At my house, we use our Amazon Echo every single day. I ask Alexa to place orders, find the proper cooking temperature of pork, or play my favorite playlist, just to name a few. So with the holidays here, I thought it would be fun to share 15 ways Alexa can make your life easier and cooler during this super busy time.
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Sing Christmas carols. If you say, “Alexa, play holiday music,” she’ll start streaming the Pandora holiday station so you can get your Christmas carol jam on while you bake cookies or play video games.
Do your holiday shopping for you.If you tell Alexa what you’d like to get for your kids, mother-in-law, or anybody (need ideas? check out our gift guide) she can order them directly from Amazon for you. Once you tell her exactly what to order, she’ll confirm it for you. You might want to set up a passcode, though, so that your kids don’t get any bright ideas about doing their own shopping.
Find out where your packages are. When Alexa’s ring glows yellow, you have a notification. Ask her to read her notifications, and she’ll tell you which packages are on their way and which have been delivered. Helpful for those families who have doormen who receive packages for you. Just don’t ask her to read them when the kids are around!
Tell your kids how many days it is until Christmas, or next Hanukkah. With the Christmas Countdown skill or When is Hanukkah skill enabled, your kids can ask Alexa, instead of you, how many days it is until Santa comes.
Help you avoid awkward family conversations. If the Christmas dinner conversation is headed down the wrong road and your’e starting to feel tense, just yell out, “Alexa, change the subject,” and she’ll provide a new topic for your family to talk about.
Suggest ways for you to spread some holiday cheer. No matter what holiday you celebrate this winter, your family can get some great ideas for spreading love with the Christmas Kindness skill. Tell Alexa, “Ask Christmas Kindness for an idea” then head out and do your random act of kindness together.
Keep bored kids entertained. If the kids need something to do while you’re getting your holiday meal ready, ask Alexa to “open kids’ Mad Libs.” She’ll ask for all the nouns, adjectives, and verbs and then read you back your wacky story.
Find out if you’re on the nice list. If you enable the Santa Claus skill, your kids can say, “Alexa, ask Santa Claus if I’m naughty or nice.” Alexa will then ask them a series of questions to find out which list they’re on this year.
Turn on your Christmas tree lights. If you have your tree plugged into an Alexa-enabled smart plug, you can ask Alexa to turn your Christmas tree lights on or off for you. Of course, she can also make a pot of coffee, turn on the television, or turn off the lights if those items are plugged in too.
Eat up all your leftovers. I’m notorious for forgetting about leftovers until they’ve spoiled, so I’ve added a skill to my Echo to help me keep track of all those holiday extras I’m sure to have. If I tell it, “Alexa, tell Glad Leftovers I’m adding chili to the freezer,” she’ll make a note of it. Then, when I’m scrambling for dinner next, I can say, “Alexa, ask Glad Leftovers what’s in the freezer.”
Find out exactly where Santa is. When you’ve enabled the NORAD Tracks Santa skill, you can just tell Alexa to ask it where Santa is or when he’ll be at your house. Bedtime, check.
Feed all your guests easily. Ask Alexa to tell Grubhub you’re hungry, and she’ll order (or reorder) your favorite meals to be delivered so you can feed your relatives without working all afternoon to do so.
Get great shopping deals. Amazon offers exclusive shopping discounts to its Echo owners, so if you ask Alexa for today’s lightening deals you might score some great items at a huge discount.
Use up those leftover latkes (if you have any, that is!). The Mama Schack skill contains a wealth of traditional Jewish recipes, and they’re constantly updating the skill with new recipes. So if you’re wondering what to make for dinner, she’s your expert.
Find out if your flights are on time. Tell Alexa to “Ask Kayak to track your specific flight,” so you’ll know whether or not you’ll be on time for your holiday travel. Another option, if the house guests are getting to be too much, “Alexa, ask Kayak to book a hotel room.” Just saying.