Now that December is here, it’s time to climb into the attic and pull down the dusty boxes of decorations that haven’t been touched since last year. While assembling and decorating the Christmas tree is a tried-and-true tradition, it can take a lot of time—and with the holidays becoming more and more hectic with each year, time is limited. 

Smart home devices can help you decorate your home for the holidays in brand-new ways that not only reduce the amount of dust you need to breathe in each year, but give you more control than ever before over your holiday decorations. Here are a few ideas.

Invest In a Smart Christmas Tree

Artificial trees have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their longevity and the reduced risk of fire (not to mention the lower cost.) But you still have to string lights around an artificial tree—unless, of course, the lights are built-in. 

The Mr. Christmas Alexa-compatible tree is just one example. This tree works with Alexa, which lets you set schedules, turn the tree on and off, and even choose the color of the lights with just a few words. There is also a controller to turn the power on and off if your internet is down.

The benefit of a smart tree is that you don’t have to string it each year, but you can also change the color of the lights at will. There are 13 different light settings, including white and multicolor. You can even set the lights to twinkle. 

The Mr. Christmas tree is available for $250 on Amazon, but if that sounds a bit steep, there are other ways smart home tech can help streamline the decorating process.

Use Smart Christmas Lights To Make Your Tree The Talk Of The Town

A lot of smart lights could be used as Christmas lights, but then there are some that go above and beyond what you might expect from smart lights. 

One of the best of these varieties is Twinkly, a set of smart lights that can be controlled and customized entirely from your phone. All you do is string the lights around your Christmas tree like normal and then take a picture using the app. It identifies each of the LEDs and gives you total control over them.

Once you do this, you can choose from a huge list of lights, animations, colors, and effects to make your Christmas tree your own. They’re compatible with Google Assistant too, so you can control them with just your voice. 

Best of all, Twinkly lights can be used year-round. Just change their colors to reflect the time of year and you have perfect seasonal décor. 

Use Amazon Alexa Or Google Home To Sync Your Christmas Music Across Multiple Devices At Once

Nothing says the holidays like the sound of old, familiar Christmas carols echoing through the halls—but you don’t need a huge speaker system to create that effect. By syncing smart speakers like the Amazon Echo or the Nest Mini, you can play the same songs simultaneously from all of the devices.

You can also do this with certain smart speakers that are compatible with either of the two systems. The exact methods vary between them, but usually involve setting up “speaker groups.” Once you have done this and chosen the song you want to play, you will hear cheerful music playing from every speaker at once. 

Let a Smart Display Walk You Through Complicated Holiday Recipes

Smart home tech is convenient, but one of the greatest uses to date is the ability to work through a recipe without actually touching anything. This is perfect for those complicated formulas when you need to know what to do next but your hands are too covered in batter to do anything with. 

Both the Nest Hub and the Amazon Echo Show can find recipes, read them to you, and display step-by-step instructions on how to cook them.

When you’re in the midst of cooking for your famous holiday party, all you need to do is glance at the screen and see the step you’re on. When you’re ready, just ask Google or Alexa to move on to the next step. Turn your smart assistants into your own little army of cooking elves to make sure everything turns out great.

Control Your Outdoor Light Displays With Smart Plugs

Sure, there are outdoor smart lights that can be used to create schedules and stunning light displays, but you probably already have years’ worth of decorations. Those have sentimental value, after all—you don’t want to get rid of them. The good news is that you don’t have to. Outdoor smart plugs are weather-resistant and can take the place of finicky timers to power your lights on at the right time every day.

These plugs are easy to control from your phone or through in-app schedules. If the day is a bit dreary and cold and you want to turn your lights on early, it’s simple: just tap a button and you’re good to go. 

Smart plugs can also be controlled via Google Home or Amazon Alexa. Just name the plug something specific (like “Festivities”) and say, “Hey Google, turn on Festivities” and watch as your lights come to life. 

Smart home devices make all aspects of life more convenient, even the holidays. No one likes messing with power timers that only work half the time. Thanks to smart home tech, you don’t have to—and if you’re prone to huge light displays, the LEDs that dominate the smart home market might actually cut back on your energy bill this holiday season.