There is no need to control the holiday decor lights and yard decor with the traditional mechanical timers anymore. You can get more precise control of your holiday lights with Smart Plugins and lights. If you have an Alexa-enabled speaker, like Amazon Echo or Echo Dot speakers, you no longer need to switch on your Christmas decor lights every evening. Yes, Alexa can do it for you every day and can even help you save energy by turning it off automatically every evening.
If you are wondering how it can happen, let us go through the steps to automate your Christmas lighting to save tons of time and energy every day.
What Do You Need to Automate Christmas Lights
You must be already equipped with a bunch of smart home accessories if you already have an Alexa speaker. But for the Christmas lighting specifically, you might need to get a bunch of other accessories which are quite cheaper anyway.
First off, you should make sure you have an Amazon Alexa enabled speaker, that is an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show or so. Through this is how we are going to automate your home Christmas lightings.
Now is the time to grab some Alexa-supported lights, bulbs, and wall sockets. These can connect to the Alexa over WiFi and your smart home speaker can control them by the scheduled time automatically. If you have absolutely no idea about what kind of accessories or lights you should get to automate this year’s Christmas here are a few of them.
- Amazon Echo / Echo Dot Speaker
- Color Changing Globe String Lights
- RGB LED String Lights
- Indoor Smart Plugs
- Mr. Christmas – Smart Christmas Tree
- Outdoor String Lights
- Outdoor Smart Plugs
While you can connect the smart string lights and bulbs directly to the Alexa app, your old lights also need a bit of automation. That is why we have the smart plugs on the list. You need to connect the plug into the Alexa app and can control the plug through it. You know the drill, simply plug in your old, non-smart Christmas light into this plug and they turn smart too. Check out our guide to connect smart lights to Alexa in case you are confused.
Wherever you have connected your smart light bulbs for Christmas, you should make sure you have enough WiFi coverage in those areas. In case you don’t, it is high time to upgrade your home WiFi to mesh WiFi routers.
Well, if you are the first time setting up the smart home controls at your home you may need a few items, to begin with. You may need a smart home speaker, which can be Alexa Speaker, Google Speaker, or Apple HomePod Mini.
Now you can have the string lights that can be controlled with Alexa without any additional smart plugs.
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Alternatively, you can use any conventional string light or decor light as per your choice and use a smart plug to control all of them.
Automatically Turn On Indoor Christmas Lights Using Alexa
The indoor lights can be smart lamps or smart plugs that can be controlled with the Alexa app. Since you may have a bunch of Christmas tree lights and holiday decorations to light up, it is good to have a couple of smart plugs to control all of them. We have listed the Merross wall socket here since this supports all three platforms including Alexa, Google Home, and Apple Homekit.
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Once you set all your lights in their positions, you can head to the Alexa app on your phone and start to set the automation. Following is the step-by-step guide to enable automation for all your smart home lights for this year’s Christmas.
Open the Amazon Alexa app on your phone and go to the More tab from the bottom.
Select Routines from the screen.
Tap the “+” button at the top-right corner to create a new routine on Alexa. Routines are the automation commands for Alexa through which your lights will be turned on every day automatically.
Select the “Enter Routine Name” option and set a name.
For example, I gave this routine the name “Christmas Lights On.”
Tap “Next” and then select the “When this happens” option.
Choose “Schedule” from the next screen.
You will see three options on the screen. To avoid confusion, we can set the Christmas lights to enable during sunset. So, choose Sunset on the screen.
You can even set offset time to trigger the actions a few minutes before or after the sunset. Choose a location, and select repeating days, then tap Next.
Now that you have set the basics for the routine, you can add the actions to take place when it is sunset at your place. For that, select the “Add action” option from the following screen.
Select Smart Home from the next screen.
You can now choose individual devices like smart bulbs, string lights, and individual plugs. Or else, you can select any control group if you created a group exclusively for your Christmas lightings.
Select your devices and tap Next.
Check the option “Power” and set it to “On” from the next screen. If your smart bulbs and string lights support color-changing or brightness controls, you can set them too. Now, tap Next.
Once you are done, you will be taken back to the Edit Routine screen. In case you want to add more actions or light triggering, tap the “Add action” option and keep adding as much smart devices as you want.
If you want to play some Christmas music when the sun goes down, tap Add action > Music & Podcasts > enter “Christmas Songs” > Next. Once done, your Echo speaker will play Christmas music apart from turning on your Christmas lightings every evening.
Automatically Control Outdoor Christmas Lights with Alexa
You might want to turn off your outdoor Christmas lighting by midnight to follow your neighborhood Christmas etiquette. By setting Alexa to turn off your lights automatically, you no longer have to wake up at midnight to do it yourself unless you want to use mechanical timers.
The outdoor timers must be weatherproof and capable to work in extreme temperature variations. We select this IP44 weatherproof plug to work on all the smart platforms.
- Ideal for Outdoor Use: IP44 weatherproof housing and sockets cover which help prevent rain from...
Alternatively, we can go with the Etekcity outdoor Wifi plug that comes with energy monitoring and support with Alexa & Google Asssiatnt.
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Before you begin to set up Alexa to turn off your outdoor Christmas lights, make sure you have a smart outdoor plug connected to the lights. These plugs need to connect to the Alexa over WiFi to schedule and automatically turn off the Christmas lights. Get one of these now and you are ready to go.
Once you connect your outdoor Christmas lighting to the smart outdoor plugs, you are ready to go. Since you saw how you can create a routine on Amazon Alexa, I am not going to go deep into the details. Anyway, let’s see how to automatically turn off Christmas lights by sunrise every day.
To create a routine for Alexa, go to the More tab from the Amazon Alexa App, tap on Routines and select the “+” button at the top.
Now, select the “Enter Routine Name” option and give it a name like “Christmas Lights Off.”
Tap “Next” and then select the “When this happens” option.
Select Schedule and then Sunrise options from the next screens.
Once you set repeating data and offset timings, tap Next.
Now, tap the “Add Action” option.
Select “Smart Home” and then choose your smart lights.
Select “Power” and set it to “Off” then tap Next.
That’s it. You can set each light bulb or smart plug to turn off in the same routine so that they go off automatically by sunrise. You will be saving a lot of energy every day by automating the Christmas lights.
Automate Your Christmas Lights Without Smart Home Devices
When you have an Alexa or Google Assistant-enabled speaker, it gets easier to set automation for your household lights including the Christmas decor ones. In case you are not into smart home setups and smart speakers, there are quite a few tricks you could use to automate your Christmas lights by night.
The best method could be to use the power outlets with mechanical timers. No programming and no WiFi involved. You can simply turn the dial in these outlets to set duration and the switch will turn off after the time limit. Most of the outlet timers let you set up to 24 hours so that you can set to turn on or off the lights by setting any duration of time.
You can also look for digital programmable timer outlets which also do the same thing. The only difference is you get to set the timer using the given buttons and digital display.
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Automating the Chritsmas lightings with smart speakers and timer outlets come in handy especially when you go out for a couple of days but still want the lights to go on and off on time. Hope you now have a clearer idea about automating your Christmas lights for this year.