We're now officially in the middle of the holiday rush, and everyone knows that the days leading to Christmas day can be super-busy and stressful. After all, you have gifts to buy, decorations to put up, parties to plan and attend while keeping your festive spirits up.
Feeling the pressure yet? Don't worry, to deal with this non-stop barrage of yuletide cheer, Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa and her big bag of tricks can help you out.
From controlling your Christmas lights to tracking Santa's location, here are a bunch of Alexa hacks you can try 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 make that happen for you! Simply get smart outlets like a pair of Etekcity Wi-Fi Smart Outlets or Amazon's own Smart Plug and you can magically control your festive lights with just your voice. Better yet, you can even set schedules, routines and timers on the Alexa app to automate your holiday light show any which way you please.
Play Christmas music non-stop
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 simply ask her to play "Christmas Music" or "Holiday Tunes."
You can also enable a variety of 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 Alexa skill, you can envelop your room with the sounds 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 that you may have in mind.
Have Alexa set timers for your holiday cooking
Preparing all your favorite Christmas dishes just in time for that upcoming family gathering can be hectic. To help you out with the kitchen 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, you won't miss them. Alexa's alarm can be pretty loud.
Do hands-free gift shopping
Having a spur-of-the-moment gift idea? Hold that thought and have Alexa buy it for you immediately! To purchase anything with your voice instantly, you'll need an Amazon Prime account, 1-click ordering and Voice Purchasing set to On.
Although convenient, keep in mind that this can be a potentially costly mistake. To prevent unauthorized purchases, you should definitely set a PIN code. Here are 5 Amazon settings you must change now to increase your privacy.
Make a virtual list and check it twice
Keeping tabs on your gifts, shopping items, travel plans 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 sometimes 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, simply ask Alexa "How many days before Christmas" and she will answer you properly 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 (a parent or a guardian's permission is required to enable this skill), you can simply 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 for a fact from Santa Files."
Best smart speakers to buy this Christmas and holiday season
Smart speakers are one of the most life changing, entertaining and useful new pieces of tech out there today. But, there are so many options that it's hard to know exactly which one, which series, or what version to get. That's why I have put together a list of the 4 best smart speakers for everyone. They can even make great gifts. Tap or click to see the best smart speakers.