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Amazon adds Alexa Hey Santa skill
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Tech tips

Ho-ho-ho! How to get Alexa to respond to ‘Santa Claus’ instead

The North Pole is a long way to go if children want to have a word with Santa Claus. The next best option is to write him a letter. But with almost 7 million letters sent every year, it might take a while to read them all. If you want to track Santa, this fun site is where you can do that.

Amazon has enabled its Alexa assistant to lend a hand to bring the Christmas spirit and Santa a little closer to home this year. Through a couple of simple voice commands, kids will be able to interact with Santa for hours of fun.

Read on to enable the mode and see everything that it can do.

Here’s the backstory

As a free skill to Alexa, Amazon has made it easier to speak with Santa this year. There are 18 different interactions that kids can perform, and they will work with most Echo devices. Exceptions include first-generation Echo and Echo Dot and wearables.

To enable the Santa feature, say, “Alexa, enable Hey Santa.” From there, kids can ask questions like:

  • Hey Santa, what can you do?
  • Hey Santa, tell me about your reindeer.
  • Hey Santa, can you laugh?
  • Hey Santa, what is your favorite food?

Other commands will result in action from Santa. These include:

  • Hey Santa, sing a song.
  • Hey Santa, sing “Jingle Bells.”
  • Hey Santa, sing “Up on the Rooftop.”
  • Hey Santa, sing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
  • Hey Santa, sing the “12 Days of Christmas.”

If you are unsure if the Santa voice is for your kids, you can take it for a test drive before making the change. Say, “Hey, Alexa. Introduce me to Santa” for a preview of its capabilities.

What you can do about it

The skill is made available for free to Amazon users in the U.S. and U.K. and can be activated by saying, “Alexa, enable Hey Santa.” If you have more than one Alexa device in your house, you must repeat the command to each one.

You can also change your Alexa-enabled device’s wake word to Santa. Here’s how:

  • Open the Alexa app on your mobile device and tap the More icon.
  • Tap Settings, then Device Settings.
  • Select the device that you want to change the wake word for.
  • Tap the Settings gear icon in the upper right corner.
  • Scroll down and tap Wake Word.
  • Slide the toggle next to Hey Santa to the right to enable it.

The Santa wake word isn’t the only modification that you can make. Earlier this year, Amazon unveiled the ability to change Alexa’s voice to that of NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, actress Melissa McCarthy, and actor Samuel L. Jackson.

But where Santa is made available for free, the celebrity voices cost $4.99 each.

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