How to techify your Christmas decorations

Project ideas to put some tech in your festive trimmings

Christmas is a time for giving, sharing and, of course, tinkering.

Once you’ve adjusted all the baubles and finished faffing with the tinsel, though, there’s little left to keep you from twiddling your thumbs until the big day.

Occupy your restless hands with one of these Christmas projects, instead.

Bring some Yuletide tech to the proceedings courtesy of a raft of connected kit and smart stuff that’ll turn your tired trimmings into dazzling decor.

Christmas tree disco

Twinkly fairy lights might look pretty enough but, frankly, we want more from our tree. Enter these smart lights from LEDworks.

Wrap them around your tree, pair with the partner app (available on Android or iOS) and you'll have a mappable array of bulbs at your complete disposal. It's a technicolour dream come true.

Unlike other projects that require a lot of coding, this is a proper plug-and-play upgrade that'll have you fixated on achieving the perfect light array. Each bulb appears as an outline on your smartphone screen and can be individually programmed.

It works over Wi-Fi, too, allowing you to use the built-in colour combinations and patterns or - and here's the fun bit - create your own. It'll smartly detect where the bulbs are placed on the tree, too, so all you need to worry about is the pattern.

Buy the LEDworks Christmas lights

Sound-controlled light show

The Christmas lights turf war is a story familiar to millions of town-dwellers the world over. Jeff bought a set of 1000 SuperBright Shiners, so Glen responded by buying a 30ft inflatable snowman. So it goes on.

Enter the fray in style by hooking a Raspberry Pi up to your light array and setting the show to your favourite Christmas tune. Or dubstep. It's your choice.

You might have seen one of the many YouTube videos of village homes being frazzled and dazzled by a cacophany of light and sound - and all it takes to get started is a Raspberry Pi and a bit of software called LightShow Pi.

Hook your mini-computer up to your glowers and LightShow will use it as the central controller, automating the light show based on the frequency of the music you feed into it. 

Better still, once you've nailed the basics there are a host of add-ons and tinkering options - like SMS contol. Neat.

Get Lightshow Pi