The Christmas season seems to sneak up every year. The big day arrives before you know it, so you should plan ahead as much as possible. Draw up a budget so you don’t overspend, hunt for the best deals to get cheap presents, and schedule all your family visits in the calendar.
What’s the best way to do all of that? One method is to turn to the giant that is Google. It has services and tools that can help you out with all manner of Christmas planning. We’re going to show you how Google Meet, Calendar, Sheets, and other Google services can help you get everything organized for the festive season.
1. Google Meet: Host a Virtual Christmas Party
Google Meet is a video conferencing tool. It’s incredibly easy to get started. Simply send someone a link to the meeting, or an invitation code, and they can join within seconds. While there’s a 60-minute limit for group calls, one-on-one calls can last up to 24 hours.
When it comes to Christmas, the possibilities with Google Meet are endless, especially when you may not be able to travel to see your loved ones. You could organize a virtual Christmas party (Google Meet integrates with Google Calendar, so everyone knows when to join), open presents with friends, or light your Hanukkah menorah with family.
If you’re in a group, you don’t all need to huddle around a computer screen. With Chromecast, you can cast the video call to your TV screen. Or if you have a Nest Hub Max, you can take the call somewhere more comfortable.
2. Google Sheets: Keep Track of Your Finances
The holiday season can get expensive. There can be so much to buy, like presents, food, and travel tickets. If you’re not careful, you could find yourself completely blowing the budget.
Don’t let that happen. Use Google Sheets to create your budget. You can split the costs into categories, automatically calculate totals, and see how much you’re able to spend per day. You can keep it simple, or use advanced Google Sheets formulas.
Another idea is to use Google Sheets as a meal plan. Create a table that lists all the meals, calculate when things will need to go in the oven, color code rows to assign jobs, and so on. Don’t forget, Google Sheets is collaborative, so you can invite friends and family onto the spreadsheet to lend a hand.
Christmas is a time for love and understanding, of course. But for many, it’s also a time to send and receive gifts. Google Shopping can help you discover interesting things to buy and find bargains.
From the Google Shopping homepage, you can explore categories like toys and kitchen appliances, each full of trending products. Alternatively, search for something broad (like “games”) or specific (“PlayStation 5”). Use the dynamic filters on the left to narrow your search, with the ability to specify aspects like return policy, item condition, and price range.
When you find a product that you think would make a perfect present, select it and compare prices across a range of retailers to ensure you get the cheapest price. If you’re not ready to make a decision, save the item to return to later. Just don’t leave it too late!
4. Google Docs: Create a Gift List
For those children who enjoy writing a Christmas list, detailing the endless number of gifts they’d like from Santa that year, why not encourage them to use Google Docs?
Google Docs is a browser-based word processor which has all the functionality kids will need and more. They can write their list, drag and drop images, and play around with the formatting. It’s more interesting than just receiving an Amazon wish list.
Plus, Google Docs is collaborative. You can share a copy of the document with anyone who wants to buy the child a present, and make notes on the document to co-ordinate with each other.
The holiday period is a great time to catch up with friends and family, but it can easily get overwhelming to find a time to slot everyone in. Take some pain away with Google Calendar.
You can easily schedule events, invite guests, and see their attendance status. These events automatically sync across wherever you use Google Calendar, like your desktop and phone, so you’re always in the know.
You can also create tasks on Google Calendar, which are handy reminders for anything you want—time to put up the Christmas tree, send off those presents, or buy the turkey.
6. YouTube Music: Blast the Christmas Tunes
With all the organization out the way, it’s time to party and have a good time. That’s where YouTube Music comes in, Google’s music streaming service. It’s completely free if you don’t mind ads, though you can pay to upgrade and remove them.
Hook YouTube Music up to your smart speaker (it effortlessly links to the Google Nest, for example), choose one of the service’s many Christmas playlists or hunt down your favorite festive album, and turn the volume up.
YouTube Music is also available for Android and iOS, so you can load it up on your phone, plug in your headphones, and zone out if things are getting too hectic. Alternatively, try one of the many free Christmas radio and music apps.
Keep the Kids Entertained This Christmas
Christmas is for the whole family, but children get the most joy out of it. Use all these Google tools and services to help everything go off without a hitch and give them a festive season to remember.
Plus, for when you need a breather from the chaos of the kids, there are plenty of free apps you can download to keep them out of your hair and entertained.
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