If you've been using Amazon's voice-activated assistant, Alexa, you know that it's incredibly helpful around the house. It's so useful, in fact, that it has spawned a whole new way for all of us to interact with the internet.
So, how do you use Alexa? Maybe you ask Alexa to play your favorite songs.
You may ask Alexa to help out around the house. Perhaps you've asked Alexa to turn down the heat on your thermostat, to open your garage door or maybe you've used Alexa to schedule an Uber ride.
But, did you know that Alexa also has the Christmas spirit? All you have to do is ask questions and enable some "skills," which are essentially apps that work with Alexa.
Your whole family will love this. After all, who doesn't like some trivia?
You may not know that Alexa has a sense of humor, too. But, this Christmas, you'll find out that she does.
Go ahead. Ask Alexa questions about Christmas like, "How old is Santa?"
You can ask funny questions like, "Alexa, who is your favorite reindeer?" Alexa has answers.
You can also ask more serious Christmas questions: "Alexa, what is the true meaning of Christmas?" For that one, you'll get a surprisingly touching answer.
The Night Before Christmas
Talk about Christmas traditions. Whose family doesn't have someone, maybe dad, who sits down by the fireplace and reads, "The Night Before Christmas?"
OK, that's a tradition that probably only happens in the movies. But it still doesn't feel like Christmas until you hear someone reading (or singing) the 19th Century poem attributed to author Clement Clarke Moore.
Good news. Alexa can fill in and recite the poem for you.
"Alexa, can you recite 'The Night Before Christmas?'" Sorry, no crackling fireplace, unless you already have one.
"Alexa, open Christmas kindness." Alexa can remind you every day about the spirit of Christmas.
After all, it's so easy to get distracted by Black Friday, shopping online for Christmas bargains and driving from one holiday party to another. It's fun.
But the spirit of Christmas is really about giving back. It is more fun to give than to receive for most people.
This Alexa skill will suggest an easy way to share that spirit with other people. Alexa might suggest something like letting another person at the grocery store get ahead of you in line.
We've been telling you for years about NORAD Tracks Santa. The website NORAD Santa Tracker has a countdown clock that's ticking away until Christmas morning.
But the most fun is on Christmas Eve. That's when NORAD Santa Tracker tells your kids or grandchildren where Santa is and reminds them that he'll soon put presents under your Christmas tree.
Now, you can ask Alexa where he is. "Alexa, ask NORAD Tracks Santa, where's Santa?"
If you're like many people, you think Christmas starts too soon. It's inevitable - right before Halloween, you start seeing Christmas decorations going up at stores and, gasp, you start hearing Christmas music.
"It's not even Halloween yet!" But, if you're like me, Christmas can't get here soon enough.
If you love this time of year, you can listen to Christmas music as early as October. Just ask Alexa to "Open Christmas radio."
If you prefer a selection of Christmas songs tailored to your specific tastes, iHeart Radio has the Alexa skill for you. Start by saying, "Alexa, talk to Santa Claus."
Santa will ask you a few questions. Once he has a better feel for your personality, he'll select Christmas songs that you'll love.
OK, this may be even more fun than listening to Christmas songs. How'd you like to hear an owl hooting?
Would you like to hear Christmas carolers and horses clip-clopping through the neighborhood? Christmas Sounds will add to the merriment and wonder of the season.
An amazing new way to use Amazon Alexa
You know that Amazon's voice-activated assistant, Alexa, is adding new skills all the time. Some of the Christmas skills above are new, for instance.
But there are other skills, including a messenger, that you will use all day, 365 days a year. This is a real game-changer!