something they need.  As an example, if you overheard a friend saying they’d like to try a specific brand of wine, you could search the product (by brand/type).  If you find the bottle, it can then be added as an item to a shopping list.  Items (like our bottle of wine) can additionally hold information like images, audio and notes or prices and be placed in task lists as I’d mentioned.  The user interface lists the shopping lists, tasks and products into folders for a quick overview.  Something you may find very useful during a chaotic shopping spree.

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Travel: Kayak

kayak app

Our sympathies to you if you’re traveling over the holidays.  Traveling during December coupled with finding the best prices on airfares and hotels can be hectic. Kayak is capable of finding you the hottest deals on hotels, flights and cars, while assisting you with excellent tools like a flight tracker and a list of airport baggage fee details.

The app uses filters to match the exact needs of the traveler;  non-stop trips, flight cabin type, desired airports, the number of passengers & hotel rooms, check-in times etc. Aside from being able to book a trip directly within the app, it also gives you a built-in itinerary and it integrates with Google maps.  A really solid app for booking and finding the best deals.

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Recipes: Epicurious

epicurious app

There’s no need to waste money on a cookbook when there’s apps like Epicurious and BigOven.  Both offer a litany of mouth watering recipes for free.  Required to bring a side dish to dinner this year? Epicurious has you covered with pretty much any meal you could imagine.

There’s many food categories to choose from; dinner party ideas to decadent desserts.  After locating a must-make dish, in one tap users can add to favourites, email or add all of the ingredients to a shopping list.  Cooks can also build meals around specific ingredients, dietary considerations, the type of meal/course and even the season and occasion.  On a side note, BigOven recently removed the “shopping list” feature and is only available as a pro tool for $15.95/ month.

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Survive Hosting a Dinner Party: Waitrose

waitrose app

Waitrose, the UK supermarket chain has created a great app to assist you in hosting a spectacular party over the holidays.  It has everything from holiday recipes to a detailed Christmas Day agenda/planner.

Planning a dinner for a house full of people can sometimes be tricky but with the use of handy tools like the veggie portion calculator, a tool in this app, hosts can ensure they have enough side dishes for everyone.  The recipes look delicious and are categorized by starters, main courses, sides, desserts, baking and drinks. And best of all, the recipes were specifically designed for a wintery holiday dinner.  They’ve also included a gift idea generator and a turkey timer that nicely adjusts based on the weight of your turkey.  The only drawback with the app is that the gift guide generator only calculates gift ideas by the UK pound, obviously because this is a promotional app for the UK chain Waitrose.

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Drinks: 8,500 Drink Recipes

drinks&cocktails app

For those of us who are not masters of mixology, this app will surely sharpen your bartender skills by providing direction to over 8,500 beverage recipes.  There are several ways to begin experimenting.  Users can search by drink name, category, all drinks, ingredients or shake the Android to receive a random selection.

One of the best features is the ingredients search, helpful if you have a limited bar or want to create a holiday drink containing a specific ingredient like Egg Nog. Yum!  When you find a worthy recipe it can be saved within the favourites section for quick access or shared with Twitter, Facebook and email.

The holidays may be the perfect time to get your “cheer-on” but I’ll just throw it out there, you might want to grab the free drunkblocker/sobriety checking app to be safe. Various levels of “Sober Testing” can be applied; easy to expert.
Just sayin.

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Holiday Fun: Android Karaoke

android karaoke app

This app appropriately follows the aforementioned bartender app.  I gladly tested out the app this weekend with a friend and a few bottles of cheer — is there a word for something that is both redonkulously fun and embarrassing the next day?

The Android Karaoke app is basically a portal to YouTube Karaoke videos which play songs sans the lyrics accompanied by animated text.  The benefit of using the app instead of just searching YouTube yourself is it conveniently lists songs without having to scour Youtube for karaoke.  After a few hours, our karaoke party moved through the majority of the hits despite the fact that several of the videos didn’t properly connect to YouTube.  The app contains a great deal of popular karaoke hits including several Christmas songs should you want to bust out some “Jingle Bell Rock”.  For the best effect, songsters should plug-in the Android to a speaker system and ideally use a wireless mic.  FYI- Searching “karaoke” using the YouTube app will achieve the same results minus the handy song list provided in Android Karaoke.

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Photography: PicSay

PicSay app

The constant hustling over the holidays is enough to keep anyone busy, so editing and sending out photos after the festivities might not be your idea of a great time.  Luckily the amazing advances in mobile photography applications have eliminated the need to launch your robust desktop photo editor, making it possible to edit and send pics out before you even leave the party.  Very convenient if you’re the only tech-savvy person in the family and all of the tedious digital photography work falls onto your shoulders.

One of my favourite photography apps for Android is Camera 360 but in the spirit of the holidays we’re taking a look at PicSay due to it’s large bank of word bubbles, stickers and effects.  Adding thought/speech bubbles can add some serious pizazz to boring family photos like this one…

PicSay app

A few of the additional pic tweaking effects include distort, exposure, contrast, spotlight, sepia toning and colorize.  After editing, an image can be saved to the SD card/exported to social networks and email.

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Save on Gifts: Shopsavvy

shopsavvy app

Comparison shopping has been revolutionized by apps like Shopsavvy that complete the entire “shopping around” process for you in seconds.  By simply scanning the barcode of a product Shopsavvy will generate a list of online and local retailers that carry the product accompanied by the cost at each location.  Products can be saved to a wish list or marked to send users an email alert when the product has reached the price the user specified in the settings.

The results however, will vary depending on where you live.  While this app is incredibly powerful, in my area anyway, the Android version had trouble locating local retailers (Ontario, Canada).  It additionally connects to the American version of websites as well (amazon.com instead of amazon.ca).  Fortunately I’m right across the border from Michigan so I’m able to see the local retailer feature in action.  Bottom line, it’s a brilliant app to help you save some cash over the holidays.

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Holiday Food Hangovers: Calorie Counter

Calorie Counter

After consuming lots of holiday cheer, baked goods and Christmas cookies you may be left with a serious urge to join a gym.  There’s a reason most gyms sign-up a majority of their customers between January and February.

This app is a complete solution for tracking the calories eaten and the calories burned, the necessary equation to achieve weight loss.  Every item within the large food database is coupled with the nutritional value of the food, so everything you eat is tracked and added to the daily total.  Conversely, it deducts calories for exercises which also include the units of energy a user has burned during an activity.  The food database can also be helpful for researching foods from popular restaurant chains, a detail fast food chains don’t often advertise.  Overall, Calorie Counter (lite)  is jam packed full of features to help you shed those unwanted after-holiday pounds. An extremely comprehensive fitness app with a $0 price tag.

Too many cookies

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Give Your Android Some Holiday Spirit
Christmas Magic Live Wallpaper (free) makes your Android snow.  Watch snowflakes twinkle and dance from the sky on your desktop or activate Jingle Bells by shaking the Android. Happy Holidays =)

(image source “Android Thumbnail” )


  1. BPR639geek (Bruce R.) says

    Brodie, I’m just hoping when I buy an Android phone, these apps are still avilable. This is one of the mose colorful & informitive articles you’ve written so far, & I will have a lot of questions for you when that Android phone lands in my lap. Do you think theirs a spell *teacher* app for the platform. I NEED it. BTW, if Wiley E. Coyote had the money to buy all that Acme crap, why didn’t he just buy dinner??? “B”