Happy tech Christmas: deck the halls with smarter sparkle this year

The great home switch-on has begun. Festive firs sparkle in living room windows and Instagram is brimming with wholesome scenes of households rocking around their Christmas trees.

The question now is how to make yours stand out, and the brightest sparks are thinking smart: from Alexa-controlled tea lights to customised tree animations, it’s time to tech the halls with colour-changing boughs of holly and app-controlled reindeer.

Spruce up

Smart bulbs are basic furniture now, so give your tree lights an upgrade too. Lumenplay’s app-controlled bulbs can be programmed to change colour and theme (£62), while Brizled’s LED string lights have a disco mode that pulses to music (£25.99).

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Sync them to your Christmas playlist to really rock around the Christmas tree — you can connect up to five devices so that even great aunt Rosemary can get involved.

Meanwhile, Twinkly’s smart lights integrate with Google Assistant so you can change the settings using your voice, and the devil is in the detail: the app lets you choose between set effects or customising your layout from scratch (£95). Draw a smiley face in the lights or leave a glowing message for your flatmates when they get home.

If you’re feeling really lazy, Twinkly also sells a pre-lit Christmas tree that comes festooned with smart fairy lights (£249.99), while Christmas Tree World offers a six-foot, readymade LED blossom tree for sprucing up the garden (£49.99).

Bright baubles

Syncing your lights to the sounds of Mariah Carey is smart but you can go one better: eBay sells a set of high-tech baubles that double up as mini Bluetooth speakers so your tree can sing you Christmas songs (£12.55).

Pair them with Myer’s new app-controlled baubles, which can be set red or green to signal whether you’ve been naughty or nice — a smart way to keep bae on his or her toes until Christmas Day (£11).

The smart baubles can be set to red or green to signal naughty or nice (Myer)

Top of the world

No tree is complete without a topper so make your star shine bright: Clas Ohlson sells a glowing remote-controlled star (£9.99) while ASOS has a light-up star in millennial pink for Insta-friendly firs (£9).

Or you can mix it up and choose the moon: Hallmark’s tree topper is a Star Wars-inspired death star that lights up red or blue and plays the iconic theme tune The Imperial March — an alternative to carols for sci-fi geeks (£78).

The light-up star in millennial pink is very Insta-friendly (ASOS)

Outside the light box

The greatest smart lights aren’t just for Christmas, you just need to mobilise them to fit your festive needs. All it requires is a bit of creative thinking: Philips Hue’s lighting settings include wintry moods and festive colour patterns (£169.99) while LIFX LED’s strips can be lit up in your chosen colours and twisted into festive bows or wreaths — think of it as a kind of smart tinsel (£24.99).

Meanwhile, Nanoleaf’s Aurora Starter Kit comes with nine wall-mounted panels that can be laid out in the shape of a star — place them behind your tree and set the colours to move in a rotating pattern to create your own animated tree topper (£179.99).

The best part is you can keep them up all year long.

Nanoleaf's Aurora Kit panels can be laid out in the shape of a star for Christmas and changed to something else after the festive season (Nanoleaf)

Al fresc-glow

The festive glow up lives beyond your living room. Create your own outdoor winter wonderland using Selfridges’ icicle lights (£120) and Twinkly’s app-controlled reindeer — set them to animate in sync for a moving, next-gen display of Santa and his reindeer (£174.99).

For a full yuletide scene, Festive Lights sells a glowing igloo (£34.99) and a smart outdoor snowflake projector (£29.99), while JML’s projector beams dazzling stars onto the wall (£19.99).

A smart outdoor snowflake projector (Festive Lights )
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