How to use smart home gadgets for the holidays

The holiday season is often called the most wonderful time of the year — but if you’re hosting any parties, you probably know it as the most stressful time of the year. Getting your house prepared, ensuring guests will be entertained, and the simple act of hosting a large group of people in your home aren’t easy tasks. Thankfully, there are a handful of smart home gadgets that can help you prepare for the big day and ensure things run smoothly when your holiday party rolls around.

Here’s how to deck out your pad with smart home gadgets for the holidays and ensure your season is as stress-free as possible.

Create a festive ambiance with smart lights

Philips Hue Smart Dimmable LED Smart Light Recipe Kit lifestyle.

Smart lights are arguably the easiest (and cheapest) way to upgrade your home. They’re also a perfect fit for the holidays, as many of them give you access to thousands of colors that can be used to cultivate some holiday cheer. Whether you want to turn one room into a cascade of reds and greens, sync the lights to your music, or simply dim them for a sophisticated dinner, smart lights are a must-have this holiday season.

If you need something affordable, consider picking it up Wyze Bulb Color. Or, you can use the Govee Smart LED Strip Lights if you need something that’ll quickly sync with your music. You can also check out our collection of the best smart lights for the holidays.

Bring the big game to life with a soundbar

Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Plus with Ambeo Sub in front of a TV.
Sennheiser

There are tons of big sporting events taking place this holiday season — and there’s a good chance some of your guests will want to tune in to watch some football or basketball. Your built-in TV speakers are probably fine, but if you really want to impress your friends and family, consider springing for a soundbar.

These come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and price tags, and they may require a bit of tinkering to get working properly with your setup. They’re more than worth the effort, however, as they’ll turn your family room into a bonafide home theater with thumping bass and room-filling sound. Many of them can also connect to Spotify, allowing you to play some tunes when no one is watching the big screen.

Check out our best soundbar roundup for a list of great products available now.

Get an assistant with a smart speaker

The Sonos One smart speaker on a countertop.

A good smart speaker is worth its weight in gold. Not only can you ask it questions (such as checking the weather or your calendar), but it can also play music without taking up much space. This makes them a great fit for the kitchen (you can also have them set timers so you don’t forget to check food cooking in the oven while you’re entertaining guests), letting you and your family enjoy a nice meal with some jolly background music. They’re also useful as a central hub for your smart home, allowing you to control connected gadgets with your voice or directly through a smartphone app.

You can’t go wrong with the basics Echo Dotalthough you’ll find plenty of other choices on our best smart speaker list.

Automate your cleaning with a robot vacuum

iRobot's Roomba J7 robot vacuum cleaning near a Christmas tree.
iRobot

Who has time to vacuum during the busy holidays? Gain back a few minutes of your day with a robot vacuum, which can be quickly programmed to clean entire sections of your home without requiring any manual input. Many of the high-end robot vacuums on the market will even let you set up boundaries or “no-go” zones if there’s anything sensitive in your home that you don’t want to clean. Some can even double as a mop — while others are capable of automatically emptying their dustbin.

Better yet, robot vacuums make it easy to clean up any messes that might happen during your party. They’re also a fun novelty, and any guests who haven’t seen one before will likely be impressed by its functionality.

Our best robot vacuum list gives you plenty of options, including the premium one iRobot Roomba s9+ (9550).

Upgrade your front door with a smart lock

Person using a smart lock on a front door.

Not only do most smart locks look better than their traditional counterparts, but they offer a ton of functionality that’ll serve you well during the holidays. Depending on your specific choice, this could include the ability to remotely lock or unlock the door via a smartphone app, check if your door was left open, or set up temporary passwords for guests.

A smart lock might not be necessary if you’re just hosting people for a few hours, but if you have extended family staying with you for a week, they’re worth the investment. Not only will they give your visitors a way to access your home without needing a spare key, but the ability to check in and make sure a door wasn’t left open should give you peace of mind when you’re away.

If you need some help finding the right product, be sure to check out our roundup of the best smart locks.

Save energy with smart plugs

A smart plug controlling a lamp.

Smart plugs are a great way to cut costs on your energy bills this winter, as they give you remote control of your electrical outlets. They’re a perfect fit for indoor holiday lights, as many of them can be set on a timer to turn on and off at specific times — saving you the hassle of running around unplugging everything at the end of the day. They can also help you monitor your energy use and even give you tips on how to save a few extra bucks.

Most smart plugs are surprisingly affordable, including many of the options on our best smart plugs list.

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