Get organized for the holidays: 10 phone apps for party hosting, shopping and more

These apps will solve your holiday cooking, hosting, shopping and binge-watching needs.

Alison DeNisco Rayome Managing Editor
Managing Editor Alison DeNisco Rayome joined CNET in 2019, and is a member of the Home team. She is a co-lead of the CNET Tips and We Do the Math series, and manages the Home Tips series, testing out new hacks for cooking, cleaning and tinkering with all of the gadgets and appliances in your house. Alison was previously an editor at TechRepublic.
Expertise Home Tips, including cooking, cleaning and appliances hacks Credentials
  • National Silver Azbee Award for Impact/Investigative Journalism; National Gold Azbee Award for Online Single Topic Coverage by a Team; National Bronze Azbee Award for Web Feature Series
Alison DeNisco Rayome
4 min read

These apps can help your holiday go smoothly. 


The holiday season is already upon us, which means it's time to prepare for a whirlwind of parties, family and friends -- not to mention eating and shopping. Whatever your plans, technology can help you make the most of the holiday season, helping you navigate everything from cooking something wonderful to dinner table political talk. And if you just need a good family-friendly game or TV show -- there's an app for that. 

Here are 10 apps available on both iOS and Android to help you keep the joy in this year's Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year's Eve and other celebrations. And here's our entire holiday 2019 survival guide for all your needs.

Read more: Best holiday gifts for less than $100 (2019 edition)

Food Network Kitchen

Food Network's new service, Food Network Kitchen, can act as your personal kitchen companion. The app brings live and on-demand cooking lessons from celebrity chefs to iOS and Android devices, Amazon Echo Show smart displays, Amazon Fire Tablets , Fire TV and Alexa, to help you plan for your holiday meal. It also offers step-by-step recipes that you can move through with voice commands, so you don't have to worry about touching a screen while you're busy cooking. 


The Food Network Kitchen app features interactive live classes from celebrity chefs. 

Food Network


Avoid long lines at the grocery store and order what you need through Instacart, a grocery delivery service app that delivers food from local stores to your home. Now available to more than 80% of US homes, Instacart lets you create an online cart and pay a delivery fee to get same-day grocery delivery. 


Pinterest offers the ultimate collection of recipes, crafts and decor ideas for all of your holiday celebrations. Search its vast collection of pins and pages to put together an amazing meal and table, or find crafts or games appropriate for different age groups. 

Making Conflict Work

A few things have happened in politics this year, to say the least, which could make for some uncomfortable dinner table conversations with family members across the political spectrum. Try to mediate any conflicts that arise with the Making Conflict Work app. The app takes you through a series of questions about the nature of your conflict, and gives you an assessment of the overall situation along with research-based strategies for addressing it effectively. Use it to help your family and friends find common ground.


Keep track of all of the December NFL football games and other sporting events through the NFL app. The app lets you stream the games that are being broadcast in your local area and the Game Center shows real-time scoring and highlights so you can keep track of all the the games, even when the TV is off or everyone has decided to watch something other than football. 


Watch NFL games like the Baltimore Ravens vs. the Los Angeles Rams. 

Getty Images / Sean M. Haffey

Disney Plus

Disney's new streaming service, Disney Plus, launched in November, and is now home to all of Disney's classic family-friendly films, as well as content from Marvel, Star Wars (including the Disney Plus original series The Mandalorian), Pixar and National Geographic, along with 30 seasons of The Simpsons. There should be no shortage of options to choose from, whether your holiday crew is looking for The Little Mermaid or Avengers: Endgame. Disney Plus costs $7 a month, but you can try it out for free for one week. Or, if you have Verizon , you can get a one-year subscription for free

Read more: Disney Plus: Every show, movie and original available to stream -- and when


Get a jump on holiday shopping with the ShopSavvy app, which lets you search for products and compare prices online and in local stores to help you get the best deal. Check out user reviews and additional deals and discounts in the app as well. We also have you covered with the CNET editors' 2019 holiday picks


Get your party started with a playlist on music streaming service Spotify. Recent improvements to its free service gave Spotify the edge over competitors like Apple Music or Tidal for CNET's reviewers. You can search for holiday-themed playlists, or find music across any genre, whether you're cooking a ham or entertaining guests. 

Apple Arcade  

Apple's gaming streaming service Apple Arcade now includes more than 100 new and exclusive games that you can play on the iPhone , iPad , iPod Touch and Apple TV

. Gather your crew (or take a break from them) to play kid-friendly games, puzzle games, mystery games, and nostalgic games like Pac-Man Party Royale. Apple Arcade costs $5 per month. 


Apple's gaming service, Apple Arcade, now has more than 100 video games. 

Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET


Streaming favorite Netflix is giving the Hallmark Channel a run for its money when it comes to holiday-related movies. Binge new original movies like The Knight Before Christmas and A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby, or holiday specials from series like The Great British Baking Show.  

Read more: Netflix has a ton of holiday movies coming, including a Christmas Prince sequel

Watch this: 7 fun ways to use Alexa this Christmas