10 Best Apps for Holiday Entertaining

Entertaining
December 16, 2013

Discover 10 helpful apps that put holiday entertaining in the palm of your hand

Holiday Apps
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The holiday season may be celebrated in song as the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also one of the busiest. You’ve got a list full of loved ones to find the perfect gift for, a perfectly-shaped Douglas fir to trim, a calendar of yuletide events to attend and, of course, one heck of a party to throw.

All of it can easily become an impossible—and exhausting—task if you don’t have a little help. And by “a little” we mean the kind that fits in the palm of your hand: an app. Whether you enlist the services of your trusty cell phone or tireless tablet, these 10 apps can help you pull off the holiday party of the year.

Evite
Free; iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch & Android

evite

The first rule of any great party is simple: you’ve got to have guests. And how do you let said guests know where and when the party of the season will be happening? With an invitation, of course. Online invitation behemoth Evite’s app lets you easily design and send invitations from your phone (they’ve got a ton of chic designs from which to choose) and can be set up to alert you as guests RSVP (with a yay or nay).

Remember the Milk
Free; iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch & Android

Remember the milk

We’ve all been there: you’ve just spent five hours and just as many hundreds of dollars going from store to party only to realize you’ve forgotten those much-needed bags of ice. With Remember the Milk, you’ll never be forced to endure that dreaded “second trip” out again. A simple interface allows you to enter in every task you’ll need to complete for maximum party success, with details on when, where, how long and how often each one will take, and then prioritize them. It even stores any contact information associated with each task for simple one-touch dialing and/or e-mailing. Of course, priorities often shift, and this comprehensive app makes it easy to adjust the rest of your schedule accordingly. From invites to thank you cards, this indispensable app is like your very own party-planning elf for the holidays.

Food52 Holiday Recipes & Party Planning Guide
$3.99; iPhone, iPad & iPod Touch

Food52

Appetizers or entrees? Sandwiches or steaks? Buffet-style or sit-down meal? There are lots of questions that need to be answered before you can start planning what is undoubtedly the make-or-break point of any party: the food. And while we’ve got plenty of ideas to get you started on Relish.com and within our own offering of apps, we’ve made no secret of our affinity for what the team over at Food52 is doing (we even included them in our recent list of 10 Food Apps to Make You a Better Chef). So you can imagine our excitement when they launched a holiday-specific app that will take you from Super Bowl parties through New Year’s Day brunches. In addition to more than 125 recipes, the app features nearly two hours of HD tutorials, hundreds of elegant step-by-step photo slideshows and easy-to-follow party planning advice.

Hello Vino
Free; iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch & Android

Hello Vino

Once you’ve got the menu settled, it’s time to pick out a few bottles of wine to complement the meal. This is where Hello Vino goes to work as a pocket-sized personal wine assistant. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know your Rosé from your Riesling, because this powerful little app does, offering easy-to-understand recommendations based on food, occasion, holiday or even your personal taste preferences (just answer a few questions and Hello Vino will spit out some selections to fit your palate). And if you’re standing in the middle of the store right now, surrounded by hundreds of wine bottles and utterly confused, all you need to do is snap a pic of the bottle you’re eyeing and you’ll get a smorgasbord of info, like tasting notes, best food pairings and industry ratings.

Pinterest
Free; iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch & Android

Pinterest

You spend your days pinning all the images that strike your aesthetic fancy, so why not use Pinterest as your very own secret decorating tool for this year’s holiday festivities? Get inspired by the images you see on the mobile app, then adapt them for your own abode with pinned decorating ideas from your fellow users and DIY crafters. What sort of holiday décor can you create with a mason jar and a handful of peppermints? Download the app and you’ll see!

Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations
$.99; iPhone, iPad & iPod Touch

Bartletts

The holidays are a time to give thanks for both the big things—like health and family—and the little—like that fantastic pan of homemade macaroni and cheese the party host cooked up. When you want to express your sentiments in a memorable and heartfelt way, we’ll let you in on a little secret: some famous person has probably already said it better than you. There’s no shame in sharing a quote to mark the occasion, and the app version of the best-selling Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations book offers more than 20,000 famous quotes from the past 5,000 years, with everyone from Jacques Cousteau to Jerry Seinfeld weighing in on such topics as art, science, politics, religion, philosophy and entertainment.

Christmas RADIO
Free; iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch & Android

xmas radio

All the yuletide spirit in the world just doesn’t feel right without a little holiday music in the background. Whether you’re into the traditional classics or something with a bit of international flair, this music on-demand app culls the best holiday music from more than 50 dedicated Christmas music stations from around the world for an interesting, 24/7 soundtrack. Choose your tunes from such varied offerings as North Pole Radio, Hot Country Christmas, Holiday Favorites 101, Christmas Smooth Jazz, New Age Christmas Radio or Wietrzne Radio, or let your guests play DJ.

Karaoke Anywhere
Free; iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch & Android

Karaoke Anywhere

As the holiday hits continue, there’s bound to be a single song—or particular time in the evening—where your guests want to sing along. And sure, you can do it the old-fashioned, DIY way. Or you can download this free app that turns your phone or tablet into its very own karaoke machine, where you and your guests can warble the night away, record your new (and likely slightly off-key) holiday anthems and, if you’re feeling confident enough, share them with your friends. A simple A/V cable will even let you output all the melody-making to your TV. And the Playlist function will even let you create the perfect set list before your guests arrive. The app features more than 10,000 songs, which means about 10,000 hours of fun. You’ll be fa-la-la-la’ing into the new year.

Conversation Cards
$1.99; iPhone, iPad & iPod Touch

Conversation Cards

Turn your holiday gathering into a full-on party when you whip out the party games. Conversation Cards asks a series of open-ended questions meant to spark a conversation, even a friendly debate, and loads of laughter. So whether your house is full of family or acquaintances, no one will go home a stranger after answering—or joining in on a discussion about—“Would you rather be rich or famous?” A social media component lets guests share their favorite questions (and answers) via Facebook, text or e-mail and a library of more than 100 thought-provoking questions will keep the conversation sparkling.

Pocketbooth
$2.99; iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch & Android

Pocketbooth

Yes, we know that party photos have been going the way of Instagram for a while now, and it’s one of our favorite apps, too. But for a special holiday treat, we say go old-school with this fun photo app that’s designed to mimic a 1950s Model 11 Photobooth. Guests can use it to snap pics—in color, black and white, sepia or antique—which pop up in retro little photo strips that can then be shared via email, Facebook or Twitter. Make it even more fun with a stockpile of Santa hats, reindeer antlers and ugly holiday sweaters for props. Strike a holiday pose!

Still feeling app happy? Check out our list of 10 Food Apps to Make You a Better Chef

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