Ah, the holidays. Throughout the year, informed, smart home owners are the masters of 21st century innovation. They’re quick to deploy Alexa and all of her smart gadget extensions to help manage the daily household routines amidst the hectic hustle and bustle of home, kids, and careers. Now, along come the holidays with additional domestic demands and responsibilities. Admired by friends and family alike for their intelligent mastery of 21st century domestic life, many smart home owners will find that their home has now become the central hub. It’s time to think about what smart technology can do in your home for the holidays.
Now instead of dinner for four, it’s Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner for fourteen (or more!) Holiday packages are arriving and departing every day instead of the usual two or three times per week. Christmas trees, gift and holiday card lists, decorative outdoor lighting, holiday music, airport arrivals and pickups, perfect turkeys, succulent hams, batches of cookies, and bringing the magic of Santa to the little ones all add to the long list of home management chores.
From Thanksgiving on through the New Year busy homeowners need some extra “elf help”.
Amazon’s popular Alexa voice assistant can provide all the elf help you need. She’s standing by and ready with her extensive high-tech array of apps, smart gadgets, and networked IoT (Internet of Things) appliances to help you create the most joyful and memorable experiences in your smart home for the holidays.
Now about those holiday dinners. Would you believe a turkey that calls you from the oven when it’s cooked to perfection?
Smart Kitchen Tools in Your Home for the Holidays
The iGrill Mini by Weber
The iGrill Mini blends Bluetooth technology and connects to IOS and Android devices to instantly convert any traditional convection oven into a smart oven. It takes all the guesswork out of cooking meat and alerts you when the turkey, ham, or roast is cooked to perfection. When the correct temperature is detected, you’ll be alerted on your smartphone.
A colorful green to yellow to red LED provides the visual alert for tracking progress right in the kitchen. If you need to run out for last-minute holiday errands, the iGrill app provides a graph relaying temperature information and plotting temperature over time. That way, you’ll know when it’s time to get back to the kitchen and take your perfectly cooked holiday bird or roast out of the oven.
As the iGrill name suggests, the wire temperature probe is perfect for outdoor grilling. However, it’s also thin enough that an oven door can be closed securely for perfectly cooked meats indoors as well. The iGrill Mini is magnetized to stay in place on the stove or grill and the 4-foot probe can handle temperatures up to 572 degrees Fahrenheit. A coin cell battery provides reliable power for 150 hours with a Bluetooth range of 150 feet.
Now that we’ve got the old traditional oven pitching in with the helpful home holiday cuisine preparations, let’s take a look at 4-in-1 smart ways to get all those holiday dishes on the table.
The Amazon 4-in-1 Smart Oven Plus Echo Dot
With the Echo Dot smart hub included, Alexa brings voice control to the Amazon Smart Oven; the convection oven, microwave, air fryer, and food warmer combined in one convenient countertop appliance.
While the iGrill Mini keeps your standard kitchen oven busy roasting the turkey for 14-holiday guests, Alexa can use 30 cooking presets with the 4-in-1 Smart Oven to go from defrost to done. The 4-in-1 Smart Oven can handle all the delectable holiday side dishes and even succulent main courses such as salmon, steaks, and perfectly roasted chicken. If food needs flipping, Alexa will let you know. The Amazon Smart Oven is certified for humans.
With the Smart Oven’s scan-to-cook technology, there’s no need to strain your eyes trying to decipher the tiny cooking directions on select food packages from your favorite stores such as Whole Foods, 365, Marie Callender’s, and Gardein. Simply scan the bar-code with the Alexa app and she’ll take it from there and let you know when it’s time to serve. Guests running late? Just let Alexa know and she’ll keep dinner warm for them in the 4-in-1 Smart Oven until they arrive.
So with Alexa’s able assistance, we’ve made quite a memorable smart home Thanksgiving Dinner, but Christmas is right around the corner and now it’s time for some serious elf help.
A Magical Christmas With Alexa and the Mr. Christmas 7′ Smart Tree
Christmas is Smart Plug Season
If there was ever a season where smart plugs are useful, Christmas is it. The Amazon Smart Plug puts Alexa in charge of any electrical outlet for convenient voice control over any holiday lighting indoors or outside. Playing Santa at 2 am? Let Alexa know and she’ll use a Smart Plug to get the coffeemaker going for you so you’ll be wide awake for toy assembly duty. Plug your favorite traditional Lionel electric train set into a Smart Plug and have Alexa do the conducting around the tree for you to get the kids up on Christmas morning.
With the Alexa app on your smartphone, the Echo Dot, or another Alexa enabled device, you can create holiday routines to turn on outside decorations and lights. You can even light the house if you’re away from your home for the holidays so that it looks like you’re still home with Away Lighting. With any lamp connected to a Smart Plug, just let Alexa know that you’re leaving and she’ll let you know that she’s on duty.
Alexa on Guard in the Smart Home for the Holidays
For even more robust away-from-home security, enable Alexa’s Burglar Deterrent and Guard Dog skills. With Burglar Deterrent enabled, Alexa will scare off potential holiday home intruders by producing the sounds of normal daily activities. These sounds range from a baby crying to kitchen cleaning noises to the boisterous laughter of the family in the living room. With Sonos One Smart Speakers wirelessly connected around the house, every room can be protected. Not to mention the ability to pipe beautiful holiday music to any or every room.
With Guard Dog enabled, the growling, barking, and snarling of a large canine encourages potential intruders to move on to an easier target and forget about the expensive gifts arranged around your smart 7′ Douglas fir Christmas Tree.
Mr. Christmas Alexa Compatible 7′ RGB LED Douglas Fir Tree
The Mr. Christmas Douglas Fir makes it easy to bring the magic of Christmas to your smart home. Any holiday decor can be enhanced with 400 energy-saving LED lights and 13 lighting modes. Choose from red, green, yellow, blue, purple, cyan, white, multi-color, multi-fade, multi-twinkle, multi-sparkle, blue-sparkle or red-sparkle modes.
Save the most dazzling mode of your choice and have Alexa turn it on only on Christmas morning for a memorable “Santa was here” moment. The Mr. Christmas Tree won’t even need one of your holiday smart plugs; just slide the pre-wired, built-in power pole sections together, plug it in any outlet, and use your voice to connect to Alexa.
1,750 flame-retardant branch tips and the majestic 7′ height combine to provide all of the Christmas elegance of a natural Douglas Fir tree without the hassles of extension cords or tricky tree stands. Just let Alexa know, and she’ll take charge of turning the tree on or off to suit your busy holiday schedule.
OK, the tree’s up and sparkling. The kids are nicely worn out and off to bed after a vigorous game of Twister Ultimate, hilariously called out by Alexa. Time for the smart home Mom and Dad to play with….er help Santa get the toys under Mr. Christmas Tree.
Gemmy the Plush Twerking Bluetooth Bear
He talks. He twerks. He dances. And Gemmy always perks right up when he hears you say “Alexa”. Gemmy can even lip-sync to Alexa’s spoken announcements and responds to timers, reminders, and notifications using a paired Echo device. Songs played through Amazon Music will have Gemmy dancing right along.
Vector Robot With Alexa Built In
Vector is the “hang out help out” robotic companion who can chip in some extra “elf help” around the smart home for the holidays by controlling other smart home devices such as thermostats, lights, and smart speakers. It engages with sound, sight, or touch. As a continuously updating Artificial Intelligence platform, he’s always up to speed, learning new skills, and adding the latest features using advanced cloud technology.
While everyone is busy unwrapping presents, Vector can make the rounds and take pictures, time the holiday breakfast, and answer questions. He even recognizes people and avoids obstacles, so it’s easy for Vector to self-navigate around your home and back to his charger when his battery needs a boost. Vector is compatible with IOS and Android and comes with a free setup app.
In 2020, we look forward to continuing the helpfulhome.com mission to keep smart homeowners up to speed on all the latest helpful home trends and technology. We look forward to bringing you news of the latest innovations, including 3rd generation learning thermostats, touchscreen deadbolts, and would you believe…smart plates? Who knows what the wizards of smart home tech will come up with next year, but when they do, you can rely on helpfulhome.com to bring you all the latest and greatest smart home news. In the meantime, have a wonderful helpful home holiday season and a very Happy New Year in 2020.
eero, an Amazon-owned company known for its whole-home WiFi coverage systems, recently announced support for the use of certain Amazon Echo speakers as WiFi extenders. Called "eero Built-in", the support for Echo speakers to extend your eero network is...
From speakers to microwaves with Alexa built-in, there's no shortage of smart home products on the market. While smart home speakers are great for checking the weather or controlling your lights, devices like the Flume 2 Smart Home Water...
Halloween is the perfect time of year for having some fun with your Google Nest and the Google Assistant. You can hear Halloween themed jokes, get help with custome ideas, or create a creepy scene with lights and sounds...
With energy rates on the rise, and growing demand taking a toll on the environment, there's a need for new and innovative ways to help us curb our energy usage. The introduction of smart metering in the early 2000s...