Holiday party planning gone digital with these gadgets and online tools

plan the perfect party with these gadgets and online tools shutterstock

Everybody likes going to parties – it’s the planning of parties that can get overwhelming. Thankfully, you no longer have to run to the printers to get invitations done, or hire a clown to entertain the kids (unless you want to). These Web services and gadgets are designed to add something memorable to your festivities, all without added stress.

Invitations

Not a graphic designer? No problem. Web services such as E-vite and Pingg offer templates for various kinds of get-togethers, from children’s ice skating parties to baby showers and birthdays. You can also upload your own photos to personalize the event, and when guests RSVP via e-mail, the sites will keep an accurate headcount of who’s set to attend. If you’re feeling a little less formal, you can also use Facebook Events app, and guests have to option of posting comments and questions about the party. Basically, it’s good for those who don’t want to communicate with their party guests on the phone and send a mass message without being annoying.

Setting Up

plan the perfect party with these gadgets and online tools philips hueAnyone can decorate their home with streamers and banner and call it a party, but you can go the extra mile with some techy gadgets made just for these special occasions. Mood lighting is a fun way to set the tone, and we’re a fan of bulbs like the Philips Hue. Each comes complete with Wi-Fi connectivity, multiple LED colors, and brightness levels that you can adjust straight from your iOS gadget. If you’re not an Apple person, this ThinkGeek multicolor LED light with remote is also a good alternative.

For those who want to really go the extra mile, check out the Belkin WeMo. This Internet-connected device uses motion sensors to trigger gadget activity, so you can program a series of events. For example, the WeMo can set fake snow to sprinkle down when someone rings the doorbell, or make the lights flash on and off when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Day. The possibilities are endless.

Food & Drinks

plan the perfect party with these gadgets and online tools robot ice mold trayWhile we can’t help you with the best recommendations for cupcakes in your area, here are some party favors that can add a little personality to the party. Fred & Friends offers a kitschy line of ice molds, from footballs to hearts to robots and brains. There are also guitar-shaped drink stirrers and adorable, reusable party picks shaped like soldiers and mustaches if you plan to have hors d’oeuvres lying around. Weird? A little, but definitely cute and memorable.

The Fun Stuff

instaprintGuests love leaving a party with some cool favors to take home, and what’s cooler than Instagram these days? Instaprint is a located-based device that receives Instagram photos via hashtags and prints them out in real-time. All you need is a reliable Internet connection and a specific hashtag to pass around to your guests so they can retrieve a print before they depart. Photos are also sent straight to Instaprint’s server so if guests want multiple copies, they can access the online gallery for future prints.

Party games are also a fun way to get guests mingling, and although you can go the route of traditional board or card games, we do recommend the Xbox Kinect or Wii U for some serious laughs. The array of friends are both kid and adult-friendly so guests of all ages can have a good time.

Lastly, it’s no party without some cool tunes, but if you don’t want to sit down and craft your own playlist, music streaming services like Spotify or Rdio offer public playlists ready for sharing.

[Image via Konstantin Chagin/Shutterstock]

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robots that eat landmines and clean your floors

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (April 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Smart Home

From the kitchen to the bedroom, here are the best Alexa tips and tricks

Amazon's voice assistant Alexa has plenty of neat skills. So many, in fact, it seems like new ones appear every day. We've rounded up the top Echo tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your virtual assistant.
Emerging Tech

U.S. police are testing out Batman-style bola guns to catch criminals

U.S. police are taking a page out of Batman’s playbook with a new grappling hook gun, called the BolaWrap, which fires out a kevlar cord able to tie up assailants in the blink of an eye.
Emerging Tech

U.S., U.K. embrace autonomous robot spy subs that can stay at sea for months

Unmanned, autonomous robot spy submarines that are able to stay at sea for months at a time may be coming to both the United States and its ally across the pond, the U.K. Here's what we know so far.
Emerging Tech

Meet the gene-edited bacteria that could make cannabis plants obsolete

Ever wanted to brew cannabis like you brew craft beer? At UC Berkeley, biologists have managed to engineer brewer’s yeast so that it produces the main cannabinoids found in marijuana.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Facebook data security, Ubisoft helps Notre Dame, and more

Join DT Live as we discuss Facebook security issues, Ubisoft's plan to help rebuild Notre Dame, and more. We are also joined by Emily Teteut of Snap the Gap, Jennifer Sendrow of New York Public Radio, and DJ and producer Zeke Thomas.
Emerging Tech

Planet-hunting satellite discovers its first Earth-sized planet

NASA's planet hunting satellite, TESS, has made a new discovery. Last month the satellite discovered its first exoplanet. And now it has achieved another milestone, locating its first Earth-sized planet and a larger sibling planet.
Emerging Tech

Resupply mission carries 7,600 pounds of scientific equipment to ISS

The Cygnus spacecraft has rendezvoused with the International Space Station as part of a months-long resupply mission. The craft will remain docked until July 23, while the crew take in the 7,600 pounds of research equipment it carried.
Emerging Tech

Astronomers surprised to find deep lakes of methane on Titan

In the two years since the Cassini probe burned up in Saturn's rings, data from its recordings is still being analyzed. The latest research has shown that Saturn's largest moon, Titan, hosts deep liquid lakes of methane on its surface.
Emerging Tech

Happy birthday, Hubble! Telescope celebrates with image of Southern Crab Nebula

In 1990 the Hubble Space Telescope was launched into low Earth orbit, where it has remained for nearly three decades collecting information about deep space. To celebrate its birthday, Hubble imaged the beautiful Southern Crab Nebula.
Emerging Tech

Star gives off superflare equal to 80 billion megatonnes of TNT. That’s a lot

A tiny star the size of Jupiter has been observed giving off a massive superflare 10 times more powerful than any flare from our Sun. The findings are raising questions about how much energy small stars can hold.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX experiences problem during test, Crew Dragon capsule may have exploded

SpaceX has experienced a problem during the testing of its Crew Dragon capsule. During the engine test firing at Cape Canaveral yesterday afternoon, an unspecified anomaly occurred which lead to plumes of smoke rising from the test site.