Stay Connected This Christmas With Smart Home Technology

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Christmas is our favourite time of year at John Ross Smart Living. From cooking a crowd-pleasing festive feast to silly party games under the Christmas lights, yuletide is made brighter and better with technology. And thanks to smart home tech there are countless ways you can connect with loved ones over Christmas — regardless of what country you’re celebrating in.

Better than a Christmas card, technology lets you see and hear loved ones at a time when it’s hard to be apart. So, whether you’re celebrating from afar or inviting everyone to yours, this post shares the smart tech that’ll bring everyone together.

Christmas jumpers at the ready!

Skype Christmas Dinner

Host a virtual Christmas Dinner for family who can’t make it over Skype or Zoom. As long as you have a rock-solid internet connection and a laptop or phone, no one needs to miss out on the magic of Christmas. Sing carols, share a meal, unwrap presents together and watch their faces light up in real time. 

Cyber charades

Missing the kids this Christmas? Digital versions of traditional party games or online Christmas quizzes will bring the festive fun. Divide into teams, get overly competitive, bicker when Dad inevitably starts cheating…it’ll feel like they never left home!

We recommend Heads Up! By Ellen DeGeneres for a fun twist on classic charades.

Take the office party online

Remote workers don’t have to skip the work night out. Arrange an online office party to celebrate your team and help everyone unwind after working hard all year. Sip a glass of something fizzy, play the Virtual Squid Game, and get to know the silly side of your co-workers — all without changing out of your jogging bottoms.

Christmas date night with Netflix

In a long-distance relationship? Don’t feel lonely this Christmas. Teleparty lets you watch films and TV shows in sync — and it’s completely free. Choose a date, pick your film, and set up the snack bowls to get ready for a cosy virtual night-in with your favourite person. It might not be the same as cuddling up on the sofa under the Christmas lights but it beats being alone.

Virtual festive bake-off

Keeping in touch with friends at Christmas has never been easier — or more fun. Set up FaceTime and ask Alexa for some recipe ideas to get the party started. You could try making cocktails together or test your culinary skills with a virtual bake along. The gingerbread house may lack structural integrity but you’ll come away feeling full of festive cheer.

Cosy up with the family on Christmas Eve

Is it possible that Christmas Eve is better than Christmas Day? Everyone who can make it is home for the holidays, anticipation for Santa’s arrival is high, and the whole family curls up together to watch a festive film. Maybe you pick a new tradition every year or watch an old favourite, either way it’s a magical moment. Smart technology can add extra sparkle by transforming your living room into a home cinema. Smart speakers and atmospheric lighting can only add to the magical ambiance of the night before Christmas.

How to stay connected at Christmas

Slow internet can quickly sour the mood from merry to miserable. All the above activities will put your home broadband through its paces so make sure you avail yourself of our speedy internet tips to keep festive spirits high.

1.    Set up a guest Wi-Fi

Whether it’s the whole clan assembling on Christmas Day or a cocktail party with pals, people will need to use your Wi-Fi.

You can trust old friends with your deepest secrets, but not your Wi-Fi password! There is also the small matter of recalling it after one Christmas cocktail too many.

For convenience and privacy, set up a guest network that you can control from your tablet or phone. Now everyone gets to upload their festive selfies to Instagram with ease or start a TikTok dance party around the tree.

In-laws outstaying their welcome? Secretly turn off the guest Wi-Fi to encourage their departure.

2.   Eliminate interference

Twinkly fairy lights look festive but they could be weakening your Wi-Fi. Fridges, baby monitors, and other devices that share the same frequency as your router also wreck havoc with your signal. Where possible minimise devices that might cause interference.

3. Tech the halls

Rarely is the router in the middle of the house. If you want to stream festive music outside for a Boxing Day barbeque or gather everyone in the snug film room you might discover that your Wi-Fi doesn’t cover every part of your home.

Enter WAPS. WAPS or Wireless Access Points are a clever way to extend and boost Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home. WAPSs can be discreetly mounted on walls and ceilings to ensure superfast speeds in every part of your home without cramping your Christmas style.

4.   The magic of mesh networks

Mesh networks are a Christmas miracle. If your router is compatible you can easily expand your Wi-Fi’s range using the mesh system’s primary ‘node box’. Once other nodes are placed strategically through your home you’ll be able to live stream Christmas carols while dancing in your PJs from any room of your home.

5.   Oh little satellite of Bethlehem

Do you live in a rural area? A satellite dish could be your guiding star this Christmas. Many of our customers report a vast improvement in signal after we’ve installed an internet aerial or dish. We recommend Starlink, the world’s first and largest satellite constellation using a low Earth orbit. While you need to buy the unit and subscribe via Starlink companies like ours install everything for you. Don’t worry, we’ll attach your satellite dish to your roof in a reindeer-friendly position.

6.   Brrr-oadcast on the right Wi-Fi band

Does your Wi-Fi operate on single or dual-band? If you plan on playing Call of Duty all Boxing Day long we recommend switching to dual-band.

Dual-band routers operate on two frequencies (2.4 GHz and 5 Ghz) while single-band routers only use the 2.4 GHz frequency. If you’re looking to boost Wi-Fi in a single room, dual-band gives a strong, reliable signal over short distances. Perfect if the family wants to cosy up in the living room together and watch films while also playing games on tablets or browsing smartphones.

John handily explains the difference between the two in detail here.

7.   Yule thank yourself later

It might seem like one more to-do at a busy time of year but trust us, you don’t want to forget about updating your router firmware.

It’s a simple step but could help prevent a long-distance loved one feel less lonely on Christmas Day. Not to mention banishing the buffering wheel of doom from Christmas film night.

Simply type your router’s IP address into your computer browser and follow the log in instructions. You’ll then be guided through the firmware upgrade process.

Upgrading firmware regularly has the added benefit of leaving Christmas criminals in the cold.

8.   Lay the Christmas cable

No, we’re not talking delightfully garish cable-knit jumpers. Cabling or hardwiring internet into your home is the best way to ensure a strong, reliable connection throughout your home and across multiple devices. A cabled connection is also nearly impossible to hack into compared to wireless.

Big-kid millennials can stream every Harry Potter film on Christmas Eve while you video-call relatives overseas — and your internet won’t break a sweat.

The really great news? A cabled internet connection is for life, not just Christmas. Simply give us a (jingle) bell to get started.

Fancy reading more smart tips? Our blog is full of ideas on how smart technology can make your life easier. If you really want to fall down the rabbit hole of smart home automation subscribe to our YouTube channel. That way you won’t miss a thing.

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