Must-have Apps: Away from Family for the Holidays

From the smell of cookies baking in the oven to the sound of holiday songs drifting throughout the house, the holidays are a sensory experience for all.

For those who can’t make it home this year, smartphones can help them recreate the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of home. A recent survey from Verizon Wireless, in partnership with KRC Research, found that 86 percent of people feel closer to their friends and families because of their smartphones, even if they don’t get the chance to see them in person over the holidays. Below are some top app picks to help keep holiday traditions alive, no matter how far away one is.

SIGHTS – Whether it is the classic “White Christmas” or the modern-day hit “Elf,” many families have a go-to movie during the holiday season. While everyone may not be in the same place, families can still arrange a day and time to download the movie to their mobile devices with Amazon Instant Video and watch the movie together and then video chat afterwards.

SOUNDS –The sounds of sleigh bells and holiday tunes bring the magic of the season home. For those who find themselves with no one to sing holiday carols with this year, the musicXmatch app, now with microphone integration for iPhone, lets users sing along with their favorite artists and provides the lyrics too!

SMELLS – One of those most distinctive smells of holiday season is that of the balsam, Fraser, spruce or pine trees decorating the home. For many away from home for the first time, keeping the tree fresh might prove to be a challenge. Using reminder apps such as Timeful or, users can set reminders to water the tree so that they keep it green throughout the season. These apps are also helpful at setting reminders for upcoming parties and making sure everyone’s name gets crossed off the holiday shopping list.

TASTES – From Rugelach to gingerbread men, holiday cookies fresh out of the oven are a trademark of celebrations this time of year. 58 percent of those people surveyed by Verizon Wireless and KRC Research also stated that they are likely to download a video for a recipe or decorating tip. Newbie bakers can watch videos on Joy of Baking or download the Betty Crocker Cookbook app to recreate the tastes of home even when they can’t be there. 

Away from home for the holidays? Tell us how you plan to use your mobile devices to celebrate and keep traditions alive at @VZWnews or @VZWchuck.

Data usage applies for app download and use.

This is part of the Verizon Wireless “Must-have Apps” series, which provides insights into the apps that people use every day to embrace the mobile lifestyle.