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5 apps to make your holidays a little smoother

The most wonderful time of the year can often feel like the most stressful, but your smartphone can help you manage your limited time and resources.

Here are five apps designed to lighten the load along and have some fun:

Nextdoor

Don't waste time scouring the Internet for the best places to visit Santa, view holiday lights or get a Christmas tree. Just ask your neighbors — via mobile app.

“Private social network Nextdoor is launching the Holiday Cheer Map to let people discover local events recommended by their neighbors. Nextdoor members can share the best places to see holiday lights, give back to a local fundraiser, pick up a Christmas tree or check out neighborhood activities,” reports The Daily Dot. “If it's simplicity that you're looking for this holiday season, Nextdoor's app, which already hosts 47,000 neighborhoods, will likely serve up great events suggested by neighbors that are simply around the corner.”

Santa's Bag

“Santa’s Bag is a smart shopping list manager for iPhone with a Christmas twist. The app gives you space to put down all your gift ideas, sorted by the person who’ll be receiving the gifts and including sections for you to keep track of spending,” The New York Times reports. “You can enter photos of each person in your list and keep track of which gifts you’ve bought and which are left to buy. The interface is slick and easy to use, and the ability to view your data as a list of gifts or by recipient could relieve some pressure during your actual shopping. You can even set a pass code so prying eyes can’t see what gifts you have planned.”

RedLaser

So you found the perfect gift but you think you could get it cheaper, elsewhere? This app will put an end to your wandering and let you know for sure.

“If an in-store item has caught your eye, grab it off the shelf and use the app to scan its barcode. You'll be presented with a list of all the online stores where it's available and how much it'll cost. Find the best deal, buy it and wait patiently for the UPS guy. If it’s cheaper in-store, then you’ll get to enjoy a bit of that elusive 'instant gratification' you’ve been hearing so much about,” reports Fast Company.

GateGuru

Traveling over the holidays? Don't forget to pack “GateGuru,” an app that informs travelers of nearly everything they need to know about their respective flights and the airports they'll be traveling through.

“Somehow there was a complete black hole of information for the traveler. Simple things like ‘Should I eat before or after security?,’ ‘How long is the security wait time?,’ ‘Is my flight delayed or on time?’ often couldn’t be answered,” the app's developer, Dan Gellert, tells Tech Crunch. “I felt like there needed to be a seamless solution to give travelers knowledge about this entire experience; to put the power back in the hands of the traveler. We have a lot of unique data in our product such as airport amenity information, TSA wait times, airport tips, maps, etc.”

Google Santa Tracker

One man will for sure be travelling this holiday season. If you're looking for an interactive way to keep tabs on Santa's travels, look no further than Google's Santa Tracker, which includes “anta's Village.

“The interactive Santa's Village world offers a bunch of educational games to teach children geography, different holiday traditions and basic Javascript, and (the app) culminates on Dec. 24 when Santa Tracker lets you watch Mr. Claus' journey around the world on Google Maps,” reports Business Insider.

“This is primarily a volunteer effort within the company, but every year more people want to come help us and improve the experience,” Andre Ferrate, the project lead of Santa's Village tells Business Insider. “Dozens of people of all different departments helped out in creating the experience this year, with contributions coming from Google offices in Tokyo, Australian, Europe, Seattle, New York and Silicon Valley. They have other work to do, but make time to contribute to Santa's Village just because they love working on it.”

Email: jpeacock@deseretnews.com Twitter: @thejoepeacock