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The holiday season is just around the corner, so now’s a great time to start thinking about your indoor and outdoor decorations. Smart home devices make our lives easier in so many ways, and incorporating them into your holiday decor will have you saying HO HO HO!
Here are six ways you can automate your Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa with smart devices.
1. Set a Holiday Scene with Smart Bulbs
Philips Hue is one of the biggest names in the smart lights game. And if you have the Hue Bridge, you can link all your Philips Hue smart bulbs and trigger a festive holiday scene using the Hue Scene Gallery!
Here’s how to create it:
- Open the Philips Hue app.
- Choose the room you want to set the scene in.
- Select My Scenes > Hue Scene Gallery.
- Choose your favorite festive lighting combination.
Not sure which to choose? Try one of these:
- Winter Wonderland
- Red & Gold Glow
2. Sync Philips Hue Bulbs to Spotify
Hosting a holiday party this year? One of the best ways to impress your guests is by syncing Philips Hue smart bulbs to react to your favorite Christmas music or holiday tunes.
To do this, all you need is:
- Color-capable Philips Hue smart bulbs
- A Philips Hue Bridge
- A Spotify account
- Any Bluetooth audio device
Once you have everything you need, follow the steps below:
- Open the Philips Hue app and tap the settings icon.
- Select “Entertainment Areas.”
- Choose the room you want to use, then select all the lights you want to use to create your Entertainment Area.
- Select the “Sync” tab at the bottom of the screen.
- Follow the on-screen steps to link your Spotify account.
- Select your Entertainment Area under “Where” and customize your color settings.
- Tap “Start Sync” and play your music.
Want to take it a step further? You can also use Hue Sync to match your lights to your TV screen while you watch The Polar Express!
3. Elf on a Roomba
You’ve heard of Elf on a Shelf; now get ready for Elf on a Roomba!
Halloween isn’t the only time you can make your Roomba a little more festive. Remind your children that Santa’s helpers are watching by mounting your Elf on top of your vacuum cleaner.
Add some red or green felt underneath or a little garland on top for some extra pizazz. Your kids will be on their best behavior whenever Elf on a Roomba waltzes into the room!
The best part? It’ll work double-time as a holiday decoration and a vacuum cleaner. The Roomba is safe for any surface, from laminate to carpeting.
4. Make Christmas Shopping Easy with Voice Commands
You’re washing dishes in the kitchen when all of a sudden, inspiration strikes. Don’t let those perfect gift ideas drift out of your mind — have Alexa or Google Assistant keep track of them for you!
If you have Google Assistant, you can say, “Hey Google, start a holiday shopping list.” Whenever you want to add something, just shout, “Hey Google, add (gift idea) to my holiday shopping list.” You’ll see all the items you’ve added to your list in the Google Home app.
And if you have Alexa, you can say, “Alexa, add (gift idea) to my shopping list” or “Alexa, add (gift idea) to my shopping cart.” You can check your shopping list on the Alexa app, or add them all to your Amazon cart and hit “Purchase” when you’re ready.
Worried your kids will take advantage of Alexa Voice Purchasing? Don’t want to ruin the surprise when Alexa announces shipments and deliveries? Turn both options off in the Alexa app.
5. Use your Smart Doorbell to Record Carolers
Christmas caroling is somewhat of a lost art — but if you’re fortunate enough to see carolers on your doorstep this year, resist the urge to record a video on your phone. Enjoy the moment and let your smart doorbell handle it!
With a Blink or Ring subscription, your smart doorbell will automatically record when it detects motion. But if you want to capture more than the default 30 seconds, start a manual recording.
If you have a Ring Protect Plan, your camera will record while Live View is open. If you keep Live View open in the Ring app, you can look back and save the footage to your phone by checking the Event History.
Just keep in mind that Live View automatically closes after 10 minutes.
If you have a Blink Doorbell and a Blink subscription plan, you can record footage from your camera following the steps below:
- Open the Blink app and select your doorbell’s Live View.
- Tap the video icon in the lower left corner.
- Once you’re done recording, go back to the home screen and select “Clips.”
- Find the clip you just recorded and press the share icon to save it to your device.
Energy Saving Tips for Christmas
While nothing screams holiday cheer like an elaborate outdoor lighting display or the twinkle of Christmas tree lights in the living room, this decor can come with a hefty price tag.
Reduce the financial burden of the holiday season using the energy-saving tips below.
6. Use Smart Plugs to Power Your Decor
Smart plugs are an economical way to power anything in your home — even holiday lights and decorations!
Smart plugs can:
- Turn devices on or off according to a schedule
- Connect to Wi-Fi so you can turn them off remotely
- Pair with voice assistants
Once you’ve set up your lights and plugs, you can control them from an app on your phone, through a smart speaker, or pre-program a schedule.
Kasa even offers a smart plug strip that can individually control up to six devices.
7. Baby, It’s Cold Outside! Save on Heating Costs with a Smart Thermostat
It seems like if you’re not constantly keeping an eye on your thermostat, your energy bills skyrocket in the winter.
Whether you’re planning to travel during the holidays or just want to cut back on energy costs in general, a smart thermostat is a fantastic option.
Two of our favorite brands are Nest and ecobee. Both connect to Wi-Fi, allowing you to easily set temperature schedules and control the temperature in your home from anywhere.
The ecobee Smart Thermostat is compatible with Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit, while the Nest Learning Thermostat is compatible with Google Home and Alexa.