3 Free iOS Apps to Get Your Through The Holidays

I don't know about you, but I don't like hearing Christmas music the day after Halloween. I like having a breather before having decided on whether it will be turkey or ham this year for Thanksgiving. Each year seasonal ads and music seem to appear further ahead of the season they they supposed to be advertising for and it's getting out of hand.

Isn't Black Friday enough? Are we to hear Jingle Bells the day after Labor Day a year from now? It's as if merchants think shoppers have a pavlovian response to Deck the Halls and immediate reach for our wallets whenever we hear it. Come on people! Christmas in July is supposed to be a joke.

Free on iTunes

I think I understand why this is happening. Christmas music is suppose to make us think about gift giving, which means gift buying, and that means shopping, and the earlier we start gift shopping the more money we're likely to spend. But I think overzealous merchants have finally crossed the line, at least they have with me. By attempting to subliminally coerce extra bucks from my wallet by subtly suggesting that I think about what I will get my grandson this year, they have had the exact opposite affect on me. Any mall or store playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving won't get a dime of my money until after Thanksgiving, and even then I will try to shop stores with less anxious advertising policies. (We'll see if I can actually pull that off.)

The thing is, strains of Do You Hear What I Hear does start me thinking about the Winter Holiday season, which includes all the various holidays between Thanksgiving and New Years, except my thoughts tend to dwell on family and friends. Those I haven't contacted much or at all during the first three quarters of the year or longer materialize before my mind's eye like welcomed ghosts, and I have the urge to reach out to them, see how they are and what they are up to.

It's one of the reasons I enjoy Thanksgiving so much more than Christmas. Thanksgiving is more about communing and sharing than it is about giving, which Christmas seems to be all about. We share our homes with visitors, share recipes, current events, memories, and so much more while gathered around a feast. I like that.

So, if you are hosting or attending a Thanksgiving dinner then you may appreciate the apps I've selected for this week's Free on iTunes. So let's get to it.

I like wine, but I have no ideal what wine goes with what meal. It doesn't matter much when I'm cooking for myself, but if you've been invited to Thanksgiving dinner and you're tasked to provide the libations then you'll want your selection to be the appropriate one. Enter WineStein.


Let WineStein know what you're having for dinner by selecting the meal ingredients and it will suggest wines to fit the meal. It's that simple. Add more meal ingredients, like veggies, sauces, desserts and such and the wine list is modified to suit the more exact tastes.

WineSteinGive WineStein what you're going to eat...

Then select from the list and you get the details including serving temp and what wine glass to use! How cool is that? WineStein will also help pick the perfect vino when you are at a restaurant too. Unfortunately there aren't many eateries in the app's list.

WineStein...and it give you a list of wines to go with your meal

You'd think that all of the sommelierary goodness would come at the price of at least a few ads, but you'd be wrong in this case. Nary an ad interrupts the apps user friendly interface. WineStein is a winner.

Must-Have Recipes from Better Homes and Gardens
Often when I'm invited to Thanksgiving dinner I'm asked to bring a dish. I like doing that, but I often get stuck on what to bring. If you need a few culinary ideas then you can start by consulting Must-Have Recipes from Better Homes and Gardens.

Must-Have RecipesMust-Have Recipes

The app features more than 460 recipes, all with pix of the finished dish. What I like is the hot links embedded in the recipes that take you to information you may need about a certain procedure. There's a timer, ingredients list and nutrition facts with each dish.

Must-Have RecipesYou're bound to find something to serve

Again, no ads in this iPhone/iPod touch-only app! If the 460+ recipes aren't enough you can buy more through in-app purchase.

You're bound to find something tasty to take to dinner with Must-Have Recipes. Grab it.

TGI Black Friday
So, you're sitting at the table. You've loosened your belt for the third time and dessert has yet to be served. The conversation is light and friendly, and it inevitably turns to the retail craziness known as Black Friday. Most of your dinner companions will swear that they will avoid the crowds at all cost, but you know some will brave the traffic, the lines, and the retail feeding frenzy at the local mall. You can offer them a battle plan based on your advanced knowledge of the deals being advertised in advance via the iOS app called, appropriately enough, TGI Black Friday.

TGI Black FridayTGI Black Friday

Ads are listed by stores, category, or popularity. You can even search for particular items which not only displays the items searched, but offers a price comparison list per item. You can then create a list of your needed items

With list in hand, indicating the stores involved, you can then go bravely forth, credit card in hand, and get the deals you are after.

TGI Black FridayList and compare before you brave the crowds

Black Friday is a must-have for Black Friday.

And that's a wrap.

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.