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9 Alexa hacks for a festive Christmastime

We’re now officially in the middle of the holiday rush, and everyone knows the days leading up to Christmas can be super-busy and stressful. After all, you have gifts to buy and decorations to put up, all while keeping up your festive spirits.

Feeling the pressure yet? Don’t worry! To deal with this nonstop barrage of yuletide cheer, call on Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa, and her big bag of tricks.

From controlling your Christmas lights to tracking Santa’s location, here are a bunch of Alexa hacks you can use to make your holidays as festive as possible.

Control your Christmas lights with Alexa

Do you want to make your Christmas lights smarter? Well, Alexa can help! Simply get smart outlets, like Amazon’s own Smart Plug, and you can magically control your lights with just your voice. Better yet, you can set schedules, routines and timers on the Alexa app to automate your holiday light show any way you please.

Play Christmas music nonstop

To keep that yuletide spirit going, nothing beats having Christmas music playing around the clock in your house. Alexa is an ace when it comes to DJ-ing, so ask her to play “Christmas music” or “holiday tunes.”

You can also enable various Christmas music skills, like the “Santa-curated” iHeart Santa radio station or the appropriately named Christmas Radio skill. Simply say, “Alexa, enable the Christmas Radio skill,” and have yourself a merry little Christmas.

Play ambient Christmas sounds for that perfect atmosphere

To complement that Christmas music, why not set your holiday mood with atmospheric sounds instead?

With the Christmas Sounds skill, you can envelop your room with the sounds of sleigh bells, owls, reindeers, carolers, a fireplace and more! Just say, “Alexa, enable the Christmas Sounds skill” to turn your home into your very own winter wonderland.

Look up Christmas recipes

Speaking of Christmas dinner, are you struggling to come up with that special holiday dish that will surely wow the guests? Well, keep that cookbook on the shelf because Alexa can walk you through any recipe you have in mind.

And it gets better with an Echo Show. Go with a compact, affordable Echo Show 5 or the upgraded Echo Show 8, with a crisp 8-inch screen. You can do the same using a Fire HD 8 or Fire HD 10 tablet on Show Mode. Just ask Alexa for a specific recipe and she’ll give you step-by-step visual instructions on how to prepare it.

Have Alexa set timers for your holiday cooking

Preparing all your favorite Christmas dishes just in time for those big holiday meals can be hectic. To help you out with the balancing act, have Alexa set timers for you. You can even set multiple timers and name them specifically, so you’ll always know which one is going off at any given time. Oh, and you can’t help but hear them — Alexa’s alarms can be pretty loud.

Do hands-free gift shopping

Have a spur-of-the-moment gift idea? Hold that thought and have Alexa buy it for you immediately! To purchase anything with your voice, you’ll need an Amazon Prime account and one-click ordering and voice purchasing set to “On.”

Although convenient, keep in mind this can be a potentially costly mistake. To prevent unauthorized purchases, you should definitely set a PIN code.

Make a virtual list and check it twice

Keeping tabs on your gifts, shopping items, and who’s been naughty and nice can be confusing, especially during the holidays. To keep your Christmas tasks organized, lists can go a long, long way. Just ask Alexa to add a specific list, and you can review it and edit it any time. Note: You can also view and edit your lists via the Alexa app.

Christmas Day countdown

The actual wait for Christmas can be more exciting than Christmas Day itself. To help you keep track of how many days you have left to take care of all your Christmas obligations, ask Alexa, “How many days before Christmas?” and she’ll answer you promptly at any time.

Track Santa with NORAD

Do you want to know where Santa currently is? Well, with the free NORAD Tracks Santa skill, you can chart Santa’s location as he makes his way around the globe on Christmas Eve. Once the skill is enabled, you can say, “Alexa, ask NORAD Tracks Santa where Santa is,” and she’ll oblige. You can even get some interesting Santa facts by saying, “Alexa, ask NORAD Tracks Santa for a fact from the Santa files.”

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