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Smart Christmas ideas

Supermarket shelves stocked to the brim with mince pies and advent calendars can mean only one thing: the festive season is upon us.

Forget the 12 days of Christmas; these days, it's more like the three months of Christmas. While many of you roll your eyes when a festive ad comes on TV during October, there's one benefit to Christmas starting early: you have plenty of time to plan the perfect presents for your loved ones.

Know someone who's into their gadgets and gizmos? If so, why not surprise them with a smart gift for their home or car? From thermostats that can be controlled remotely to in-car dash cams, the tech integrated in these smart tools is pretty impressive. So impressive, in fact, that you'd be a fool not to ask Santa for one (or two) yourself.

Smart gadgets may not bring down home or car insurance costs, but they help to make everything easier, safer, and more comfortable. We've handpicked some of our favourite smart devices that are currently on the market:

For the home

Philips Hue starter pack — £149.99
Philips Hue is a personal wireless lighting system might see the end of the humble light switch. You can control up to 50 lights in your home from your smartphone or tablet, and create the perfect mood for each room from a choice of 16 million colours. Pretty cool, huh?
Nest Learning Thermostat — £249
Imagine if, during the chilly winter months, you could arrange for your heating to come on an hour before you get back from work? Well, with the third generation Nest Learning Thermostat, you can.
The Nest programme will help you save on energy bills by learning your heating habits and developing you a bespoke schedule. It also automatically turns itself down when you're not inside your home. By connecting the thermostat to Wi-Fi you can control the temperature from anywhere, and from any device. You can control your hot water tank, too.
Yale Keyless Connected Smart Lock — £132
Yale's Keyless Connected Smart Lock helps bolster home security by giving you complete control over who has access to your home, and when.
No keys are needed; simply chose how you want to open the door, whether it's by PIN code, key card, key tag, remote fob or via your smartphone. The device is fitted with a tamper alarm and can be linked with Yale Smartphone Alarm and CCTV systems.
Amazon Echo — £149.99
If you (or the person you're buying for) quite likes the idea of a digital device taking over your entire home, then check out the Amazon Echo.
Echo is a voice activated smart home speaker that connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play your music, read out news bulletins, and report on sports scores (and much more). The device is capable of detecting your voice in noisy environments and learns continually via the cloud, constantly adding features to its already extensive set. You can also use it to control any smart lights or smart thermostats you have.

For the car

Nextbase 312GW — from £87.95
As one of the most renowned brands in the UK, Nextbase's 312GW 1080p HD in-car dash cam is a great tool for improving your car's security. Simple to install, it features super quick GPS and is integrated with Wi-Fi. This allows drivers to easily download and share footage via their smartphone.
This model comes with a handy magnetic mount, so you can quickly remove and replace the camera without having to unplug cables.
Yada wireless reversing camera — £151.99
Squeezing your car into tight parking spaces won't be a problem with the Yada wireless reversing camera. Simple to install, the camera is mounted onto the rear number plate and transmits data to a 4.3" colour TFT LCD screen, which can either be fixed onto your dash, air vents, or windscreen.
Olixar Triple USB Super Fast Car Charger — £14.99
Whether you need to charge a smartphone, tablet or sat nav, this nifty little gadget has it covered. The Olixar Triple boasts rapid charge technology, with a powerful 5.2 amps output, and is compatible with 12 or 24 volt sources. Up to three devices can be charged at any one time, so no arguing about who gets to use it first.
EE Buzzard 2 — £51.26
Keep your kids (and your other half) entertained during those long, boring drives with the Buzzard 2 from EE, which turns your car into a Wi-Fi hotspot. The device plugs directly into your car's 12 volt power socket, and can provide Wi-Fi for up to 10 devices at any one time. The Buzzard is available to EE customers and includes 6GB of 4GEE data.

Disclaimer: The products mentioned in this article don't currently impact quotes for home or car insurance with Hastings Direct.

If you've got any questions about your home insurance from Hastings Direct, give our customer service team a call on 0333 321 9681.

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