Hack Your Holidays with These Technology Tips

Hack Your Holidays with These Technology Tips

By Phoebe Knight

We all know the holidays can be stressful. There are meals to plan, people to visit, and task lists that stretch to infinity for those brave enough to host guests. Fortunately, even the most traditional holiday settings have room for a few upgrades. Tapping into technology can give you the edge you need to get through the season of festivities.

Get Everyone In One Place

It’s tempting to use Facebook to send invitations, but it isn’t the best way to coordinate schedules. Not everyone is on Facebook, and when even millennials are breaking up with social media, you can’t trust Facebook to get the message out. That doesn’t mean you have to rely on paper invitations, though — you can email or text invitations through Evite. You can also manage guest lists and get instant RSVPs so you know who to expect.

Coordinate Carefully

One of the easiest ways to make sure everyone is on the same page is to put together a quick website to host all the details of your event. Free services like Wix and WordPress will let you build an attractive site without the need to learn to code.

Once your guests know where to go, they’ll need to know what to bring. If you’re providing everything, you can still use Eventbrite to solicit donations to cover your hard work and expenses. Plus, if you’re having a potluck, you don’t want to end up with six broccoli casseroles and no desserts. That’s where Signup comes in handy. You can create lists of needed items like napkins or bread, and guests can choose their contribution with a few quick clicks.

Get Your Guests Connected…Or Keep Them Out

After walking in the door, most guests want to know two things: the WiFi password and the location of the bathroom, usually in that order. If you plan to share your internet, you can save time and stress by creating cute cards printed with the password.

You may not want to give everyone in your home full access to your network, though. That’s when having a service like Comcast’s xFi is useful. You can set up guest profiles and enable parental controls to make sure younger guests stay in the friendly part of the internet. Perhaps most importantly, you can “pause” your WiFi to ensure everyone stays focused during the main events.

Cook Well

When so many holiday events center around food, making sure you prepare the perfect meal is critical. Fortunately, there are apps that can help.

If you need a recipe, the Big Oven app has a huge database of recipes and shopping lists, and it even lets you plan and share your meals with friends. If you’re worried your cake won’t rise, the Perfect Bake Smart Scale can help make sure you have the right recipe and measurements. The Meater smart thermometer can save you from the dreaded dry turkey while freeing you up to do something other than hovering over your oven.

If you get a little bored while prepping a big meal (and who doesn’t?) you don’t have to suffer in silence. If your hands are busy, you can shout commands at your Xfinity X1 Voice Remote to turn on a movie, change the channel, or put on some music.

Don’t Forget the Ice

It’s inevitable. No matter how careful the planning and list-checking, something always gets left out. That’s where local, on-demand delivery services like TaskRabbit and Amazon Prime Now can save the day. You can use your phone to request a quick delivery of that one critical ingredient or item and have it delivered to your door right when you need it.

Entertain the Crowd

One way to prevent the fights that tend to accompany every holiday get together is to keep your guests busy and entertained. Games are a welcome addition to any party, but it can be challenging to avoid excluding players. If your guests have smartphones, then all you need is a computer to get a local co-op video game going on the AirConsole platform. Everyone can play, and the games are free.

After the crowd is worn out from gaming, the fun doesn’t have to end. Break out the blankets and popcorn and stream your favorite traditional holiday films using XfinityStream.  

While it can sometimes seem as though technology is killing our ability to communicate, it can also be an extraordinary tool to help bring people together. If used the right way, it can even help you pull off your holiday events without a hitch.