Tis the season for holiday cheer. All the holiday planning, coordinating, decorating and entertaining can take some of the enjoyment out of a season that should be full of cheer. In many ways smart-home devices can take a bit of the stress and worry out of the season by doing some of the more mundane, and necessary, work for you. Here are a few ways smart-home devices can make your holidays merry and bright.
Wireless plug-in Smart lamp dimmer
Lutron’s Caseta smart plug lets you dim whatever lights are connected to it, something most smart plugs can’t do. In addition, it comes with a remote control, and can be scheduled to turn on at a given time before sunset. This is helpful as the days get shorter the closer we get to Christmas.
Roku Smart TV
One of our favorite 4K TV’s under $1000, this 65-inch TCL Class 6- Series 4K HDR set from Buydig.com nonetheless delivers a great picture for the price. Plus, Roku’s interface- also our favorite streaming service- is built into this set, so it’s great for cord-cutters, too.
Always on time
The timing of getting dinner on the table in between opening gifts and trying out all the newest gadgets is a tricky one. Plus, you’re making multiple dishes in a single kitchen. That’s when setting reminders and using multiple timers for different foods comes in handy. Google Home Smart Speaker with Google Assistant lets you set multiple, named timers. Ask it to set a potato timer, Yule log timer, or roast timer, and you can find out how much time is left by using the name in your inquiry. When dinner is ready, the Google Home’s broadcast feature lets you use your speakers like an intercom to call everyone to the table.
Ditch the index cards
Google Home takes you step-by-step through recipes from Bon Appetit, Food Network, and The New York Times. Using the Google Assistant app, you can ask to find a baked ham recipe, and it will offer up some options. Make your choice and click “Send to Google Home” if available. Then you can ask your device to start cooking, prompting with “OK, Google, next” when you’re ready to move on. Maybe you’re feeling adventurous and want to make a new dish to serve at your Holiday get-together. The display on the Google Nest Hub with Google Assistant is bright enough to watch videos or read instructions when the device is placed on a kitchen countertop.
Not everyone can make it home for the holidays, but you can give friends and relatives that live far away a call via your smart speaker. Google Home lets you call almost any number in the U.S. and Canada for free.
Part of the magic and misery of the holidays is mingling with relatives you rarely see. Google Home has games, music, and other distractions. Try Google Home’s “crystal ball” or “Mad-Libs” games if things get tense.
Nothing says the holidays like a festive movie with a cheery plot. Whether you want to watch Christmas with the Kranks or the new animated version of The Grinch, use your Google Chromecast Ultra to watch holiday classics on Prime Video.
There’s nothing like a Christmas tree decorated with lights and ornaments to get you and your loved ones in the Christmas spirit. One of the more annoying things about that Christmas tree, however, is having to continuously plug and unplug those beautiful lights when you come home, leave the house, or turn in for the night. A smart plug can turn your regular Christmas tree into a smart tree. It allows you to turn your tree lights on or off with an app or your voice instead.
Google Home can give you updates on Santa’s location. If you want to offer the big guy some assistance, say, “OK Google, call Santa.” If you want him to help with your wish list, say, “OK Google, talk to Santa’s helpline.”
These gadgets can take on your most mundane holiday tasks so you can focus on the fun stuff.