San Diego CA— Millions of Americans will be hosting family and friends this holiday season. And while we would like to think we will all be “present” and free of devices the whole time, that’s just not the reality of the modern holiday gathering. The key to keeping your houseguests happy? Make them all feel welcome by turning your house into a smart home and finding balance among all the beeps.
- Smart Search Entertainment. There are many options to watch TV and stream content online, and Cox’s Contour TV service brings smart search options, Netflix and YouTube Kids integration, a voice-controlled remote, and cool apps together into one service that is easy to navigate. Speak into the remote to find the programming you or your child want to watch – use a famous movie quote (“To Infinity and Beyond” brings up “Toy Story”), the title of a show, a genre, or the name of an actor. You can even say “free movies” or “holiday movies” and available titles in the On Demand library will pop up.
- Uninterrupted Holiday Music. The holiday stations on Music Choice are primed and ready to be the background to your memories. Whether you’re trimming the tree with the kids, decorating cookies, making care packages for the homeless, wrapping gifts for the grandchildren or even polishing the silver, preparations have never been so joyous as when Bing Crosby croons the classics. More contemporary fare is your jam? Don’t worry! Search for Pentatonix, Jimmy Buffet, or even Jimmy Fallon and the Roots.
- Yule log ambience. It’s sunny and 73 degrees again here in Southern California and there’s no better way to pretend the weather outside is frightful than to bring up the ‘ole yule log on the flat screen. The sight and sound of a crackling fire set against the holiday songs on Music Choice will put your whole family in a North Pole kind of mood.
- Get Everyone Involved. While tech is often viewed as the enemy of quality family time, it can be used to bring people together. For example, by downloading a photo booth app, you can simultaneously create and capture treasured holiday memories of family and friends together. Want to hear family members yelling at each other, but in a good way? Multiplayer games using your smartphone such as “Heads Up,” the popular version of modern-day charades, are also a great way to engage people of all ages. Or host an online gaming tournament with family and friends who live out of town. With a strong internet connection and fast speeds, you can play video games with loved ones no matter where they are in the world.
- Change Up Your Wi-Fi Password. There’s no doubt that guests will arrive with their wireless devices in-hand and ask for your WiFi password. Consider temporarily changing it to a holiday-themed password, such as 7M8SMILKING? Or HAHJXMAS2018! (Have a Holly Jolly Christmas this year!). Not only is this a fun way to help your guests embrace the holidays, but it will inspire you to change it again after the holidays, which is a good security measure.
- Smart Home Tech Will Save You Time, Energy. Between gift shopping and holiday party hopping, you can make your life easier by adopting smart home technologies. Program your lights to turn on and off at certain times each day. Remotely turn the heat and air in your home so you have the perfect temperature with a programmable thermostat. Home security cameras and doorbells can bring piece of mind to families – keeping an eye on loved ones and your home even if you’re not there. The increasingly popular home speaker can even double as a virtual assistant. They can answer questions, turn on lights, play video, share news and weather updates, play music on demand, and help you shop online.
- De-Stress. The holidays, while magical, often come with a healthy portion of stress. Meditation apps have been growing in popularity, and are an easy, portable way to decompress. There are a variety of highly-ranked apps specifically created for adults or kids. When and where you choose to relax is a personal preference and apps offer a variety of offerings, including 5-minute rituals to help fall asleep or start your day.