Life Hacks, Tech, Now + Beyond

Apps to keep you from losing your mind this holiday season

These apps will keep you entertained while you try to ignore your problematic family members

We’ve all been there: You’re at a holiday dinner or event with family members whose opinions about front page news, feminism, or your personal life are too much to deal with at the moment.  So you open your phone and just start scrolling and scrolling until there’s nothing new left to save you from this agony. Now every fiber of your being, including your thumb, is unoccupied and you have no idea what to do with yourself or how to escape your situation.

Well, for those precise moments, here are 5 apps to keep you occupied.

When you've scrolled until you've got nothing left (in your feed) here are 5 apps that will keep you occupied. Click To Tweet

1. Crossword Puzzle Redstone

[image description: screenshot of crossword puzzle app]
[image description: screenshot of crossword puzzle app]
Crossword puzzles are a great way to keep yourself occupied, especially if you feel like your brain is about to collapse in on itself from neglect. Crossword Puzzle Redstone is totally free and allows you to choose different categories and levels of difficulty. Many major news publications, like the New York Times, The New Yorker and The Atlantic, also have crosswords available online or in app form, though it may require a subscription.

2. Wedding LookBook by The Knot

[image description: screenshot from the Lookbook app showing one wedding dress image being swiped away and another image popping up behind it]
[image description: screenshot from the LookBook app showing one wedding dress image being swiped away and another image popping up behind it]
If your Instagram feed runs out but you still want to mindlessly scroll and look at pretty things, this is your app.

It’s free, the only hurdle is that you have to create an account including your wedding date (Donald Glover and I will be tying the knot in June 2023). If you have a friend who’s far away but equally bored, they can also download the app and open your favorite picks for dresses, rings and veils.

If your Instagram feed runs out but you still want to mindlessly scroll and look at pretty things Click To Tweet

3. Unblock Me

[image description: screenshot from Unblock Me app showing wooden blocks on board]
[image description: screenshot from Unblock Me app showing wooden blocks on board]
This game has been around for as long as I’ve had an iPhone and is one of my go-to downloads when I’m bored out of my mind. It’s a spatial puzzle, and the object is to move blocks around a board so that the red block can get from one end to the other. It’s very simple but surprisingly addictive. Plus, if you have nosy family members peeking at your screen, it’s literally just a bunch of wooden blocks. Nothing to read into or question there.

4. Logic Grid Puzzles

[image description: screenshot of Logic Grid Puzzles app Pizza Pizza game with 6 blank grids for deducing variables]
[image description: screenshot of Logic Grid Puzzles app Pizza Pizza game with 6 blank grids for deducing variables]
Can you tell I’m a puzzle nerd yet? I love Logic Grid Puzzles by Ross McNamara. You get a few pieces of information from which to figure out an entire set of information.

For example, a pizza delivery person is very forgetful and has to figure out who ordered what toppings on what size pizza with only a few links. This app has a bunch of free puzzles, a really clean look and never has any pop-up ads. Plus, if you’re thinking of taking the LSAT, GRE, or another standardized test in the future, logic questions in this same vein are fairly common.

5. Desert Golf

[image description: screenshot from desert golf game showing a ball, an obstacle and a hole with a desert background]
[image description: screenshot from desert golf game showing a ball, an obstacle and a hole with a desert background]
The friend who recommended this game to me called it, “the most absurdly addictive mindless game,” and she was right. All it is is shooting a ball at different angles to try to get it past an obstacle and into a hole. You can make infinite attempts at one hole and there are no real pauses or interruptions built into the game, so you can just keep golfing from appetizers to dessert.

Though there isn’t an app to make time go faster, these are the next best thing next time you’re stuck in a boring or difficult situation with no way out. Happy Holidays!