As I drive around my neighbourhood it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, with those imbued with the spirit of Christmas draping their houses in enough mini LEDs to make it visible from Saturn. I have to admit, as a father, I’m a fan of the tradition, my daughter loves it and it gives immeasurable joy to her and my whole family each year.

Being a little tech-minded it’s not just enough for me to have a string of lights or two, no my Christmas lights just have to be voice-controlled. There are two basic paths to getting your Christmas on with a little help from Google Assistant. Option one is to grab a Smart Plug and simply plug in all of your lights, option two is to start investing in Google Assistant compatible lights that natively work via the Voice Assistant.

Smart Plugs are an obvious choice for those with existing lights, and with one plug and a power board you can control multiple lights with just one device. I’ve got a mismatched hodge-podge assortment of smart plugs from various vendors, and thanks to the Google Home App they all just seamlessly integrate with each other.

Native Google Assistant lights are relatively new, with them only hitting our retail stores this year. Unlike the vast array of other Christmas illuminating devices, there’s only a relatively small choice. So unless you’re going for a basic set up like a tree or you’re only dipping your toes in Saturn viability then you’re unlikely to survive solely on these devices, just yet.

OK, so you’ve got your Frankenstein set up of lights, smart plugs and what not, but what respectable IoT geek could possibly issue a half dozen commands to turn everything on? No, that just won’t do. It’s routine time. Once you have all of your devices set up we’d recommence creating a Christmas routine via the Home app.

The advantage of a routine rather than putting all of the devices in a “room” called Christmas, which would allow you to turn everything on and off via the command “Ok G, Turn on/off Christmas”, is that it can be scheduled. I mean, who really wants to issue the voice command daily, it’s cool to show off your Google fuelled awesomeness to friends, family and neighbours, but not something you want to have to remember to do daily.

Setting up a routine and then automating it is easy and you can include any number of other commands as well, such as starting Christmas music, if it’s controllable by the Assistant it can be integrated into a routine. Of course, if you’re setting up a routine to turn everything on, just remember to set one to turn it all back off again, those Saturnites eventually need their sleep too.

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Michael W

I find what Google Assistant can do is much more limited than the lights native app. For instance, it can’t change what type of blink cycle the lights are on. It can only turn them on or off. With the native app (Tuya), you can change a number of settings.


Kmart is selling those Genio fairy lights for $30.