Holidays

How to Pull off the Ultimate Virtual Holiday

Use Home Technology To Keep Extended Family And Friends Safe.

Many U. S. states are experiencing a second or third wave of the pandemic. Families are foregoing their traditional holiday celebrations this year; however, you don’t have to do that. It’s easy to put together a virtual holiday and enjoy the company of others without risking anyone’s’ health. So go ahead and plan your feast, decorate, and use your virtual assistant to do your holiday shopping this year. Here’s a plan that is sure to work. 

Pre-Planning

Let’s start putting things together by planning the best way to celebrate virtually. It helps to have a virtual assistant such as Alexa, Siri, or Google. You’ll want to keep your family safe, so limiting shopping trips is essential. Order your fixings, decorations, gifts, and anything else you need through your virtual assistant, but do it earlier than usual. According to NBC News holiday shopping predictions, shopping trends have changed, and this holiday season will be the busiest on record.

 The virtual assistant makes online shopping easier without the risk of going into crowded stores. HEB stores in Texas offer an online app that you can use with your smart device or virtual assistant to shop for groceries. To make things more convenient, curbside pickup and delivery options are available after you’ve placed your online order. Get this, when ordering, they allot a certain amount of time that you can add to your order just in case you forget something. Walmart and Aldi’s offers similar if not the same services. 

Almost every store has options to order online, and of course, Amazon is going to make gifting more accessible than ever. Many believe that this will become the norm for the future, and last year, even before covid, U.S. online holiday sales surpassed in-store purchases for the first time in history. No doubt with the latest surge of Covid-19 will have an extreme effect on holiday online shopping this year. 

How Using Home Audio And Video Can Create A Festive Holiday. 

A huge part of holiday celebrations can include music and various other types of entertainment. Home technology has become a vital part of this culture, with homes implementing whole-home audio, media rooms, home theaters, virtual assistants, and many other entertainment types. 

Virtual assistants and whole-home audio play a massive role in creating the sounds you want for your holiday celebration. Alexa, Google, Siri, and other virtual assistants can help you pick and choose music requests from across the different genres and from many libraries. Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, and secular can be added to a playlist so that anyone can hear their favorites in a variety of situations. 

Include zoned music to your home automation to play audio for the whole house or home sections such as the living room or patio. Having holiday music in the background with voice-controlled audio adds to the occasion of opening gifts, tree lightings, and even in-home caroling to stream out to family and friends. 

Music seems to come out of nowhere with recessed or hidden speakers and flood your home with the holiday spirit and cheer. Virtual assistants can play your music as well as high-end home automation speakers from companies like Sonos. In warmer climates, you may want to celebrate outside in your yard or on the patio. There are external options for audio there too.

There Is Safety In Streaming.

For most, the holidays are a time for family gatherings; however, the pandemic has put a damper on extended family visits, or has it? Programs and applications like Zoom, Google Meet, and Facebook’s Face Time/Live fill the gap left by people staying put protecting the extended family. The Amazon Echo Show is just one example of smart devices with a camera and lets families see and hear each other while celebrating. 

Set up a live stream from a computer, iPhone, or other smart devices to project to the large screen to get the sense of your loved ones being with you. They can do the same on their end. Set a place for your device at the feast table so everyone can enjoy the meal together. It’s the next best thing to them being there, and everyone is safe from travel risks. 

Share a holiday movie using the Disney + group sharing option. Many other programs enable screen sharing for other movie options. Movie sharing works excellent in an in-home movie theater setting. Grandma and Grandpa, along with other relatives, can join in board games by positioning a streaming device to where they can see the board on their end. All that’s needed is for someone to spin the wheel or throw the die to take their turn. There are tons of online games that allow group set-ups for family groups to play games like UNO and Monopoly together. 

Families can also stream live plays and music for each other. Streaming karaoke fun that everyone can join in live and abroad will be very popular this year. Having a simple get together so everyone can chat or one-on-one conversations also help fill a void from family and friends not being able to visit in person. All possible through home networks and whole-house WiFi. 

Lighting Adds Emphasis To Any Holiday Or Festive Celebration.

Low voltage lighting adds a whole new concept to decorating for a holiday or any celebration. LED lighting and automation bring a unique experience to the effects and ambiance of a home. The latest lighting technology is innovative, to say the least, featuring options to set lighting colors and levels from a simple push of a button or voice command. 

Home automation allows you to program lights to display when and how you want them to. These days, more homes create extravagant exterior holiday displays, choreographed to music, with some tied into the home automation system. The once-popular holiday activity of taking the family for a ride around town to see houses decorated with lights could see a revival this year because of the pandemic, which will hinder or cancel many holiday group events. 

To show your holiday spirit from a distance, decorate a window or your entire home inside and out. You will find that many automated lighting systems are controlled by an iPhone or smart device, providing easy operation. Leave the wreath on the door lit but turn off or program the other exterior lights to shut off at a predetermined time. Special holiday lighting, especially during a pandemic, creates an uplifting spirit for everyone and is a great way to enjoy the holidays yourself.

Use Security To Ensure That Your Holiday Celebration Is Safe. 

Part of the virtual holiday set-up must include security. Alarms systems to protect the home from fire, carbon monoxide, robbery, or weather-related hazards are essential. The crisis that has developed from the pandemic creates multiple opportunities for bad things to happen. 

Integrating security features like smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, motion sensors, automated locks for doors and windows, security cameras, video doorbells, automatic gate/garage door openers, and security cameras are critical to keeping your holiday safe and fun. Home automation systems accommodate all of these security features and make them operable from your smart device or phone. 

The video doorbell is a very nice feature to have during the pandemic. You can see people outside of your home and communicate with them to inform them if you’re receiving guests, without them knowing whether you’re at home or not. You can also give special instructions to delivery drivers or ward off those would-be package thieves from anywhere you have an internet connection. Record from your device or set your video doorbell to record every incident. A complete home security system puts any homeowner’s mind at ease, especially during the holidays. 

2020 will go down in history books as a year that changed the world and show that we survived it largely in part from the technology we used in our homes. Companies like Smarter Homes of Austin ensure that our families continue to thrive by adding innovative, cutting edge technology to weather, even a pandemic. 

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