Holidays can be a tough time for those of us with startup companies. While the rest of the world is carving turkeys, lighting Menorahs and singing carols, we're sneaking moments away from family to check our messages. You've created your vacation responses, forwarded your phone to voice mail and emailed your emergency contacts to clients. But a good business person makes sure services run smoothly, even during the holidays. Twilio may be one company that can help.

Twilio is a web-service API that allows businesses to build their own customizable phones services and communications apps. Hosted on Amazon Web Services, Twilio's infrastructure grows depending on customer demand. The company's per-call pricing model is affordable and after watching CEO Jeff Lawson demo the service, we were surprised to see how user-friendly it truly is. At this week'sSF New Tech Event, Lawson was given 5 minutes to set up a conference call. After 10 lines of code he had a call-in number, mute settings, admin prompts and more than 50 members of the audience calling in during his live demo. After seeing the audience respond to the service, we realized that Twilio would be a great for putting your company on holiday autopilot.

Twilio offers a variety of usages including notifications, phone polls, call forwarding, voice transcription and triaging. If a client needs a reminder during the holidays you can automate a message and pre-program it to call them on a specific date. If you want to remain available in case of an emergency, you can forward a list of pre-determined numbers to your mobile while leaving the rest in voicemail. And if you're looking to create a simple directory, you can use Twilio to create a list of people, options or customer service contacts.

In late September ReadWriteWeb covered Buzzeromatic's latest Twilio-based door application. In this case, users can grant timed building access to visitors by programming the door buzzer with a password. Rather than waiting for deliveries, Twilio ensures that you're warm at home when deliveries arrive to your building entryway.

At this early stage, we know we're just scratching the surface on all of Twilio's capabilities. If you've hacked together a cool application or holiday game plan using Twilio or a similar service, let us know in the comments below.