Review: Celebrate the Holidays, the New iPad App from BHG

I had the chance to join Better Homes and Gardens editor-in-chief, Gayle Butler, and production director, Lory Stewart, in a web seminar to learn more about the Celebrate the Holidays new iPad App from Better Homes and Gardens. My conclusion?  I want an iPad.

The $3.99 price tag for the Celebrate the Holidays App is a trifle, given the 19 themed parties featured. Neatly divided into three sections–Autumn, Thanksgiving and Christmas–each party contains a wealth of photographs, recipes, serving ideas, party décor, favors, crafts, as well as personalized touches. Both innovative and time-proven, party themes include a Cozy Sunday Dinner, a Tailgating party, a Casual Potluck Thanksgiving or a Wine and Appetizer Thanksgiving,  an Owl-About-Fun Kid’s Party, a Woodland Thanksgiving, a Christmas Tree Trimming party, a Sledding party, and a Christmas Morning Brunch. I love the Make and Bake party, an afternoon gathering of making homemade gifts.  Some parties feature celebrity chefs, including Tyler Florence  and Michel Nischan. The images shown here are screen shots directly from the App.

We took a visual tour of the App during the seminar, and the phrase “content-rich” was aptly used to describe the 500-plus images and over 140 well-tested recipes, which Ms. Butler promises to be the best BHG has to offer. Visually user-friendly, readers  can see the party at a glance and easily access how-tos with a click. The finest details are considered, such as single leaves in lab beakers for a unique centerpiece, Fall-themed wraps for wine bottles, packaging leftovers for your guests, and even music playlists to set the mood for each party.

I’m especially impressed that a print publication is not only evolving with changing technology, but celebrating the possibilities of this new format and maximizing their own creativity through it.  I asked about the difference in developing the content for an iPad versus a magazine spread, and the thoughtful answer assures me that BHG embraces the “creative challenge” (I believe those were Ms. Butler’s words) of this non-print medium and spent much time determining what would work best for practicality and clarity. BHG has capitalized on the kitchen friendliness, the ease of use, the ability to contain so much information and instructions in a contained, nice, neat place that makes the iPad such an ideal format for party planning. (No, neither BHG nor Apple are paying me to sing praises! But maybe Apple will see this and like to send me an iPad? Kidding, of course. But not really.)

The notion of fostering a community with readers, an inevitable result of making the world smaller through technology, entered the conversation,  and the editors expressed their awe at the huge pool of creativity that exists, well…with all of you. For a magazine that has been printed for almost 100 years to offer so much information in other venues is pretty remarkable. Need ideas right now? Check out the 100 Days of Holidays. There are also plenty of contests and opportunities to share your own work with BHG. Check out the forums and online community HERE. Create a virtual cookie for a chance to win $1000 HERE. The editors specifically noted how impressed they are with the entries to the Fall centerpiece contest (HERE), with a prize of $1000 and appearing in the magazine.

Learn more about the App HERE. And… GIVEAWAYS coming soon!! Very soon. Stay tuned…

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