This Christmas malarkey is pretty relentless. The older you get, the faster the 350-odd days before you dig out the Christmas decorations and put up the tree seem to go. Before you know it, what was 12-months of respite feels more like just a couple of months. There’s a week or two of summer, a tiny glimpse of autumn and just a fleeting whiff of spring, before, in your Radio Times television schedule, there it is again – Elf!
Christmas movies, whether you love them or loathe them, will probably always exist. For as long as this planet remains habitable there will be Home Alone; there will be Miracle on 34th Street; and God help us all, there will be Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Jingle all the Way.
So, escape from Ground Hog Day, both literal and metaphorical, is clearly not possible; but at least you can watch Christmas movies in an entirely different way. Welcome everybody, to the smart house, and the gadgets that can transform even the offensively bad Santa with Muscles (starring Hulk Hogan) into a rollicking good time.
1. Summon up a nice warm drink
One of the simplest joys of Christmas, and in fact winter as a whole, has to be a hot, comforting drink after escaping the cold. The TopBrewer will brew your favourite coffee or hot chocolate with a touch of your smartphone. A finger touch keyboard can even be built into your table top to save you the ardour of reaching into your pocket and grabbing your phone, so there’ll be no arguing about who’s turn it is to make the drinks.
2. Give me popcorn!
Ever wanted to make popcorn in your very own home simply by shouting “make me some damn popcorn”? Well now you can. Using Amazon Alexa and Echo, you can make popcorn with your voice alone, as long as you prep the popcorn machine first of course. And here’s how:
3. Load up Netflix with the heft of your buttocks
The smart sofa (number 15 on this geek den guide) is not a dab hand at University Challenge kind of smart, but is smart in the way that, once you’ve sat down, you’ll be treated like a king. At this time it’s still very much in the concept stage, but once fully realised, this unassuming sofa will recognise the heft of your buttocks and load up your Netflix account for you. It’ll carry on playing from were you left off and even pause whatever you’re watching while you jump up to grab yourself some mulled wine. Jingle all the way!
4. Answer the door without moving
There are few things worse than settling down for a Christmas film, only for someone to have the audacity to knock on your front door. Thankfully, to spare you the ignominy of having to get up, this new smart lock has been designed that lets you see who is at the door, talk to the visitors through your smartphone, and remotely unlock the door without getting up.
5. Set the mood with lighting and temperature control
Compared to these new fangled innovations, remote lighting and temperature control can almost be considered old hat. But no self respecting technophile could claim to live in a smart house without this absolute staple. For an added bonus at Christmas time you can also control all of your Christmas lights, so you can switch the Christmas tree light on too or have them all come on automatically when it gets dark and then switch off at bed time. So, dim the lights, nudge the temperature control up just a little, and enjoy that Christmas classic in complete comfort.