A smart plug is more convenient than a manual timer because many can automatically adjust to turn things on or off when the sun sets and rises each day. For example, at CR’s headquarters in Yonkers, N.Y., the sun sets 73 minutes later at the beginning of November than on Dec. 31. Manual timers with light sensors can also turn on at dusk and off at dawn, but they require an outlet with plenty of sun exposure and no nearby outdoor light fixtures.

How to Set Your Holiday Decorations to Always Turn On at Dusk

As an added bonus, some smart plugs offer energy-monitoring features, allowing you to see just how much electricity that inflatable Frosty is really costing you.

Here’s how to set up your smart plug in three simple steps. Once you’ve set it up, you can keep the plug handy for your other outdoor holiday decorations. You can also use it anytime for controlling household items like fans, lamps, and heaters. For more ideas on how to use smart devices to make your home more convenient, efficient, and fun, see our smart home toolkit.