Tis the season for holiday parties and all through the house … you are scrambling, trying to get your home ready to welcome your friends and relatives. In a picture-perfect world, entertaining would go off without a hitch; the food would be delicious and ready at exactly the right moment. The Christmas music playlist would bring joyful tears to everyone’s eyes and your nieces and nephews wouldn’t fight or fuss. In the real world, this is usually not how things go.
Fortunately, home automation can help you get as close to perfection as possible, or at the very least help you keep your sanity when things go awry. Here are a few ways smart home technologies can help you set the mood, stay safe and, most importantly, have fun at your next holiday get-together.
Remotely Control Your Holiday Decorations
Your outdoor holiday lighting and decorations are the first thing your guests will see when they arrive, and home automation can help you achieve a safe, eye-catching light display that will undoubtedly wow the neighborhood. You can easily integrate holiday lighting controls into an existing home automation system, or purchase stand-alone products like Lumen app-enabled LED strands. Lumen lights can be programmed to sync with your families’ favorite holiday music, and let you remotely control the color, pattern and brightness of your lights and decorations from your smart phone.
For a simpler approach, you can decrease your electricity bill and improve home safety by using smart timers that sense nightfall and turn on lights automatically at night or remote controls that allow you to turn all of your decorations off with the touch of a button.
Set the Mood with Festive Lighting and Music
Even if you opt out of decorating the outside of your home, you can still use creative indoor lighting and music to help set the tone for a jolly holiday party. Automating indoor lighting allows you to dim lights from your smart phone or tablet, or even change the color and direction of your interior lights to accentuate your favorite song or Christmas movie.
With an automated stereo system, you can use your smart phone as a remote, changing the volume and sound quality, and even adjusting the position of your speakers for the best sound experience, no matter what room of the house you’re hosting the party in.
Protect Your Guests with Smart Home Security
Most modern home security systems can be seamlessly integrated with automation hubs, and can help you make sure your home, family and friends stay safe long after the last party guest has departed. Automating your security allows you to select which features you want to disable, or kick into high gear, while you’re having guests. Monitor who has entered and left the home in case elderly parents or small children will be visiting, lock certain doors and windows for safety or security, and even select what level of access guests have to your home by using assigned key codes.
For a stand-alone option, try installing an affordable Bluetooth smart lock that lets you enter your home without using a key. This can be a life-saver when you are preparing for your holiday party and carrying in groceries or presents. Plus, many models feature a tamper alarm that deters burglars in case of an attempted home invasion.
Let Home Automation be Your Personal Chef
Cooking food and desserts for your guests is often one of the most time-consuming parts of preparing for a holiday celebration, but new advancements in automated appliances and nifty gadgets like the Amazon Echo can help you make restaurant-quality food for guests without the headache. The Echo, for instance, hosts a handy virtual helper named Alexa that can help you make a grocery list, find and follow recipes, convert quarts into cups and even order items you need for your party via your Amazon Prime account. It can also act as a timer, so you don’t burn the fruit cake, remind you to pick up Uncle George from the airport when you’re done washing the dishes, and give you directions.
For those looking to ramp up their gourmet game, there are also a number of high-quality smart stoves and fridges on the market that can not only assist you finding the right recipe, but also stream video to help you perfect your technique, or just entertain you while you cook.
Keep Guests Comfy and Cozy
Smart thermostats like Nest and Ecobee make controlling the temperature of your home effortless, and are compatible with most mainstream HVAC systems, and can be easily installed. These products allow you to remotely monitor the temperature of your home from you smart phone, and learn your preferences to reduce energy costs and keep you and your guests comfortable at all times.
You can also connect your smart stove, fireplace, or heated flooring to your home automation system to compensate for temperature fluctuations due to your guests frequently entering and exiting the home.
While holiday festivities are filled loads of fun and laughter, the stress of organizing and executing the perfect party can also sometimes leave you feeling overwhelmed. Thankfully, adding these simple home automation technologies to your home can help alleviate some of the burden of being a host, and make sure your family stays safe and sound this season.
Note: This is a guest post; the views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Redfin.