10 Last-Minute Apps for the Holidays (and Beyond)

DENVER ((MainStreet) -- The holidays seem to start earlier every year. Yet, you've managed to make it to the week of Christmas without adequate holiday shopping and planning completed. No problem. Let these mobile apps help you turn Christmas chaos into an efficient last-minute experience. Bonus: These apps aren't just for the holiday season, but extend year round to procrastinators everywhere.

Send a real card

Skip the store and create your own holiday card on your phone using the Sincerely Ink app. Choose a theme, upload or pick an image, type a message and submit. It costs $1.99 and you'll need to register with the service. The company prints, stamps and ships within 2 to 5 days. Run out of time? Send a digital card using A Card for That app.

Get it here: Sincerely Ink for iOS and Android ($1.99) or A Card for That for iOS and Android (Free).

Find the right words

When "Merry Christmas" won't suffice but you don't know what to write, the Sweet Card Messages app offers plenty of suggestions, such as, "This Christmas, here's wishing your lights come on the first time. Have a light-hearted Christmas." Cheesy, yes, but you're certain to find something appropriate. It also extends beyond the holidays with suggestions for belated thank-you's, new driver's license and even well wishes for those in rehab.

Get it here: MyAppCatalog ($1.99)

Mail it

Skip the lines at the post office and have them come to you. The United States Postal Service's app offers next-day pickup. You'll have to weigh the package and tell the mail person where you left it, but the nice thing is you don't even have to be present. While the app is available for Android and Blackberry users, the next-day pickup feature is iPhone only.

Get it here: USPS (Free).

Give an eGift card

Send friends a gift card to their favorite store within minutes by heading to that store's mobile app, if available. The gift shows up in their inbox or mobile phone. Target ( TGT), Starbucks ( SBUX), Nordstrom ( JWN) and others all offer eGift cards on their apps.

Get it here: Gift Card Mall for iOS or Tango Card for Android or Swagg for both operating systems.

Give cash

Who doesn't like cash, especially when PayPal makes it so easy. Send it from your phone to an email address or mobile number. Recipients can request a check or move funds to their own bank account.

Get it here: PayPal . For Android and iOS (free).

Snipe that auction - Last-minute shoppers on eBay ( EBAY) will benefit from a sniping app that bids in the last seconds of an auction to snatch away the item from other top bidders.

Get it here: MyBidder Sniper (for Android) or Last Minute Bid for iOS.

Book a hotel

Surprise guest coming for the holiday? Or maybe you're the surprise guest needing a last-minute hotel. Sure, you could call a hotel. But you can save time, maybe even a few bucks, and quickly find your options by using Hotel Tonight. Its launch last year has since prompted Priceline and Orbitz to enter the "tonight-only" deals fray with their own apps.

Get it here: Hotel Tonight. For Android and iOS (free).

Find a babysitter

When you're out of town and want a night on the town without the kids, Care.com offers last-minute, local baby sitters, complete with background checks and parent reviews. To use it, however, you'll need to be a premium member, which starts at $35 a month.

Get it here: Care.com. For iOS only (free).

Go to the Doctor

If you need a doctor stat, ZocDoc takes your location, health insurance and medical condition and searches for available openings that day. So far, the New York company has launched in 12 major cities, where you can schedule an appointment and read patient reviews right on the app. With investors like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, this app is committed to spreading fast.

Get it here: ZocDoc. For Android and iOS (free).

Make a dinner reservation

OpenTable, in general, is a quick way to see what time you can nab a dinner reservation at a favorite restaurant. Its app lets you reserve a spot as you're walking around the neighborhood.

Get it here: OpenTable. For Android and iOS (free).

Tamara Chuang is an outside contributor to TheStreet. Her opinions are her own.

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