'Tis the season for shopping, Christmas parties, your kids' holiday recitals, taking photos, videos, and all the other things you have to remember day to day. So naturally you'll be using your smartphone more during the holidays to keep everything straight.

It might not be a bad time to make sure your smartphone's battery is optimized so it doesn't die when you need it most. No matter if you have an iPhone or an Android, here are a few universal tips that will save your battery.

Universal Tips:

  • Turn down the brightness! Yes, you have a beautiful screen, and yes it looks amazing with the brightness cranked all the way up, but that's eating your battery life. Turn the brightness down, and make your phone lock faster to conserve battery.
  • Turn off Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi when you are not using them. These programs still use the battery when they are on yet not being used.
  • Kill background apps. No matter if it's an Android or iPhone, the apps running in the background of your device can act as little battery vampires.
  • Update your software. Often the latest software update will be better optimized and kinder to your battery.

 iPhone Tips:

  • Auto-lock the screen. You can make your iPhone lock and go to sleep when you're not busy playing 'Angry Birds Star Wars'. Set it for a minute or two to conserve the most battery.
  • Location Services! God love Apple, they're trying to be efficient but sometimes all the added wow features actually hurt battery life. A good example is Location Services. They do everything from finding your iPhone, tagging GPS data on your pics, to diagnostic usage and traffic... but do you really need all of that? No. Go in to your Privacy Settings in iOS 6 and turn off any location services you don't need. Traffic, Setting Time Zone, Location-Based iAds... those can go.

Android Tips:

  • Add the Power Control Widget. The Widget allows you to easily turn off accessories that are draining your battery.
  • Use "Battery Use Feature". This shows you what apps are using your battery at that moment and then you can Force Stop any that you don't need.
  • GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth are battery drainers just like on the iPhone. If you're not using them make sure to turn them off.

My calendar and reminders app has already been given a thorough workout and we still have fourteen days until Christmas. Aside from all of these software tips to improve battery life, just remember to keep a charger with you at all times.

It's also worth noting that if your device is a little older, the battery will naturally degrade at a rate of about 10 percent a year. So if your iPhone 4 started out life with a standby time of about 300 hours, you will see that drop to 270 hours after the first year. That's just how lithium-ion battery technology is. And batteries, no matter how good they are, do not last forever.

So follow these easy software tips and keep a charger with you at all times and we'll all make it through the holidays with fully charged devices (and hopefully many inappropriate pics from the company Christmas party)!

(Thanks to eHow and ZDNet)