Two years ago, when I started getting into smart home stuff, I had a small epiphany when I heard a podcaster say they set up their Christmas tree to turn on and off with their iPhone. Until then, I had considered smart plugs completely useless for me, since we use recessed ceiling lights a lot here in Lebanon and rarely have floor or desk lamps. But a Christmas tree and one you can turn on and off without kneeling, ruffling half the tree, and dropping several decorations in order to unplug and replug the lights?! That was a light bulb moment, if ever there was any. The next Christmas, I had my Wink Hub 2 and an Aeotec ZWave smart plug at the pharmacy and I’ll be damned if the tree wasn’t the first thing I connected to that plug. I even set it up to automatically turn on a few minutes before I arrived and off a few minutes after I left. That way the ambiance was always cheerful when I was around.
This year, I have two WeMo plugs at my new home and the first thing that came to my mind was the Christmas tree + Google Home combo. I mean who doesn’t want to turn on and off the holiday mood with a voice command and feel all powerful? Turns out that Google thinks the same and is pushing the Christmas tree command for Google Home on Twitter and through a dedicated support page.
But there’s nothing new or special there. It’s not like the Google Home app will give you a special icon for your smart plug or the Home itself will chirp a special tune when you issue the command. Still, it’s super neat. You can follow the steps in the support page if you have no idea how to do it, but the gist is that you get a smart WiFi plug like the WeMo Mini ($35), TP-Link Smart Plug ($30) or Mini ($35), iDevices switch ($30), iHome Smart Plug ($28), or the Geeni Surge 4-outlet ($40) if you have several lights (or check other partners here). You plug your lights in it first then plug it in, name it to “Christmas Tree” in its app, and then add it under Home Control to your Google Home. Now you can say turn on/off Christmas tree.
Personal tip: I plan on creating a custom room in my Home app named “Christmas.” In that room, I’ll have my LiFX light on a red scene, my WeMo connected to the tree, and a Christmas scene for my Nanoleaf Aurora. That way I can say, “Hey Google, turn on Christmas” and all three will light up together. I haven’t tried it yet, but it should technically work.
Image Credit: The Vanilla Tulip