Well scrabble no more, because for every Christmas tree light, there8217;s a smart home solution waiting to make your life easier. That might be voice controls to turn them on or it might be a schedule to turn them off.
The starting point is a smart plug. It might be fairly dubious for 11 months of the year, but around Christmas, the smart plug is the best thing in your home (aside from pigs in blankets, but they aren8217;t especially smart).
There are lots of plugs on the market, but you8217;ll need one that8217;s compatible with your system of choice. If you8217;ve got Hive, it makes sense to look at the Hive Active plug, if you8217;re an Amazon Echo or Google Home user then the TP-Link HS100 smart plug works well.
For Apple Homekit the Eve Energy is an option.
- See the Hive Active Plug on Amazon UK
- See the TP-Link HS100 on Amazon UK or Amazon US
- See the Eve Energy on Amazon UK or Amazon US
- Best smart plugs: Google, Alexa and smartphone control
After that you8217;ll need something smart to control it. You can use an Android phone with Google Assistant or the Apple iPhone with HomeKit, but using Google Home or Alexa (through the Amazon Echo or other speakers), makes things a lot more fun for the whole family.
With so many options, we8217;re going to tackle the most basic of options. Take your smart plug and connect it to 4-socket extension lead and plug all your Christmas tree lights or other Christmas lights into that extension lead.
All the above smart plugs have a range of options for control, including smartphone control or scheduled control. Thanks to this smart link, you can schedule your lights to come on at a particular time, go off in the evening or you can turn them on without having to physically go and turn anything on or off.
Just follow the instructions that come with the plug and you8217;ll soon be connected. If nothing else, you8217;ll be able to then turn the lights on and off with your phone.
Something like Hive Active Plug can be set to turn on when motion is detected (turn on the Christmas lights when you get home). Eve Energy can be set to use geolocation (turn on the Christmas lights as you8217;re getting home) and TP-Link is fully IFTTT compatible, so the options are endless.
Of course, no one is impressed with a scheduled timer any more: voice control is the new cool and the easiest devices to set this up with are Amazon Echo (or other Echo speakers) or Google Home (via Google Assistant), but iPhone and iPad are pretty simple too.
- Tell Alexa to scan for devices. Make sure your plug is turned on and Alexa will find it (you might have to enable a new Skill).
- Open the Alexa app and locate your plug in the Smart Home section. Change the name to 8220;Christmas lights8221; and save.
- Say 8220;Alexa turn on the Christmas lights8221;.
- Adopt a smug grin and pour yourself some eggnog.
Google Home and Google Assistant on Android devices both offer linked functionality. There8217;s also a Google Assistant app on iPhone that will do the same thing, so there are plenty of options here.
- Open the Home app on your phone.
- Your linked devices will be here, or you can link accounts to get access to those devices.
- Locate your plug, rename it to 8220;Christmas tree lights8221; and save.
- Say 8220;Ok Google, turn on my Christmas tree lights8221;.
- Adopt a smug grin and start munching mince pies.
Google Assistant is smart, because you can also assign that plug to the room it8217;s in. By doing this you can have it turn on or off with the room lights 8211; for example assign it to the living room and when you say 8220;turn off the living room lights8221; all the lights will turn off, room and festive.
- Open the Home app on your iOS device and tap on the + symbol top right of the screen.
- Tap on the Add accessory button.
- Find the 8 digit HomeKit code either on the side of your device or on a card in the box and scan it with your phone.
- Rename your plug to 8220;Christmas lights8221; and save.
- Say 8220;Hey Siri, turn on Christmas Lights8221;.
- Adopt a smug grin and quaff a glass of sherry.
HomeKit has some other advantages, because it will let you cross-control devices within the HomeKit environment. You can, for example, assign a HomeKit plug to a Hue-enabled light switch, so you could control your Christmas lights from Hue Tap, or add other devices to create a Christmas scene, by dimming others lights, closing your blinds, or even lock/unlock your front door.