Tech the Halls and spice up this year’s Christmas celebrations with a few gadgets bound to get at least a few people in the festive mood. It may not be a 21st party but with so many people to keep entertained, health why not turn to technology to compliment the Turkey?
Whether it’s your Christmas party at home or at work, doctor these gizmos will get nan off the eggnog or even involve Barry from accounts to end 2011 in a memorable way.
10. Karaoke Machine
What better way to subtly hint to your third cousin twice removed that you fancy them a bit than by singing along to a bit of “All I want for Christmas is You” with Mariah Carey? Or keep the kids entertained for hours by having them re-enact their favourite moments from Glee.
Karaoke Machines come in all shapes, price sizes and prices with basic machines costing as little as £40, and Karaoke Box-Set CDs from £20. There are also DVDs players that have a karaoke function, so all you need to do is plug in a microphone and claim your five minutes of family fame.
If you have a bit more budget and want something to get the kids involved in, the Photo Cube Smartphone Printer is a great idea to instantly print off pictures snapped on your phone. It only takes 60 seconds for a digital picture to leap off your phone into your hands.
No longer will you have empty promises of sending that great pic you took to everyone else in the group shot, just pop your phone into this printer and provide a picture for everyone. Christmas is sometimes the only time everyone gets together, so it’s nice to provide a memento of your gathering to keep everyone going until next year.
The Photo Cube will set you back £120, with an extra £20 for ink cartridge and paper.
Grandma and grandpa will love the novelty of watching the family through the ages flick past while they sip on punch. Digital photo frames take up little room and are a great feature for a family get-together.
You can theme photos to just show funny snaps, or take a tour through the ages starting with mum and dad as kids moving onto the latest addition of the family. If you’re hosting a work party, fill it with past party photos or as a bit of a look-back on everything that’s happened this year.
Digital photo frames have been around for awhile and as such have dropped in price since they were first released. If you’re a bit of a savvy shopper you can pick one up for £20, but it may be worth spending a bit more to up the photo resolution and memory capability so that you can keep the photo show going for hours.
7. iPod Dock
There are a few options for getting the carols pumping in your house or office this year, and one is getting an iPod dock to shuffle through your tunes through a decent pair of speakers.
Logitech has a range of docks that provide excellent quality sound and will look great on the mantelpiece. The Logitech Pure-Fi Express Plus and the Rechargeable Speaker S315i both sells for £64.99 and are portable so can even come outside should the need for a snow-picnic arise.
6. Snow Machine
For some people, this might not be such a great Christmas Party gadget with the abundance of snow already piled up outside your front door, but for those dreaming of a white Christmas and getting nothing of the sort, a snow machine can make that dream come true.
Priced from as little as £50 for a small device, a snow machine doesn’t have to cost the earth. For this price, you can get a machine that will project snow up to 6 metres, and is remote control so you don’t have to end up looking like the abominable snowman when trying to turn it off. If you do spend more on a snow machine, you are more likely to get a quieter device that won’t sound like a chainsaw going off in your living room.
Just to be clear, a snow machine doesn’t produce real snow, and you do need some special Snow Fluid to make the magic happen, which costs around £20 for 5 litres of the stuff.
Why not compliment the roast potatoes with a glass of your finest home brew, vintage 2011? Home brew kits are easily accessible, and just by mixing packets of ingredients with water you can call your living room a microbrewery.
The Beer Machine Model 2000 is just £90 with an impressive-looking bar-style tap and pressure gauge to make sure your liquid gold doesn’t explode all over the place.
There are a range of beer mixes to choose from as well so you’re not just stuck with your standard ale. Flavours include Dutch Lager, Canadian Red Lager, Nut Brown Ale and Czech Pilsner.
On the topic of innovative inebriating drinks, this is a chance to combine practicality with a stylish interesting looking centrepiece. This cocktail fountain will let the daiquiris flow from four dispensers to create a lovely water-feature for you to stick your glass under.
It lights up too to create a night-club-esque ambiance which is great for gearing the office party up for the real night clubs afterwards.
At £24, this little gem of a party feature won’t break the bank and leaves you with enough to fill it with your spirit of choice.
How do you tire the kids out when they’ve been cooped up all day? Yes they’ll want to play with their presents for a bit, but what happens when little Johnny steals little Frankie’s transformer pack? You distract them with something to tire them out- like a bit of Wii.
With games for kids and adults alike, a Wii or PS3 is a great idea to have set-up in a corner to get everyone involved. If your work Christmas budget allows for it, a bit of Guitar Hero 5, Dance on Broadway or Just Dance 3 won’t go astray. Or maybe it will but that’s the whole point really.
For PS3 faithfuls, get all of the aunts and uncles around some Family Game Night 4, Truth or Lies or Yoostar 2.
While you may have last used a projector to display your PowerPoint prowess, they are also a good idea for scrolling through funny photos, or for playing a heart warming movie on Christmas bringing families together or something of the like.
You can get pocket projectors for around the £80 mark, but that may not be the right device to sit through the Titanic with, mainly because the battery life just won’t last.
Mini projectors are larger than pocket projectors and some come packaged with a screen. They have better resolution but will still fit into tiny spaces. Expect to spend around £270 for a decent one.
If the snow machine didn’t do it for you this idea will- banish the Winter chill in your very own affordable portable Hot Tub. This may not be appropriate for every office party, but it will provide a talking point if you and your co-workers decide to go tenths in one.
The Lay-Z-Spa will set you back £330 which includes a water filtration system, Lay-Z massage system, rapid heat adjustment and 12 months warranty in case someone decides to wear stilettos in it. It takes 30 minutes to set-up and will fit back in its little box when you’re done resembling a prune.
Even if you don’t end up using it on Christmas day, what better way to melt away the stresses of having all of your family factions together than by spending all of Boxing Day in your very own hot tub eating turkey sandwiches?