The holiday season is the best time of the year, with tons of delicious food, times with friends and family, and gifts. But it can also be stressful. Luckily, modern science has been hard at work coming up with ways to solve your yuletide stressors. Here are 11 innovative ways that technology can help keep your holiday season as relaxed as possible.
1. Take the Guesswork Out of Giving
One of the biggest stressors that comes to mind in regard to the holidays is gift giving. The first problem you’re bound to face is actually figuring out what to get—Dad has enough ties, and you’re almost certain your little sister has grown out of the sticker phase. Instead of racking your brain for ideas, introduce your family to wish-list websites like Giftster or CheckedTwice.
2. Be the Smartest Secret Santa
Secret Santa can be great fun for groups of friends, family, or coworkers, but being the organizer can turn into a chore. The digital service Elfster is an easy way to get the ball rolling with wish lists, assignments, group discussions, and other fun little perks that make Secret Santa a breeze.
3. Stop Worrying About Your Budget
Getting everyone on your list a terrific gift can be hard on your budget. Luckily there are a handful of methods for snagging great deals come purchase time, ranging from searching for digital coupons on sites like Retail Me Not to signing up for product discount alerts via sites like CamelCamelCamel.com and apps like PoachIt.
4. Pack the Perfect Suitcase
Holiday travel can inject more stress into the season, and having to pack for a visit to family or friends is one more thing to think about. Relax as apps like Travel List, Packing Pro, and Trip List take all the neuroses out of the ordeal, essentially doing the thinking for you while you just smile and fold.
5. Smooth Out Your Road Trips
For holiday journeys on land, apps like GasBuddy (for comparing station prices along your route), Foodspotting (for scheduling pit stops that are both efficient and tasty), and Sigalert (for live traffic reports—the MVP of the bunch) can make the drive a lot less stressful.
6. Have Your Phone Keep Your Travel Documents
As for air travel, it always helps to stay organized: Keeping all your travel documents together via the TripIt app can save you a lot of panicking come the morning of an early flight.
7. Make Perfect Airport Pickups
If you’re the one hosting the festivities this year, picking up visitors at the airport can be a headache without the help of apps like Just Landed, which can track a flight (and catch wind of any status changes) and suggest an optimal time to leave for your airport pickup mission, factoring traffic activity into the equation.
8. Game the System
Once your family’s together, figuring out a way to keep everyone entertained and happy can be a tricky task. There’s no better way to steer a crowd away from awkward silences and uncomfortable topics of conversation than an old fashioned board game. But if you haven’t had a chance to run to the toy store, you can download a digital version of Monopoly, Boggle, Jenga, The Game of Life, and many others in app form.
9. Keep the Little Ones Occupied
When your family’s kids aren’t in school and have been munching on holiday candy, they’re going to need an outlet for their energy. A slew of holiday-themed apps—ranging in focus from Christmas tree decorating to gingerbread man baking—can keep the young ones occupied while you take some time for yourself without having to worry about broken ornaments.
10. Let the Web Do Your Cooking
Cooking for a wealth of relatives can prove to be an all-day affair, and one that can easily go haywire if you’re worried about keeping everybody entertained in the meantime. But ordering a complete holiday dinner—with all the trimmings—off specialized delivery sites like Sendameal.com takes all the sweat out of the equation.
11. Send Smarter Holiday Cards
Personalized holiday cards are a tradition … one that involves wrangling restless kids, trekking all the way down to the portrait studio, and painstakingly addressing dozens of envelopes. Why bother with the fuss when you can do the whole thing online via services like Smilebox or Punchbowl? If you’re married to the idea of a hard copy, you can still do most of the work online with Tinyprints.
Innovation is when technology works for you and not just because of you—that’s what Intel® RealSense™technologies, like gesture control, 3D camera, and immersive chat are all about. Learn more here: intel.com.