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Special Report: Holiday apps

December has finally arrived and the holiday to-do list is never ending. There's the cooking, the shopping, the decorating and of course - wrapping all those presents. But fear not - help is at your fingertips. You just need to find the right app that will help keep you in the holiday spirit.
December has finally arrived and the holiday to-do list is never ending. There's the cooking, the shopping, the decorating and of course - wrapping all those presents.

But fear not - help is at your fingertips. You just need to find the right app that will help keep you in the holiday spirit.

For Pam Rice, it isn't the holiday season without her family's favorite dishes. But Pam's trips to the grocery store aren't always merry.

"Often, I would write down my list on a piece of paper and then turn, you know, hop in the car, and leave it on the counter," Pam said.

Now Pam's smartphone helps keep her grocery list in check. From bagging food to bagging discounts, technology expert Jennifer Jolly says a slew of smartphone applications can help prevent holiday headaches.

"With smartphone applications you have all kinds of tools right in the palm of your hand, so not tapping into those tools is crazy," Jolly said.

One of Jolly's favorites is Shop-n-tella, a social media shopping app. It rounds up product reviews and recommendations from industry experts, the Shop-n-tella community, and sites like Facebook and Twitter.

"Say you want to buy a new smartphone,” Jolly said. “You ask it a question, and it sends it out to your entire social media base, to cell phone and smartphone experts, and you get a real time answer."

Or, try the gift plan app. You can easily keep track of what you need to buy, and jot down notes on gift ideas, personal tastes, and clothing sizes.

And after a long day of shopping, remembering where you parked your car can be a challenge. That's where the car finder app comes in handy. Once you launch it, it will tell you exactly where to find your car.

You can also plan your holiday menu with ziplist, a digital grocery list.

"It automatically sorts everything by aisle,” Erin Gifford of Ziplist said. “You can also start searching for Recipes and add everything you need to your shopping list with one click."

Pam likes the sharing feature on Ziplist.

"Say I'm out running errands and my husband thinks of something that he
needs, he can actually add it to the list," Pam said.

Burned out from cooking? Alfred is like your personal butler, serving up restaurant recommendations based on your likes and dislikes. Share memories with family and friends using Keek, which lets you upload video status updates.

"You take a little video with your smartphone, about 30 seconds or less, and you can push one button, sends it out to your Keek network," Jolly said.

When you need to unwind, tap into Relax, an app that helps you do just that.

"It's got all kinds of different music, it's got all kinds of ambient sounds, and it has video that goes along with it," Jolly said.

Pam says that her favorite app will help her have a holly, jolly holiday.

"The last thing you need is to hang out in the grocery store extra time,” Pam said. “It's really made it easier for me."
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