Free apps to make Christmas easier
Fancy getting someone else to wrap up all your Christmas presents this year? Need an easy way to plan out all your festive TV watching? Maybe you just want to whip up something a bit different in the kitchen to impress the relatives on Christmas Day. It's all covered right here, in our round-up of essential Chrimbo apps. And best of all? Every one of them is free. Well, it is Christmas, eh.
OK, now this one's pretty exclusive. You'll need to have an iOS device and you'll need to live in London if you want to use it. But qualify for those two criteria and you can take advantage of an awesomely easy way to deal with your Christmas shopping. Just head out to the shops, then decamp to the cafe/pub/living room of your choice. Use the app to take a photo of the item/s you want to post and a Doddle 'Runner' will arrive within the hour to pick it up. Not only that, they'll also wrap it up and deliver it to its recipient the very next day. You can send up to five packages at once for a flat rate of £5, plus postage fees.
Discover TV by Radio Times
If your household is anything like ours, the bumper copy of the Radio Times is a staple of every Christmas. But with every new channel that's launched, it's becoming ever more unwieldy and difficult to navigate - which is why this Radio Times-backed app is such a treat. It covers not only all your regular TV channels, but also watch-again services such as iPlayer and More4 - plus even streaming services such as Netflix and iTunes. If you're a Sky+ customer, you can record shows direct from the listings.
This is a potential life-saver for those times when you realise you've forgotten to send a Christmas card to someone important. Using the app, you can create a bespoke card using your own photos and then add your own handwritten message to it. Once the card's complete, Inkly prints it out and pops it in the post that very same day.
Google Santa Tracker
NORAD has been running a Santa tracking service for decades and now also has an app. But its version, with its US focus, sadly omits a Father Christmas visit to the UK. So we're opting for this Google version. The app includes a countdown timer which ticks down the days, minutes and hours until Santa sets off on his sleigh (10am UK time, according to Google). From that moment, you can track his progress around the world via Google Maps. The app also includes a bunch of simple Christmas-themed games that will keep very young children entertained.
Food Network in the Kitchen
If you want a free app with a good selection of Christmas recipes, you're going to have to download an American one. The BBC used to offer a nice free app of festive recipes, but that's since been swallowed up into a freemium version where you'll have to stump up £1.49 for the Christmas treats. Using an American app comes with its own drawbacks - they've apparently never heard of mince pies, for one. But tap Christmas into the search and you'll get more than 1,000 hits - from the familiar to the intriguingly exotic.