Christmas isn't all fun and games. Brits only spend, on average, just over four hours relaxing over the Christmas break, and nearly half of us stress over getting the wrong presents for others, according to a Direct Line survey. In light of this, here's 10 gadgets you can use to make the festive period as stress-free as possible.
1) Canary Motion Detector
Every house in the UK has a lot of very stealable and sellable stuff lying around over Christmas. This makes for rich pickings for chancers and in the UK last year we made an average of 50 burglary insurance claims each day in December, over 1,500 in total.
The Canary can help defend against intruders without the need for costly installation. The 6-inch tall Wi-Fi enable gadget acts like your very own security guard, with a range of sensors and an HD video camera to keep watch on the movements in your house.
If set off, it fires an alert info to your iPhone and Android app. You can then switch on and see live streams and call in the neighbours.
It’s not just to halt the burglars either, extra sensors can pick up gas leaks, flooding and fire. If you’re living in Buckingham Palace, or a place with lots of floors and rooms, then you could need more than one device but the company claims that one will suffice for most.
Price: £129 | Canary
2) Rydis R750
Vacuuming is a necessary Boxing Day evil. Mince pie crumbs, discarded sprouts (you know who you are) and all kinds of unmentionables need removing. But whether you’re manning the Dyson or you’re just trying to recover from overdoing it on the Buck’s Fizz, it’s painful.
The Rydis takes care of business for you with its many automatic settings. Corner Clean mode does a circuit of your walls. Concentrated Clean does spirals for those harder to clean bits, covering each area twice. Shadow Cleaning mode detects areas that aren’t in direct light like under your bed and couch. It it’ll fit.
There’s also a manual override which lets you vacuum by remote control. Plenty of fun getting old uncle whatsisname to do the cleaning while trying to turn of the Eastenders Christmas Day suicide-a-thon.
Price: £399 | Moneual
3) Tranquil Sounds Oxygen Bar
Oxygen bars have been popping up in shopping centres and actual bars over the past few years. Proponents of this new hipster-endorsed activity claim it’ll reduce stress, increase relaxation, increase alertness and most-importantly reduce the effects of hangovers.
Now you can get them for your home. They claim to increase the concentration of oxygen you breathe by basically filtering the air in your home and removing the nasties (like Aunt Deirdre’s flatulence), leaving you with more of the good stuff to breathe.
Price: $399 | Zadro
4) Kenwood Cooking Chef
You’ve spent most of 2014’s food budget on one meal while we’re still in 2013 and then you awake on Boxing Day with the panic of what to do with the rapidly degrading leftovers.
The Kenwood Chef has the answer. It’s the first total mixing machine that also cooks your meal. You can mix, stir and cook all at the same time.
From casseroles to curries, this is the ultimate fast food machine.
Price: From £700 | Kenwood
5) Now TV box
When we’re not busy moaning about how there’s nothing good on the telly anymore at Xmas, we’re fighting with our family about what to watch.
The Now TV box solves that problem for under a tenner, by turning your other TV into smart TV with SkySports, Sky Movies and catch-up TV cleverness. It’ll also run apps like Facebook and Spotify. It’s multi-room TV made easy – and cheap. Get one for you son or daughter and pretend it’s for them.
Price: £10 | Now TV
6) Heston Blumenthal Meat Thermometer
Christmas turkey is a killer. Avoid doing your family with the meat checker that baring the name of the UK’s number one precision chef. This stainless steel, double prongned analogue thermometer has a temperature range of -10°C to 150°C, an easy-to-read digital display and non-slip silicone grips for precision turkey roasting.
If you’re doing two types of meat, you can also use the dual probes to allow you to monitor the temperature of two dishes simultaneously. There’s a handy timer and clock that’ll tell you you’ve definitely left it too late to put the roast potatoes on too.
Price: £22.00 | Salter
7) AlcoSense Elite Breathalyser
Technology gives us the gift of foresight and this breathalyser is a brilliant example. You can take all the guesswork out of your readiness to drive with a simple blow into this super-accurate blood-alcohol testing gadget.
Granted this might be more expensive than a disposable breathalyser but the AlcoSense’s secret weapon is increased accuracy giving you peace of mind before you get behind the wheel – or not.
Price: £59.99 | Alcosense
8) Narrative Clip Lifecasting Camera
Christmas Day – like your wedding - is one of those days that seems to be coming for ever, consumes almost your every waking hour and then it’s over in a flash and you’re not sure what just happened.
The Narrative camera is a brilliant life blogging tool that means you can capture, review and share all the action without having to pick a smartphone.
You clip in on, forget it’s there and it snaps away for you while you’re stuffing the turkey, handing out presents or sneaking an extra glass of stress-busting bubbly while no one’s looking.
Price: $279 | Getnarrative
Music and Christmas go hand in hand. From Slade to Lilly Allen’s rework of Kean’s Somwhere Only We Know, having the right mood music to make those moments magic is essential. But that means pressure.
Sharemyplaylist is a brilliant website where all that’s been done for you. Users create and share Spotify playlists with over 700 Christmas themed lists already on the site.
You can filter by most played and listen to it all for free on Spotify via a mobile or laptop.
Price: Free | Playlists
10) PSB M4U 2
Christmas can be a noisy affair. If, after all the lunchtable chattering, you fancy a bit of peace and quiet then there’s one failsafe way to cut out all the stress and general mayhem – slip on a pair of these oddly-named noise cancelling headphones.
They’re capable of shutting out everyone for a whopping 55 hours of blissful isolation.
Price: £269 | PSB Speakers