Cue Andy William’s “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”
“It’s the hap-happiest season of all… with those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings… when friends come to call. It’s the hap-happiest season of all… There’ll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting and caroling out in the snow.”
Yes, now that Thanksgiving is really close, now is the perfect time to plan for the upcoming holidays. Thanks to how modern technology is today, prepping for the holidays is now smarter, easier and more innovative.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the famous virtual assistant, Alexa. Well, in case you haven’t, Alexa is a voice-powered virtual assistant that powers the Amazon Echo, Tap and Dot. It’s also accessible from other Amazon devices such as the Fire TV and Fire tablets.
If you already own an Alexa-powered device, here are 6 of her 3,000+ skills that will help you with your holiday preparations.
If you are too busy to go to the mall or search online for items on your grandchild’s wish list, you can easily do your holiday shopping through your Alexa device. Just say, “Alexa, order *the name of the toy for example*,” and it will suggest the lowest-priced item listed for sale on the site. You will then be asked to confirm the transaction and Alexa will take care of making the necessary charges and providing your shipping details.
In an effort to market its Alexa-powered devices, the company is giving Alexa-exclusive deals starting today up to December. This is a great skill to take advantage of to save on your holiday shopping.
Recipes with Step by Step Instructions
With the Echo’s integration with recipe site, Allrecipes, you can choose from 60, 000 recipes on your device and Alexa will read the instructions out loud for you, step by step. You have the option to tell her to pause, skip or go back without lifting a finger. This is very handy when your hands are already dirty because you don’t need to worry about flipping through the pages of a cook book or scrolling through your phone for the next step. This is perfect for when you are planning and preparing your feast for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
If you want to listen to Christmas songs or watch holiday-themed movies, Alexa will help you come up with music playlists and movie title options to help you get into the holiday spirit.
Booking Cleaning Service
If you don’t have time to clean your home just in time for the holidays or the New Year, Alexa can book a cleaning service on your behalf through its integration with Handy, an online market place for residential cleanings and other home services.
Controlling Indoor and Outdoor Christmas Lights
Now, you don’t have walk around your home and your backyard to every time you want to switch on or off your Christmas lights. Alexa works with hub-dependent smart outlets like WeMo, Samsung SmartThings and Insteon, that will allow you to turn on or turn off the lights on your Christmas tree, your porch or anywhere in your home with just your voice.