How to use smart home gadgets for the holidays

The holiday season is often said to be the happiest time of the year – but if you throw parties, you probably know it as the happiest stressful time of the year. Preparing your home, making sure guests are entertained, and the simple act of hosting a large group of people in your home are no easy tasks. Luckily, there are a handful of smart home gadgets that can help you prepare for the big day and ensure things run smoothly when your Christmas party rolls around.

Here’s how to outfit your apartment with smart home devices for the holidays and make your season as stress-free as possible.

Create a festive atmosphere with smart lights

Philips Hue Smart Dimmable LED Smart Light Recipe Kit Lifestyle.

Smart bulbs are arguably the easiest (and cheapest) way to upgrade your home. They’re also perfect 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 transform a room into a cascade of reds and greens, sync the lights to your music, or simply dim them for an elegant dinner, smart lights are a must-have this holiday season.

If you need something affordable, you should pick this up Wyze bulb color. Or you can use those Govee Smart LED Strip Lights when you need something that quickly syncs 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.

Countless major sporting events take place this holiday season – and there’s a good chance some of your guests will want to watch football or basketball. Your built-in TV speakers are probably fine, but if you really want to impress your friends and family, consider opting for a soundbar.

These come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and price tags, and may require a bit of tinkering to get them to work properly with your setup. However, they are more than worth the effort as they turn your family room into a true home theater with pounding bass and room-filling sound. Many of them can also connect to Spotify, so you can play some tunes when no one is looking at the big screen.

Check out our best soundbar round-up 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 him questions (e.g. check the weather or your calendar), but you can also play music without taking up much space. This makes them great for the kitchen (you can also set timers so you don’t forget to check the food in the oven while entertaining guests) so you and your family can enjoy a good meal with some happy music in the background. They’re also useful as a central hub for your smart home, allowing you to control connected devices with your voice or directly from a smartphone app.

You can’t go wrong with the base echo pointalthough you’ll find plenty of other options on our list of the best smart speakers.

Automate your cleaning with a vacuum cleaner robot

iRobot's Roomba J7 robot vacuums near a Christmas tree.
i robot

Who has time to vacuum during the busy holidays? Reclaim a few minutes of your day with a robot vacuum that can be quickly programmed to clean entire areas of your home with no manual input required. Many of the high-end robot vacuums on the market even let you set boundaries or “no-go” zones if there’s something delicate in your home that you don’t want to clean. Some can even double as a mop – while others are able to automatically empty their bin.

Better yet, robot vacuums make it easy to clean up any mess that might happen during your party. They’re also a fun novelty, and any guests who’ve never seen one will likely be impressed with their functionality.

Our list of the best robot vacuums gives you plenty of options, including the premium version 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 also pack a ton of features that will serve you well during the holiday season. Depending on your specific choice, this could include the ability to remotely lock or unlock the door via a smartphone app, verify that your door has been left unlocked, or set up temporary passwords for guests.

A smart lock may not be necessary if you’re only hosting people for a few hours, but if your extended family is staying with you for a week, it’s worth the investment. Not only are you giving your visitors the ability to enter your home without the need for a spare key, but being able to check in and make sure no door has been left open should give you peace of mind when you’re out.

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

Save energy with smart sockets

A smart plug that controls a lamp.

Smart outlets are a great way to cut energy bills this winter as they allow you to control your outlets remotely. They’re perfect for indoor Christmas lights, as many of them can be set on a timer to turn them on and off at specific times – saving you the hassle of running around unplugging 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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