Magic is no longer limited to a child’s imagination. Not only can we control every aspect of the festive season by waving a smartphone like a magic wand, Christmas shopping itself has become the stuff of sci-fi thanks to augmented reality (last year London’s Covent Garden was turned into an interactive wonderland).
There’s now an app for everything – apps that help make organisation easier (Santa’s Bag, Secret Santa) to apps that add a touch of Christmas to everything, (Magicam, Elf Yourself), and bring you closer to Santa himself (Santa Tracker, A Call From Santa!). There’s even an app that tells you how to pair your Christmas drinks with the perfect cheese. After all, the anagram of Christmas is ‘smart chis’. Sorry, there isn’t an app that makes Christmas cracker jokes funny yet.
These apps, however, are right on the money...
Take your greetings to a futuristic level by creating your own 3D interactive Christmas card. After you’ve personalised your design (you can pick from a selection at igreet or create your own from scratch at Augment), your card comes to life before the receiver’s eyes as a real life animation, complete with sound!
The advent calendar
Forget the daily chocolate and get the kids into the Christmas spirit the modern way – with an online advent calendar. Santa’s Advent Calendar and Boowa & Kwala offer daily interactive games and puzzles, while the Lego Advent Calendar lets them unlock new characters. You can even create your create your own calendar. The hardcore techie will love Advent of Code, where you crack programming puzzles to win the respect of your peers on the leaderboard.
Calling lights out on the traditional gold, white or blue Christmas light selection, the trend this year is to go for rainbow, flag, snowman, snake... pretty much whatever takes your fancy. With the option to change intensity, speed and colour, Twinkly allows you use your smartphone to brighten up your tree with a range of built-in animations and manually created effects.
The shopping list app is big news this year, allowing you to organise and keep track of purchases, and help find the perfect gift for the right person. The Christmas List app is the most comprehensive – use it to set budgets per person, track the shopping process, find the best deals, share with recipients if you want to give each other what you both want, even personalise gifts by adding photos.
There are Christmas feast apps aplenty, from tradition treats (Perfect Christmas Dinner) to unusual ideas (Christmas Food), but what will really come in handy come stress o’ clock is something that helps get the timing of all the dishes right. The KitchenPad Timer lets you set timers for your appliances, monitor the temperature and heat settings, and tells you when it’s done, so you can pop to the living room for a drink without worrying about how the sprouts are getting on.
The smart techie knows that having a fit body means you can indulge in the festive offerings with impunity, especially if you own and use one of this year’s most sought-after Christmas presents: a fitness smartwatch (like this one by Fitbit). If you’re thinking of investing in one of these to get your “new year, new you” plans on track, make sure it has all the latest features: good battery life, built-in GPS and tracking for your heart rate, sleep diet and weight. Be sure to choose one that’s comfortable and stylish enough to stay on your wrist 24/7 and you’ll look forward to a slimmer, fitter and more rested you in 2018. Merry Christmas!