Mobile Apps To Get You Through The Holidays


Three days till Christmas and there is plenty of time to get flustered over last-minute details. Online shipping deadlines have mostly ended so now you're stuck going to the store.

Combine shopping with any last-minute planning issues and details and you're probably ready for some help.

Here are a few mobile apps to get you through these last few days:

Santa Tracker. An app that's good for only about 24 hours will be a hit with kids who still believe in Santa Claus. The official app — from the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, in Colorado Springs — will have volunteers tracking Santa's journey around the globe. •

Nextdoor. Neighbors are finally meeting one another through a site called Nextdoor, where they go to sell old junk, trade gossip and network. The app adds a Holiday Cheer Map, making it convenient to drive around and view neighborhood Christmas lights. •

Raise. Good for before and after Christmas, Raise is an app where you can buy and sell gift cards. Most cards sell for a slight discount — Starbucks $20 cards were going for a 10 percent discount. You can sell cards at whatever discount you choose, but Raise will take a cut plus a 15 percent commission. Gift cards are delivered electronically to recipients. •

Chameleon. This app is definitely meant for in-store purchases. You can search for products and find out the aisle it's located on inside the store. This works for malls, too, though it looks like actual stores with maps are sparse. It kept pulling up Kmart and Sears for us. •

Handwrytten. Not every gift comes from Santa, so send a trendy, hand-written thank-you note with a little help from your smartphone. Handwrytten lets you send a "hand-written" note you type in and the company's hand-writing robots add that signature touch. The cost of the cards includes shipping to recipients. •