Sara Reiner | Contributor
December 20, 2012

‘Appy Holidays!


Are you scrambling to finish (or start) your holiday shopping? Don’t worry! These apps can help you select, buy and save money on perfect gifts for your family and friends.

If you’re stumped about what to get your adolescent nephew, for example, El Gifto can make your life easier. The free app suggests presents based on age, gender, interests, and yes, even the recipient’s ego. It lets you set price limits too so you don’t accidentally fall in love with an $800 purse you never knew you needed.

Google Shopper lets you search for gifts via barcode scans, voice commands and texts. It recognizes cover art too, so you can sneakily snap a picture of your cousin’s favorite DVD and instantly find movies by the same director. Plus, the app lets you save items to an online shopping list so the holidays won’t fall apart if you lose your phone.

If you already know what stores you like, consider downloading apps directly from retailers. Stores like Target, Best Buy and Barnes & Noble all offer easy mobile shopping solutions so you can skip the crowds and make a beeline straight for the items you want.  

Once you’ve selected a present, you should probably double check with your friends before shelling out for a neon yellow and purple striped shirt. Fortunately, myShopanion lets you scan any barcode and send the image of your impending purchase to Facebook friends. They can then give you feedback and ask your opinion on the groovy pleather pants they just found.

When it comes to buying the gifts you’ve chosen, Amazon Mobile is a must-have app. The retail giant’s mobile version includes all the perks of your online account, like two-day shipping and package tracking, along with a comparison shopping tool so you get the most bang for your buck.

But holiday shopping shouldn’t have to break the bank. You can save both time and money by using RedLaser to get the best deals. The app lets you scan barcodes to compare prices locally and online, besides offering daily deals and coupons. RedLaser also ships items to your front door so you don’t have to lug that new set of golf clubs around the mall.  

To avoid the faux pas of giving your Dad another purple tie next December, be sure to track your purchases with an app like The Christmas List. It syncs your shopping lists via email, calculates your budget per person, and follows items from purchase to wrapping and receipt. Unfortunately, however, it can’t tell you who’s been naughty or nice this year.

Don’t forget a card! But if you’d rather not lick envelopes this year, you can send holiday greetings right from your phone with Ink. First, design a custom card complete with personalized photos, filters and text. Then just sit back and wait while the company snail mails a glossy print version to everyone on your list.   

And if you’re simply too wiped out from cooking holiday feasts and hanging lights to think about buying presents for your entire extended family, grab a cup of tea and download Gyft. The app offers hundreds of gift cards that you can easily send via Facebook, email or text. Santa even promises to give you free gift cards for signing up.

Here’s to a stress-free, fun-filled holiday!