Christmas Day is almost here, but there is still time to make sure your day goes perfectly - well, certainly if gadgets are involved.
Screwdriver and batteries
If you've bought the kids a menagerie of electronic toys they will all most certainly come with message "Batteries not included". No problem, make sure you stock up on AAA and AA batteries and most importantly a screwdriver to get the battery compartment off the gadget in question.
Save some money in the long-term by investing in a rechargeable battery collection. Doing so will help you ensure you're always well stocked and fully charged too. Perfect for a family Christmas full of battery powered toys. The AmazonBasics range will stop you breaking the bank too - meaning more money for Christmas gifts.
Perform essential tech updates
If you are giving a tablet or a games console as a gift it's probably worth checking if it needs an update.
Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles need an initial firmware patch when sparking up for the first time. If you've bought a game like Red Dead Redemption 2 to go with it, then it's worth bearing in mind that these games not only take ages to install but often require updates too. Doing this before the day will win you more brownie points!
It's not just the consoles that you should try to sneakily update before you give it to that all-important special person. If you've bought a new smartphone or tablet it will need updating too to make sure it is on the latest software version.
It's worth doing because it means you will get all the latest features and will ensure less faffing when it's all unwrapped and unboxed!
Get some smart help in the kitchen
You've got the roasties to cook, the turkey to worry about, and that's before you start trying to time all the other elements to the mega Christmas lunch you are planning.
A quick tip is that instead of relying on a single wind-up timer you've probably got in your kitchen, use multiple alarms on your phone to go off when certain bits of the meal are ready. If you want to get really carried away, you could even opt for different tunes to play when different parts of the meal are ready.
Alternatively, if you have an Amazon Echo or Google Home device, you can do the same with those smart speakers to ensure everything goes smoothly.
- What is Alexa and what can Amazon Echo do?
- What are Google Home, Home Max, and Home Mini and what can they do?
Voice assistants are also a great way to get some help with recipes and meal prep too. These smart speakers give you step-by-step instructions at the right time - keeping your hands free to do other things.
Set up a Wi-Fi code for your guests
Christmas is all about visitors, and some of those might be coming to your house. If they are coming to your house, you might want to set up a guest Wi-Fi network so they don't have access to any files on your network, but also because they are bound to ask you for the Wi-Fi login so they can check their Facebook, Twitter, and anything else for that matter.
It's fairly easy to do if you haven’t done it already, and the setup process will be different depending on the router you have. Check the manual or the help pages for your router on the internet to see what's what.
Once you've done that, the next step is to let them know about the Wi-Fi network. A sticky note in the living room or by the front door ought to do it.
Get free Christmas and New Year's Eve playlist
Go to Spotify (if you haven't got it already) and sign up for a Premium account. By doing so you'll get 30 days free on your phone to try out the service - don't worry, you can cancel it after Christmas when everyone has gone home.
By having Spotify on your phone you can then plug it into your amp, or a speaker dock to play the music.
Search for the word Christmas in Spotify and create your playlist. Michael Bublé never sounded so good.
Set the mood with some smart lighting
If you've already invested in some smart lighting, then you have the option to set up a variety of colourful scenes to set the Christmas mood and make your home that little bit more festive.
Philips Hue lights have some scenes specially designed for this time of year. These transition through a variety of festive colours, lighting your room in beautiful ways and setting a brilliant mood.
Make your Christmas tree lighting smart and safe
There are a few bits of smart tech that you can combine to make it easy to control your Christmas tree lighting this year.
The addition of a smart plug to your setup allows you to not only remotely control your tree lights, but also set a power schedule so you never accidentally leave your lights on overnight or when you're out of the house.
Combine with Google Home, Siri or Amazon Echo devices and you can even control your tree with your voice as well.