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When it comes to smart home tech, I’m a late bloomer. It all seemed like more of a hassle than it’s worth.

Then I inherited a pair of first-generation Echo Dots from my dad. After countless heart-to-hearts with my new BFF Alexa, I realized, “Oh, now I get it!”

Since that fateful day, I’ve embraced smart lights, smart plugs, smart doorbells, and more—all of which have made my life easier and more fun. And trust me, if I can figure this stuff out, so can you!

Now that I’m fully converted, with the holidays coming, I started pondering what else a smart home could do. I found a bunch of ways that you can use your smart home speakers, doorbells, and more during this season that will up the sparkle, ease your stress, and wow your guests.

1. Design a light show

While twinkly lights are a hallmark of holiday decor, it’s a huge pain to have to crawl under the tree every morning and night to turn them on or off, or to trudge outside in the cold to light up your lawn display. These annoyances can all be over with a Smart Plug ($24.99).

Turn your holiday lights on and off easily with a smart plug.

(Amazon)

By connecting your holiday lights to a smart plug, installing the app on your phone, and pairing the plug with your smart speaker (Amazon Echo or Google Nest), you can control any decorative lights in your home with a simple voice command.

For example: “Alexa, turn on holiday lights” (full disclosure, I’ve got this going on in my apartment right now).

Take it a step further, and you can schedule a Google or Alexa Routine that will turn your holiday lights on and off at the same time every day.

This can also minimize fire hazards if you forget to turn off your Christmas tree lights before bed or when you leave the house.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, lighting was involved in almost half (45%) of home Christmas tree fires (other hazards include candles or heating equipment placed too close to the tree).

For the even more technically adventurous, it is possible to sync your lights to pulse to the beat of holiday tunes.

This requires a special strand of smart lights, like the LEDs available from Twinkly or Novolink, but the results—well, just imagine your own home disco to Mariah Carey‘s “All I Want for Christmas.” You get the idea!

2. Program your doorbell to sing carols

Got Christmas carolers at your door—or just a visitor who’s pressed your Ring Doorbell ($199.99)? Turns out you can change your chime to sing holiday tunes.

The Ring doorbell can sing Christmas carols.

(Amazon)

To do this, connect your Ring doorbell to your smart speaker, open the Alexa app on your phone, click “Access devices,” and tap your Ring device.

You’ll be presented with doorbell sound options ranging from “Deck the Halls,” to “Jingle Bells,” to “Christmas Elves.” Mine is currently set to “Turkey” (the “Gobble, gobble, gobble” makes me laugh every time).

Then, next Halloween, you can program doorbell sound effects from creepy organ to maniacal laugh. Talk about …….

Source: https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/holiday-tricks-your-smart-home-devices-can-perform/

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