You know what's become a surprisingly essential part of my Christmas setup? A smart plug powering my Christmas tree lights. Maybe it shouldn't be surprising, because so many tree lights can only be quickly powered on and off by disconnecting them at the socket, and that's pretty annoying.
That's why I have one of the best smart plugs that lives with my decorations, to make life easier. I can use a smart speaker or my phone to turn the tree lights on or off in an instant. And if you want to save this irritation too, I recommend this TP-Link Tapo P100 smart plug deal, which gets you a great unit for under £8.
TP-Link Tapo P100 Smart Plug: was £7.99, now £12.99 at Amazon
This small and cheap smart plug is still packed with features – you get compatibility with both Alexa and Google Assistant, or control it directly with its app. If have multiple Tapo devices, you can control all of them from there. You can set a schedule and timers instead of turning it on and off if you prefer.
One of the great things about this smart plug is its size – it's small enough that it shouldn't stop you plugging something into the socket next to it, even on a power strip.
It also uses Wi-Fi to connect directly to your router, meaning that no extra hub is needed. You just set it up and go. And as mentioned above, it works with Alexa or Google Assistant – not with Apple HomeKit and Siri, alas, but you can still use the iPhone to control it directly.
And if you want to use it outside of Christmas, it's got a load of useful tricks, including an Away Mode that's ideal for connecting it to a lamp – if you're away for several days, this mode will turn the lights on and off at unpredictable times, making it look more like someone's at home.