How To Make The Most Of Christmas 2016 With Android

It is that time of the year again. The Holiday season and Christmas is upon us. Which does mean that for some of us, one of the busiest days of the year is here. Although the last few weeks are typically busy for everyone with gift buying, searching for wrapping paper, flights, buses, work, and everything else, that is not to say that the business is over with. Yes, on the day, a few of us will get to put our feet up, check out some of the festive TV schedule and enjoy a mince pie or two, but for some - it will still be a very busy day. Luckily, there are quite a few ways in which you can keep on top of all the day’s activities using Android.

In charge of Christmas dinner?

While Christmas is an day off for some, for those lucky enough to be tasked with taking care of Christmas dinner, it might not feel like a day off at all and for those people, every little bit of help available is worth taking advantage of. First up, before the big day arrives you do need to make sure you have everything you need. Like Thanksgiving, this is one of those days where getting the shopping list right first time is crucial. Therefore, a note taking app like Google Keep could be just what makes the difference between getting everything right and finding out you have forgotten that one integral ingredient.

This is where a note-taking app like Google Keep proves to be an essential app installed on your phone - as knowing exactly what you need to get and having that information available to you, when you need it, will be of huge benefit. And we are not just talking about making sure you have the Turkey, the potatoes or the Yorkshire puddings either. Think, last minute wrapping paper, a last-minute card for your brother’s new girlfriend, extra Christmas crackers for those last minute guests. The list goes on and that means that everything needs to be on your list to ensure their are no last minute hiccups. A note-taking app is a must.

Getting to grips with the Turkey

Of course, getting everything on your shopping list is one thing. Actually making it through the day of basting, turning, stuffing and serving is quite the other. Thankfully, there are so many ways in which Android can help with the actual Christmas dinner. In fact, regardless of your skill in the kitchen (or the size of the turkey in question), there are a ton of recipe apps that can help you figure out how many minutes per lb the turkey needs and what sort of sauce should go with the potatoes.

Likewise, there is just as many videos available on YouTube which can literally help you step-by-step in delivering the perfect Christmas dinner. YouTube has become a great instrument for information and you will be able to find a number of videos which can help with getting the dinner just right, or wrapping the presents in new and exciting ways and just general tips and tricks for making the day that extra bit more Christmassy.

Family Christmas TV time

Speaking of which, YouTube is another great option for those who need a way to keep the family entertained on the big day. Although, this one is really interchangeable for a number of other apps, as it does seem that 2016 has brought with it a significant number of video streaming apps. So whether it is the new DIRECTV NOW app, Netflix, Hulu or YouTube, video streaming apps are a great way to keep the family entertained on the big day.

Gone are the times when everyone would have to huddle around the TV and watch scheduled programming. Now if everyone has an Android smartphones (and especially if you also have a Cast-enabled device like Chromecast), than watching TV has never been easier. Likewise, for those households that are Android TV-equipped households, the choices of what to watch on Christmas day have never been more varied or fun. Although, that is not to say that arguments over what to watch will be avoided. In fact, if anything the use of Android TV or Chromecast is likely to lead to more arguments than ever - while family members won't be arguing over the remote control, there could be just as many arguments over the Cast button now.

After Christmas dinner family fun

While Christmas is one of those times when breaking out the board games and arguing over Monopoly is a given, the times have changed and this year in particular, Android has grown in its ability to entertain people. One of the most obvious ways is the recent introduction of Android’s own virtual reality platform, Daydream. While VR is typically thought of as a solo pastime, it doesn't have to be. If anyone in your home has a new Google Pixel or Pixel XL (or you happen to know that there is one sitting under the tree for someone), then a Daydream View headset could be just the ticket to spend some quality family time gaming after dinner.

In fact, if you also happen to own an Android TV device, then one of the great things about Android is that there is usually a way to connect one to the other. Daydream is no different. As this is a VR platform that runs off an Android smartphone, you can also cast your smartphone to your Android TV device while running Daydream. Which means that not only can the family take turns in some VR fun, but the rest of the family can be watching the fun unfold along with you.

For those who can’t make it

Of course, one of the downsides of Christmas is that not everyone can be in the same place at the same time and if there is going to be someone missing from your table this year, that does not mean that you cannot see them or wish them a Merry Christmas on the big day. Thankfully, there are a number of Android apps which can help make saying hello to loved ones an easier task. Google’s latest app for this is Google Duo and one of its big features is its ‘knock knock’ feature which allows the person you are video calling to see you before they pick up. Which could be an ideal way to bring a smile to someone’s face who might not be expecting a Christmas call from you.

Of course, there are multiple Android apps which will help you say Merry Christmas to those who are elsewhere so use whichever video app service you have at your disposal. Whether it is Duo, Skype, Hangouts, your Android smartphone is a great way to say hello and see someone on Christmas day who otherwise, can’t be there in person.

Wrap Up

So there you have it. While a smartphone is something that is quite personal to the individual, the truth of the matter is that they are quickly becoming far more connected to the world around us. They not only allow us to connect easier and better with other people, but also allow us to do more, to know more and to engage with the ones we love, more. The last year in particular has seen Android grow vastly and now there are so many more ways in which the operating system can be used and especially when it comes to Christmas. On one last note, whichever form of Android you are using this year during Christmas, it is worth downloading Google's Santa Tracker app so you can keep track of how far Santa (and all those presents) is away. Merry Christmas.

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About the Author
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John Anon

Editor-in-Chief
John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]
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