For centuries, Christmas lights have illuminated our annual festivities. The strings of single-color lights or multicolor blinking or still lights (or both) are indeed an eye-candy.
The first string of Christmas lights was put together by Thomas Edison's friend and Illumination Company partner Edward H. Johnson. It was made up of 80 red, blue, and white light bulbs, which Johnson hand-wired and wrapped around his Christmas tree.
With different smart features available at home, being able to schedule the Christmas lights to automatically turn on and off would be a great help. According to How to Geek, here's how to set up and control your Christmas lights in your smart home.
Get Smart Plugs
Using Christmas lights in a smart home does not require specific bulbs. In fact, you may still reuse the old ones you have been using for years. Instead of buying new smart outdoor lighting, get a smart plug instead. This small gadget is simple to use, just insert it into a wall outlet, then plug the lights into it.
When you turn on the smart plug on, it switches on everything that is connected to it. Turn it off and power will be cut, pretty much similar to a light switch. However, not all smart plugs are the same. You may try out Wyze for indoor and iClever for the outdoors. For scheduling both indoor and outdoor lights, then we suggest using iClever, so you will just use one app. Nevertheless, they both work well, affordable and are compatible with Google and Alexa.
Create a Schedule with Alexa or Google Assitant
Scheduling with Google Assistant and Alexa is called "routines," which are basic "if-then" programs. For instance, a Nest can be set as: "if it's 6 p.m., then turn on the Christmas lights."
While creating routines for both assistants are relatively simple, the apps usually change as well as the routines. For Google Assistant, setting a schedule would mean creating a voice command such as "turn on Christmas."
Scheduling Christmas lights using an app
The easiest way to create a simple routine is to use your smart plug's app like those for Wyze (Wyze app) or iClever (Smart Life app). Then, insert the smart plug into the outlet and pair the plug with the app one at a time. When using multiple plugs, give name for each smart plugs and add them to the Christmas group. We advise to use a name specific to where you are using the plug or create a group for much easier control.
After pairing and setting up everything, connect the lights and create a schedule (or rules for Wyze, and automations for Smart Life app). You must create at least two schedules, one to turn on the lights and another for turning them off. However, you may always create multiple rules for controlling specific lights.
Add smart speakers
You may also add smart speakers in your Christmas ensemble. You may even mix Echo Dot (with Alexa) and Nest Mini (with Google Assistant) and use only one app with one set of controls for both devices.
Pick the background music
Once the lights and speakers are set up, you can now add music with Alexa or Google Assistant. You may choose to add on your regular schedule or just play music indoors. You may also pair it an Echo Button to turn on your outdoor lights, so you could give your neighbors a simple Christmas show.
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Written by CJ Robles