Windows 8.1 apps and services

10 Best Windows 8.1 apps you should be using this Christmas

In the spirit of the holidays, I thought on sharing a list with the 10 best apps for Windows 8.1 that everyone should be using this Christmas. In the list you’ll find apps that already come built in the updated version of the operating system, but many people don’t even know about them, and others that were deep buried in the Windows Store and they will help you to get the most fun out of Christmas.

Enjoy!

Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 apps for Christmas

NORAD: First up is the best Santa tracking system in the world. NORAD Tracks Santa app is a collaboration between Microsoft and NORAD (Northern American Aerospace Defence Command), which brings not only the best way to track Santa in its journey around world on Christmas, but also packs games, trivia, music, and countdown to Christmas.

Burning Fireplace: If you want to get the full experience of Christmas, you have to have a fireplace, but if you don’t, you should definitely download Burning Fireplace apps for Windows 8. This is a really simple app, which as you may already figure out is simply a very well done looping video of a fireplace.

Greeting Christmas and New Year: In this I also mention the Mail app for Windows 8.1 to send a message this holiday season to your love ones, but if you want to go one step further, you should try the Greeting Christmas and New Year app. This is a simple app to create Christmas and New Year greetings digital cards from templates, really easy to use. If you don’t know what to say, don’t worry this app also packs a number of pre-written text you can send.

Christmas Food: The fourth pick is the Christmas Food app from iFood.tv, which features thousands of cooking recipes videos for the holidays. In this app you’ll find recipes for Christmas desserts such as Panettone, American Christmas Sweet Bread, Spicy Apple Gingerbread, and many more. Also you’ll learn how to make really tasty Christmas beverages like the popular Eggnog, Spiced Apple Cider, and Hot Chocolate Mix. The Christmas Food app may not have the best design per se, but it is packed with many interesting food and drink recipes for the holiday.

Cocktail Flow: I talked about Cocktail Flow before and I am mentioning this year as well, because this Windows 8.1 app is perhaps the best app to discover and prepare drinks for any occasion. Cocktail Flow is free and well designed, you can even save drink recipes and you can also tell the app what ingredients you have in your cabinet and it can tell you all the drinks you can make.

Food & Drink: This is an app from the Microsoft’s Bing apps collection. It’s extremely well designed and it brings to Windows 8.1 one-stop-shop for food and drink recipes for any occasion, including Christmas. You can easily find recipes by browsing or doing a search, you can save recipes, you can add your own recipes, you can create shopping lists, and you also have meal planner. Do you want to find only recipes for Christmas? Simply do a search for “Christmas” and that’s it. The most interesting feature about this app is that you can control it hands-free, just use hands gestures to navigate through each drink or food recipe.

Mail: The new version of Mail app designed exclusively for Windows 8.1 can help you organize all of your email accounts from any service. It provides quick views of messages from favorite people, flagged messages, folders, and if you use an Outlook.com account you’ll also be able easily sort newsletters and social updates.

Mail also brings quick access to command to get the work done fast, you have drag & drop support, and Sweep feature get rid of all junk mail.

The email client also comes bundled with the new Calendar and People apps, which are powerful apps to organize your schedule and people.

So for these reasons and more it is our first choice of must have apps for Christmas, because this app can really help you get in touch with family and friends in a really easy to use experience.

Facebook: Perhaps the most ubiquitous method of communication today is using Facebook to connect with friends and family and even though there are many apps in the Windows Store to use the social network, recently the official Facebook app was released for Windows 8.1. The app features the same familiar user-experience found the web version of the social network, so you already know how to share updates and photos, but you also get live tile update, notifications, Snap view, and chat. All without ads, just the occasional sponsored posts.

Skype: If you have family or friends far away, the best way to get in touch this holiday season is by using the popular video chat service from Microsoft, Skype. Not only you can easily connect with people you love, but Skype offers the best experience connecting with other people. You can snap calls alongside other apps, you can also chat, send files and photos with a single click, and best of all, chances are the person you want to talk to probably already have and knows how to use Skype.

Here is a good deal, if you want to do a group video chat calls, Microsoft is currently offering 12 months free on group calls, screen sharing, live support, and without ads on a promotional offer called “Skype Collaboration Project”.

Xbox Music: Of course Christmas isn’t complete without good music and that’s when the Xbox Music app comes in handy, with this app not only you can listen millions of songs for free (with occasional ads), but you can also easily create and import playlists, you can create your own radio station with Christmas favorite songs. And one interesting feature about Xbox Music is that if you are on a Christmas web page, for example, using the modern version of IE 11, you can use the W +H keyboard shortcut and clicking or tapping Xbox Music to generate a playlist of the content from that page — Neat, right?

If you want to get access to all the feature Xbox Music has to offer, you can buy a yearly subscription pass from Amazon.

All the apps featured in this list today are available in the Windows Store and they all run on any Windows 8.1 PC, including Surface tablets, and other ARM-based devices.

Do you have a favorite Christmas app? Please, tell us in the comments below, other may enjoy them too.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows expert and the Editor-in-Chief who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He is also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 12 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows, software, and related technologies, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me.