How to make your Christmas shopping painless

We’re told it’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be a stressful experience when you’re running around making sure that everyone has been bought a present. 

With random shopping trips and endless hours online, Christmas gifting can get needlessly confusing.  With the likes of Evernote, To-doist, Remember the Milk, Wunderlist and aimed at planning your day, there is bound to be an app for planning who's getting what, so we show you the best apps for planning your Christmas shopping, as well as how to get the best deals.

Plan where you want to shop

Rushing around a busy shopping center, mall or high street in a bid to grab all the gifts you need can be stressful and tiring, so before you head out, it’s a good idea to plan what stores you’re going to visit.

If you use the Google Maps app on your smartphone to navigate to shops, a recent feature will check the shop’s closing time and calculate the time it will take you to reach there, and if you’re going to arrive after the shop has shut it will warn you – avoiding a wasted trip!

You can also save a lot of effort and stress by doing your Christmas shopping online. We’ve got a number of guides on the best deals this Christmas, so make sure you check out the following before you buy:

Use apps to plan your purchases

The previously-mentioned Evernote, To-doist, Remember the Milk, Wunderlist and apps and services are great for noting down people you need to buy presents for, and you can keep a track of who you’ve bought for and how much you’ve spent on them in the apps as well. 

This helps make sure you have everyone covered, and are keeping within a budget.

If you want something a bit more Christmas-orientated, the Gift It - Christmas Shopping List & Countdown App! for iOS devices is a good one to use, as it not only lets you write up a shopping list for gifts, but it has a countdown to the big day as well. 

The Santa’s Bag app is another great app that countdowns the days, as well as giving you budgeting tools and gift ideas for your friends and family. 

If you’re on an Android device, then Christmas Gift List is a great app, which allows you to manage your budget, see what gifts you’ve bought people and back up your list using Google Drive, or send your list via Twitter, email and more. 

If you have the Amazon Echo or Amazon Echo Dot then you can use your voice to create a shopping list, which is handy if inspiration strikes you and you’re within yelling distance. Just say “Alexa, add” then the name of the product, then “to my shopping list”. 

You can view your shopping list by asking Alexa to read it out, or by accessing the Alexa app on your smartphone, opening the menu by tapping on the three horizontal lines and selecting ‘Shopping & To-Do Lists’. 

Siri, Cortana and Google Now are also good ways of dictating your Christmas shopping list to your smartphone.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. He’s personally reviewed and used most of the laptops in our best laptops guide - and since joining TechRadar in 2014, he's reviewed over 250 laptops and computing accessories personally.