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How to hack the holidays with IFTTT

Stressed? Busy? Cut down on time-suck with these hacks.


Jam Kotenko


Posted on Dec 12, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 12:13 am CDT

The holiday countdown is on, and that means the stress is high. Thankfully, that beautiful little automator IFTTT has a slew of timely recipes that can help you streamline as much as possible in the remaining weeks and days. Here are our favorite easy holiday home and life hacks you can control from your smartphone.

1) Heat your home before crawling out of bed

This recipe syncs your Jawbone wearable with a WeMo Insight switch—make sure your space heater is plugged into the latter and it will automatically turn on when your Up wristband detects you waking up.

2) Hide from the elements

You don’t have to look outside to check the weather—just grab your iOS or Android device and check your notifications for the latest weather forecasts and conditions.

3) Avoid a “Dude, where’s my car?” moment

You can save your parking location on your smartwatch. Malls are hard, we get it.

4) Save your battery while running errands

If you want to save your iPhone battery while you’re out and about, then make sure your Wi-Fi turns off automatically when you don’t need it. Once you exit an area that’s familiar to your device, it will shut down your Wi-Fi connection and save you some smartphone juice.

5) Find holiday online bargains without looking

This recipe automatically keeps a look out on any item search you have active and sends results to you in a neat email list on a daily basis. You have an option to specify your max price so you can stay on budget with your Christmas shopping.

If you don’t really have anything in mind that you want to buy specifically, be alerted every time eBay and Amazon release their daily deals. Who knows, if the price is right, somebody special might be getting something awesome from you!

6) Buy an affordable Christmas tree

Be alerted whenever one goes on sale.

7) Package and delivery notifications

Just plug in your order’s tracking number and the rest of the information will be sent to you via text message.

8) Drop subtle gift hints

Use this recipe to show your Facebook friends what Etsy items you would particularly like to receive.

9) Automate your Christmas lights and decorations

Make sure they switch on after sunset (when your neighbors can rightfully admire them) and turn off late at night to conserve electricity (and avoid setting your house on fire). You can turn your tree lights on and off, flash your lights, or send a text to turn them on. You can even turn them off in case it rains or rig a colorful light display on Christmas day.

10) Say “Happy Holidays!” before you forget

If you know you’ll be too busy celebrating and forget to wish everyone a #blessed holiday, you can automate it now so that it will post to Facebook or Twitter at the appropriate time. You can brag a bit and even do it in multiple languages.

11) Get a phone call from Santa

Feel that extra cheer on Christmas morning by scheduling a phone call from St. Nick himself. (For the kids, of course… or you! No judgement!) 

12) Happy Hanukkah, too!

Christmas isn’t the only holiday coming up. If you celebrate Hanukkah, make sure you light your candles soon after sundown on the first night—have your dreidel ready to spin as well.

Illustration by Jason Reed

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*First Published: Dec 12, 2014, 9:25 am CST