December means parties, guests, decorations and presents. It’s a lot and goes on for almost a month. Juggling a yuletide to-do list can turn even the biggest Christmas lovers into Grinches. Save yourself the stress and use the tech tools you already have as your own personal holiday elves.
Since some 85% of Americans already own an Amazon Alexa-connected device, we went straight to Team Alexa for to figure out which tasks can be delegated to smart speakers or displays. Most people have no idea how much tech-y personal assistants can take off your plate!
From an Alexa-enabled Christmas tree to apps that help you connect with loved ones in more meaningful ways, having the right tech tools at the right time can take the stress out of some of the most common holiday headaches, from scaling up recipes to feed a crowd to making sure you put everything you need on your shopping list.
Level up your holiday lights with smart plugs
Don’t feel like running around the house and your property turning on Christmas lights after a long day back in the office?
You can automate the process with a few smart plugs and Alexa, Google Home, or another personal-assistant app of your choice by setting up Routines.
These verbal cues can be big, throwing the switch for all your holiday lights and music. Or you can keep it simple and just use them to light up your tree lights or turn your outdoor lights on and off at a specific time, at sunset or with a certain voice command.
For instance, when I say, “Alexa, let’s get festive,” that one command turns on my tree lights, stars up my holiday playlist, and turns both my Echo Show and FireTV into digital photo frames to show off our family’s favorite moments from the year before.
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Defend packages from porch pirates
If you have a smart doorbell or are thinking of getting one, you can put it to work guarding against porch pirates. These devices send you an alert anytime someone appears at the door and let you see and talk with delivery people. Smart doorbells can also entertain arriving party guests and even welcome Santa.
Amazon’s Ring doorbell can even play songs like “Deck the Halls” or “The Dreidel Song” when someone pushes the button. You can even buy holiday-themed faceplates and dress up your smart doorbell.
And if someone pops up at your door during a holiday movie marathon on your Fire TV, your Ring doorbell will pipe a picture-in-picture live video feed to your TV so you can see who it is without having to hit pause. You might have to pause while you decide whom to send to open the door, though.
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Make Alexa perform party tricks
Hosting a holiday party? Ask Alexa to put on your favorite holiday playlist via Amazon Music or Spotify by saying, “Alexa, play holiday music.” I also use smart devices to play fun party games like Heads Up or to keep track of Santa!
You can turn your Echo Show into a digital photo frame by connecting it to your Amazon Photos account (remember, Prime members get unlimited photo storage and 5 GB of video storage) and saying “Alexa, Start Photo Frame.” This gives you a three-hour photo slide show. It’s a super sweet way to show off your year!
You can also show more than 1,500 gallery-quality photographs, curated artwork or your own personal family photos on the new Fire TV Omni QLED series. To try it, tell Alexa, “Show me my photos.”