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Manage your holiday gift-giving from your iOS device

Karissa Bell | Dec. 5, 2011
Holiday shopping has swung into full gear. But while others elbowed their way to Black Friday deals and clicked on Cyber Monday savings, you sat on the sidelines. Maybe you always put off holiday shopping until the last minute. Maybe you’re daunted by the thought of coming up with a list, let alone checking it twice. Maybe you think the entire process is a bit of a drag.

Who’s been nice

Fortunately, the other apps I looked at are more than up to the task of helping you stay on top of your gift-giving. Common traits among successful gift list managers include solid organization and the ability to add in the kinds of details that help your actual shopping run more smoothly. The really successful apps understand that you don’t want to dedicate your holiday season to constructing lists, so they offer functions such as sharing and contact syncing to help save you time. Online shoppers, in particular, will appreciate software that incorporate some e-commerce element directly into the app.

If you plan on doing the bulk of your shopping offline this year and only need an app to help organize your list, then Santa’s Bag ( Macworld rated 3 out of 5 mice ) or The Christmas List ( Macworld rated 3.5 out of 5 mice ) will meet most of your needs. Both allow you to easily organize your list into different groups, indicate the status of each gift, and specify price and store.

Santa’s Bag has the slight advantage in that you can import people from your list directly from your iPhone’s contacts, a feature The Christmas List regrettably lacks. Also missing from The Christmas List is a dedicated budget feature. However, it is easy to view how much you have spent so a separate budget function isn’t completely necessary in this case.

It’s also worth noting that while Santa’s Bag will sync with your Dropbox account, there is no way to actually share your lists via email or otherwise. The Christmas List, on the other hand, allows you to share your lists in a nice chart via email.

If online shopping is more your thing, iPresents ( Macworld rated 3.5 out of 5 mice ) is a good option. While it won’t sync with your Contacts app, you can shop directly from within iPresents. Each time you add a new gift, the app lets you look up the item on the websites of seven different retailers or on Google.

Ultimately, though, I found my favorite apps turned out to be ones that had a life beyond the holiday season. These apps, designed to help you stay on top of gift-giving the other 11 months of the year, tend to be better organized while offering more control over the finer details of your lists.

If you’re also looking for that kind of versatility, you should consider Gift Plan ( Macworld rated 4 out of 5 mice ) or No More Socks ( Macworld rated 5 out of 5 mice ), which are, without a doubt, my two favorites. Both offer organized year-round gift planning functionality.

 

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