How to simplify your Christmas décor with smart lights
"Alexa, turn on the Christmas tree."
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The holidays are upon us, and with them comes joy, excitement, sugar, and chaos. Not to mention, lots and lots of lights. And between running from one event to another, managing your holiday shopping list, and ensuring your house is decorated to seasonal perfection, you’re juggling more than your fair share of festive balls in the air. That’s why we recommend simplifying at least one of your many responsibilities by picking up some smart Christmas lights.
If you’ve already tried a Google Assistant, Alexa, or Siri device, you’ve probably discovered the convenience of being able to control your thermostat, light bulbs, or other devices with a single voice command. So why wouldn’t you want to do the same with your Christmas lights?
What are smart Christmas lights?
Smart Christmas lights are, as the name implies, smart home-enabled Christmas lights that work with one or more of the top smart assistants referenced above.
They offer a convenient way to control your decor with either your phone or another smart device with nothing more than your voice. Depending on what you opt for, there are other smart features you can employ, such as automatic scheduling, timers, or geofencing (which turns them on or off when you get home or hit the road respectively).
No more crawling under the tree to plug and unplug the lights or hassling with the logistics when you could be enjoying the shimmer.
When it comes to smart Christmas lights, you've got two options: purchase smart Christmas lights that natively support voice assistants like Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant, or buy a smart plug to turn your years-old holiday lights into ones that can be controlled by voice or the companion app.
The latest in the smart Christmas market
Smart holiday lights have been around for a while, with a variety of brands producing ready-made strands that you can customize and even sync up with your favorite holiday playlist, all from your phone. There are also smart light strips, which you can use to outline your windows and doorways for a dazzling holiday light show display creating your own colors and patterns, or choosing from preset holiday options. A few of our favorites for the occasion include the LIFX Lightstrip Color Zones, Govee’s Wi-Fi RGB LED Strip Lights, and TP-Link Kasa’s Smart Light Strip.
Want to go bigger? There’s even an Alexa-enabled Christmas tree which is already equipped to make your holidays easier, granting you the ability to choose your preferred colors, to set a lighting timer, and to turn your Christmas tree lights on and off all with the included remote or your voice commands.
There are lots of ways to smarten up your holiday display, but you don’t have to splurge on a new tree or a set of lights to make your décor cooperate with your smart home system. If you’ve already got your decorations locked-in (everyone has their traditions) smart plugs offer a brilliantly simple way to smarten up the lights and decorations you’ve used for years.
Smart plugs to the rescue
There are countless smart plugs to choose from, but if you’re going to do it, you’ll want to do it right. That means ensuring you’re purchasing plugs that are compatible with your smart home system of choice.
Setting up your holiday light display outdoors? You'll need a smart plug rated for outdoor use like the dual-outlet Wyze Plug Outdoor that works with Alexa and Google Assistant. Apple HomeKit outdoor plugs are harder to come by, but we like the Lutron Caséta Outdoor Smart Plug for Siri voice control.
Once you’ve purchased the right indoor or outdoor smart plugs for your smart home, download the companion app, plug the device into a socket, and follow the instructions to set it up with your favorite smart assistant.
Indoor and outdoor smart plugs feature scheduling and timer features that can automate your holiday lights, giving you one less thing to think about during one of the busiest times of the year. Some are even compatible with motion sensors that would allow your Christmas lights to turn on every time you or your children enter the room. How magical is that?
More than smart lights
You don’t have to limit your smart home holiday joy to lights alone. You can use smart plugs for any of your holiday décor, from your electric train set and holiday inflatables to your merry, musical Christmas village.
And you don’t even have to be home to turn your lights on. If you want to give the neighborhood a show while you’re out at a holiday party, connect to your smart home devices from your phone over Wi-Fi and turn those lights on bright.
Then get yourself another eggnog and try not to look too smug when you see the party host running around turning all their lights on by hand.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.