The Top 5 Innovative Designs & Apps for the Holidays Editors

'Tis the season to be savvy. Here's a round-up of Big Thinkers' favorite tech ideas for simplifying - and beautifying - your holiday. 

1. Leave your wallet behind. Swipe your mobile phone instead. Perhaps we'll remember 2011 fondly as the year the credit card died. In January, Big Thinker (and tech entrepreneur) James Currier reported that Biometrics had gone mainstream -- and that your leather wallet would soon be replaced by a digital one. Google Wallet was released the following May. Square now makes it easy for individuals or small businesses to accept credit card payments. And Barcode scanning apps like RedLaser allow anyone to scan an item and compare prices in-store or online. 

2. Shop without dropping... "When looking at design as a utilitarian problem-solving tool, the smartest solutions are often the simplest ones," says Big Thinker Maria Popova. "That's certainly the case with Tube Grip – a compact inflatable grip-assistant designed to alleviate the pressure heavy shopping bags place on hands by applying basic physics with a bit of everyday ingenuity." Click here for the original post.


3. ...Or make all your presents. "While Americans rush en masse to Wal-Mart and other retail outlets... why not just make presents for your loved ones at home?" ask Big Thinkers Parag & Ayesha Khanna. They estimate that in five years you'll be able to manufacture gifts like toys, bowls, and lamps in the comfort of your living room using a 3D printer. (Until then, your crafty friends and co-workers will have to settle for soup mix or a jar of infused vodka.)

4. Send invitations, seasons greetings, and thank you notes electronically. Click to read Big Thinker Tobin Hacks' Case for Paperless Thank You Cards. Then head over to Paperless Post to create yours for free. 

5. Just add snow. Big Thinker Dominic Basulto's favorite free holiday app, Ogilvy's White Xmas, "lets you live the dream of festive winter snowfall wherever you are. Syncing with your Iphone camera, this smart little app works by adding a gently-falling veil of snow to anything you view. Just click the button and look... it's snowing. Like Bing Crosby, but smaller and easier to control."


Now, let the season begin! Happy Holidays from Big Think!

Image courtesy of Shutter stock

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