- Easily create and track Christmas lists
- Makes it easy to track spending and budget
- Support multiple gifting groups
- Passcode secures lists from prying eyes
- No way for parents to automatically share lists
- Seems to only allow one year of presents at a time
Creating and tracking Christmas lists used to be a strictly pencil-and-paper affair. Not in the age of the iPhone, though; of course there's an app for that. The Christmas List makes it easy to create lists for everyone you need to buy for and then track your overall spending. Anyone looking to get a handle both on what they buy and how much they spend this holiday season should give it a look.
Lists and Groups and Budgets
You begin using The Christmas List by adding a person to your list. You can just type in a name and assign an icon to it, or select a person from your address book, which adds their first name and, if available, their photo. Then you add the presents you plan to, or are considering, buying them, including the name of the gift, whether you've already bought it or not, where you bought it (you can choose from a built-in list of stores or enter your own), how much it cost, how important it is, and any other notes. You can also snap a picture of the gift, if you want, but I'm not sure I see a lot of usefulness in that.
Once you save the present, you can add others or return to the overview of the list. There you'll see everyone in that group (you can create multiple groups so you can keep the presents you're buying for family separate from those for clients, colleagues, or friends), how many presents are on their list, how many have been bought, the total cost of those presents, and how much you've spent on each person so far.
Needless to say, having a handy overview of everyone on your lists and your total spending is a huge benefit to anyone who's got a lot of people to buy for or who is trying to keep a handle on their holiday spending. As well as getting an overview of each group, you can also get an overview of all the groups together, so you can track your spending by group (probably not a good idea to spend more on clients than family!) and your overall spending.
Sharing and Tracking
Once you've built your lists, you can share them with other people by posting them to Facebook or sending them by email.
The email feature makes sense, but it would be even more useful that if, instead of just being a text email, the email was able to automatically update the contents of another user's app or could be imported into the app. This would be especially helpful for parents who want to keep each other updated on what's been and what still needs to be bought for their kids or for kids who want to create a wishlist of gifts and then send it to their parents (there's nothing worse than getting the similar, but wrong, gift after all!).
The ability to track who on all your lists is getting identical gifts is helpful, especially for those buying gifts for clients of colleagues. If, for instance, you're trying to buy all your co-workers iTunes Gift Cards, this screen allows you to see everyone on all your lists who's getting the same thing and thus let you know if you've left anyone out. The feature is a little hard to find, though (first you have to go to the gift then tap the action box).
To protect your purchases from prying eyes, the app uses the four-digit passcode lock common to iOS devices.
The Bottom Line
There's a lot to like in The Christmas List. It's got a few flaws--it can require a lot of taps to accomplish tasks, it seems to only store one Christmas at a time so you must erase last year's to track this year's, it doesn't support true sharing of data among users--but they're relatively minor. If you're looking for a way to track your Christmas lists and spending, this app is a good choice.
What You Need
An iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 3.2 or higher.