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There's Nothing Like (Google) Home for the Holidays

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There are plenty of reasons to love the holidays – spending time with your loved ones, the warm smell of spices from gingerbread baking and eggnog simmering, and the nostalgic movies they’ve been playing on TV since even your parents were kids.
And now, we’ve got one more: Google Home has all kinds of holiday apps and devices to make your holidays even more festive.

From lights, to music, to entertainment, you can turn your home into a winter wonderland in no time – and all without lifting a finger.

If you didn’t already consider your Google Home a member of the family, there’s a good chance you’ll want to hang another stocking over the fireplace.


Make a Photo Slideshow

With so many of your nearest and dearest in one place, it’s a great time to catch up on the past year. Now that Google Photos is compatible with Google Home, you can call up the pictures you want to share with a simple voice command, and view them on your Chromecast-connected TV.

What’s more, you can search for photos based on people, places, or things. Try, “OK Google, show me Dad’s retirement party,” or “OK Google, put my vacation pictures on the TV. 

It has never been so easy to share your photos – and nobody has to crowd around your phone to get a view.


Light It Up with the Philips Hue Christmas App

A screenshot of the Philips Hue Christmas App, which provides a myriad of options. Credit: Philips Hue.

The Christmas app from Philips Hue is a cute, versatile little add-on that can do lots of fun things when paired with your Google Home speaker.

You can enjoy music and light shows to a variety of your favorite holiday tunes, play sound and light effects (sleigh bells, ho, ho hos, and the like) at the push of a button, and even put on an ambient setting for a low-key holiday vibe.

The Christmas app from Philips Hue does cost $1.99 – a nominal price for what it delivers, in our opinion. But for those who have a pet peeve about paying for apps, it’s still as easy as ever to set your Hue lights to a holiday motif and sync them up with the holiday music you spin yourself. You can even have your Google Home call you “DJ Frosty Fresh” – though the current model can’t stop your family from rolling their eyes at you.


Have Fun with These Seasonal “Easter Eggs”

Google has always had a playful side, as can be seen from their interactive search engine logos on notable days of the year, and Google Home is no exception.

Say, “OK Google, play Christmas music,” and the lights on top of the Home speaker will flash green and red. In the mood for a Hanukkah song? Say, “OK Google, play Hanukkah music,” and the lights will go blue and white. 

You can ask Google to tell you a Santa joke (though, we can’t vouch for how funny it might be!), and even track Santa’s whereabouts.

Try any or all from this list of Christmas commands:

  • “Is Santa real?”
  • "Where does Santa live?"
  • "Where is Santa Claus?"
  • "Tell me a Santa joke."
  • "Sing me a Christmas song."

Or, there’s our personal favorite: "OK Google, Merry Christmas ya filthy animal!"


'Cast It Up 

Ralphie's infamous bunny pajamas. Credit: MGM Studios & Warner Bros. Family Entertainment.

With your Chromecast-enabled TV, you can now have Netflix play your choice of holiday movie with a simple voice command. Say, “OK Google, play A Christmas Story,” and, voila, you’ll be reliving all of Ralphie’s cringeworthy awkwardness in no time.

And, of course, you can cast YouTube videos, so to get a fire going just say, “OK Google, 'cast a fireplace from YouTube,” or say, “OK Google, Christmas ambiance” for a selection of snowy, light-bedecked coziness to relax to. After all, there’s no place like Google Home for the holidays!

There's nothing like that glorious Christmas ambiance (via YouTube!).

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Jake S.
Jake Sherman is a professional writer with a background in journalism. He is fascinated by home appliances and how they work. He enjoys breaking down complex topics and explaining them in interesting ways. He has been a Puls staff writer for two years. When he's not writing, he enjoys trotting around the globe, trying unfamiliar foods, and testing unmarked doors to see if they're locked.
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