Life & Lifestyle

Ho, Ho, Hi-Tech

LED Kinaras and a Digital Dreidel, Too!

From outdoor decorations to resource apps, the holidays never suffer from a lack of creative and unique tech treasures.

To start, there are dozens of smartphone-controlled indoor and outdoor light strings and strips to choose from.

Lumenplay has a starter set with actual bulbs and an app to control color theme and light shows.

If you want to upscale old lights, check out the Wemo Mini Smart Plug, which fits any outlet, connects to your Wi-Fi, and is adjustable through your smartphone with Google Assistant, Siri, or Amazon Alexa.

If you want to go full throttle and create a lights-and-music extravaganza, provides excellent guides on props, software, and music sequencing. Just remember: The more ambitious you are, the more expensive the extravaganza becomes.

The simplest way to upgrade your traditional holiday design is to choose decorations with LED displays.

LED-encrusted wreaths and smartphone-controlled pre-lit trees are everywhere.

While an LED Chanukah Menorah does not fulfill the mitzvah of lighting a real Menorah, it can complement the holiday atmosphere for hours, and some are even USB compatible. There are also virtual Menorahs — the Android Menorah posts a mini version to your phone’s home screen.

Kwanzaa LED Kinaras come in several sizes and colors, as well. The Kwanzaa 360 app counts down days before the holiday and lists historical facts and community connections. Get Alexa involved with Kwanzaa Kwiz if you’ve enabled her games and skills option.
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In the holiday grab bag:

Plus more than 200 apps for Android and Apple with Santa, Rudolph, and Christmas themes as well as an Elf on the Shelf app that ranges from radar trackers to pre-programmed phone calls.

Last but not least, never forget the ever-popular Santa vs. Zombies games.

So many ways to enjoy a holly jolly hi-tech holiday this year!


Broc Sears

Broc Sears is an assistant professor of professional practice at TCU’s Bob Schieffer College of Communication and also works with the Texas Center for Community Journalism. He has more than three decades of experience in the news, advertising and marketing industries and earned recognition from the Society for News Design, Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, APME of Texas and the Dallas Press Club. He and his wife enjoy the best days of their lives here in Dallas with their family.

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