While Thanksgiving is put to bed for another year, the holiday season proper is only just getting started. What better than the best home automation tips for gifts and holiday decorating?
The run-up to Christmas is the ideal time to invite friends and family into your glimmering smart home. Whether you’re relaxing, partying, or you just want to show off your 65-inch TV, how can you make things even better?
Well, putting that tech to work can make your life easier and give you more time to focus on playing host. Automation can also help you ramp up security and helps you to head away on vacation without worrying about your home being broken into and your precious smart devices stolen.
We’ll launch straight in now and give you a brief overview of how to make that tech sing and dance for you, almost literally in some cases!
Home Automation Tips
Our core focus today centers on the twin pillars of the quintessential smart home: convenience and security.
You can layer up products to make your home much safer and less prone to a security breach, but since it’s the holiday season, we’ll be layering on more on the convenience angle of automation.
1) Protecting Your Incoming Holiday Packages With a Video Doorbell Camera
While most burglaries take place in summer, that’s no reason to get complacent over the looming holiday season.
Property crime, mercifully, continues to fall to all-time lows but there’s something about Christmas you can’t ignore…
With so many households now ordering gifts online – here at Smart Home, most of us do the bulk of our gift shopping online – those incoming packages make potentially easy pickings for the opportunist thief.
Unless that is, you invest in a video doorbell camera.
Now, this type of device only acts as the first line of defense – we’ll look directly below at how you can ramp things up further – but it’s a highly effective starting point.
Obviously, the average thief is highly aware of exactly what smart home devices look like. They’ll be only too familiar with a video doorbell and what you do think is likely to happen if they spot a package at the same time they clap eyes on the all-seeing eye of a doorbell camera? Runoff in search of easier pickings!
There’s also the added bonus that you can liaise with couriers remotely to avoid the package being dumped somewhere risky in the first place while remaining in full control of your smart home’s entrance wherever you happen to be.
2) Ramp Up Security In General With a Full Home Security System
If you want to prevent break-ins over the holiday season and throughout the year, a video doorbell won’t do you much good. There’s simply no substitute for a comprehensive home security system.
Smart security cameras come in at a range of price-points suitable for pretty much any budget. Thanks to the Internet of Things and improved cellular coverage, it’s now quite possible to install fully wireless cameras with no need whatsoever for a landline.
Whether you want a full package with professional monitoring – ideal and super-convenient for many homeowners – if you’re renting or simply dislike being locked into contracts, you can go it alone while still keeping your smart home and its contents fully safeguarded.
Build things out further with floodlight cameras
Here’s an analog tip to sit neatly alongside all that digital automation…
Why not pop a security sign in your garden? Make it absolutely apparent to any intruder that they’ll be caught on camera long before they gain access to your home and that the police will be alerted to their unwanted presence. As much as we love tech, it’s a smart move to mix in some more traditional methods.
3) Enhance Your Entry System With Smart Locks
With your smart home fully secured for the holiday season, it’s time to think about home automation for the sake of convenience.
Smart locks simply replace one form of a lock with another, often slotting over your existing deadbolt so security is surprisingly not the main purpose of these slick devices.
The primary purpose of smart locks is to make your life easier so how about adding to that with a dose of fun when party time comes around?
August Smart Lock allows you to assign temporary virtual codes. Rather than spending your party running back and forth from the front door to the den, why not send out entry codes with your invites and allow guests to let themselves in instead? If that sounds like too much hassle, you could always grant them access in-app as they arrive.
Either way, stay in the thick of the action and let the tech do the work for you. This is exactly what the best smart home should do… automate processes that are otherwise tedious.
And the best thing? Once the hangover from the party has vanished, your smart lock will still be in place.
4) Automate Your Festive Lighting
If you’ve got some lighting out in the garden, why not consider some weatherproofed on/off modules so you can avoid the need for manual control?
You can apply this same principle to your lights and decorations indoors so you’ve got all that lighting covered and you can automate it sidestepping any need for manual input besides setting it up in the first place.
5) Use Smart Lighting For Your Party
Once the party has started, you can get a little more creative on the lighting front.
You can use smart strips and feature framing from the Philips Hue range along with the classic ambiance lighting so you can set the mood for your party without needing to lift a finger. Use If This, Then That to create lighting recipes to suit and take advantage of colored bulbs to inject some fun into the proceedings.
Imagination is your only limitation when it comes to automating your lights over the holiday season so what are you waiting for? Get started and see what other ideas you can come up with!
As an aside, you can automate your smart lighting so your home looks well lived-in when you’re taking a well-deserved break in the Bahamas. Take full remote control in-app on your cell phone or program routines so you can leave your phone in the hotel room and disconnect for a while. Either way, you can sleep easily knowing your house won’t be pitch black every night and an open invitation to any opportunist thief.
6) Consider a Hub If You Need One To Maximize Automation Over The Holidays and Into 2019
A general pointer as we hit the midpoint of these 12 home automation tips for the holidays…
Perhaps the key and the cornerstone to automating your smart home devices and getting them all to communicate harmoniously regardless of protocol is a solid smart home hub.
If you haven’t already invested in one, the holiday season is the perfect excuse to put that to rights.
Whether you roll with Samsung’s classic SmartThings hub, a Wink gateway or even a smart speaker, enter 2019 strong with the foundation of a fully automated home in place.
7) Use Automation To Help In The Kitchen
The holiday season is all about great food with the ones you love surrounding you.
Smart displays like the mighty Google Home Hub are the ideal tool for checking out recipes and being led through instructions step-by-step to simplify cooking no end. You can even get recommendations on the home screen if you’re stuck for inspiration and the time is ticking before your guests start arriving. With smart technology, these suggestions are seasonal and you can save them into your own personal cookbook using voice commands.
8) Take Smart Cooking Even Further
With the basics in place to help you prep your food hands-free even if you’re not the greatest or most experienced cook, you can smarten things up further by treating yourself to the Traeger Timberline 1300.
This smart pellet grill lets you access a vast database of recipes and afford you remote control of the temperature and timers so you can stay connected to your guests while also remaining connected to cooking duties even if you’re not in the kitchen.
Smart scales and precision WiFi cookers can also take a great deal of the sting out of those tedious jobs so you can spend more time relaxing and less fussing over ingredients.
As we edge toward 2019, these automated helpers are only set to increase in scope and by 2020, you might even have some form of robotic assistant to roll out as the ultimate party piece.
9) Create The Mood for Dinner
Now, with all the food in place, you can use automation to set the scene for the perfect mealtime…
If everyone is scattered around the house, simply mute the TVs and music in-app so you can make yourself heard and let everyone know it’s time to chow down.
Create a dining room scene so the lights are tailored accordingly and your holiday playlist kicks in.
With a smart thermostat in place, the temperature is dialed in without you needing to constantly fiddle with a manual alternative.
All that remains is to crack open the wine and enjoy all that lip-smacking food with your nearest and dearest.
10) Smarten Up Your Home Theater To Enhance Holiday Viewing
Automation can come fully to the fore for your seasonal entertainment. The home theater is the ideal forum for tech giants to really push the boundaries of seamless, effortless viewing.
Whether you’re wowing guests with your sleek new projector or 65-inch TV, ensuring that your soundbar provides fully immersive audio to bring any movie fully to life or you prefer in-wall speakers for a subtler approach, make your home theater the centerpiece of your smart home. Ensure this is one space where you don’t need to lift a finger, and you can kick back fully with friends and family.
In terms of general TV, take full advantage of affordable streaming devices like Apple TV, Roku, or Fire TV so you can once again let that technology do all the hard yards for you while you watch the latest series that’s got you hooked.
The sky really is the limit in terms of automation in this arena, so let your imagination run wild and buy whatever your budget will stretch to.
11) Take Advantage of Festive Playlists
Music is a staple year-round but all the more so when the holiday season is in full swing.
You can harness the full strength of your smart speakers and your favorite streaming services to take charge of party music with voice control. Even if you need to shout commands across a crowded and noisy room, Alexa is getting better than ever at picking up those instructions. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, enable the Christmas skill and ask your virtual butler to play those festive tunes.
You can keep things simple as well by allowing guests to play DJ. Just let them connect to your soundbar or Bluetooth speaker using their smartphone and you can allow everyone to play a part in automation.
Whichever way you choose to play it, the days of hustling back and forth to change records or swap CDs is dying the same death as non-smart homes as we push toward 2019.
12) Skip The Cleaning Up With a Robot Vacuum
Once the last guests have gone, what are you left with?
A trashed smart home if the festivities have been more boisterous than you expected!
If you’re feeling slightly tender but need order restored, the very last thing you’ll feel like doing is grabbing the vacuum and giving the house a thorough blitz but you don’t need to…
Automate your cleaning with a robot vacuum and you can enjoy breakfast in bed and ease into the last few days before hitting the office while the robot vac does all the tedious work for you.
We hope you’ve found some real gems in this guide to home automation for the holiday season and on into 2019.
Come back soon as we have some great tips and advice coming up on smartening up your vacation home, smart homes for the elderly, and whether Samsung has lost the digital assistant battle along with much, much more. For more tips smartening up your home visit our home automation blog.