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3 tried-and-true Alexa hacks to use on Amazon Echo this week



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Your Amazon Echo is super handy during the holidays.

Angela Lang / CNET

Take the time to unwind by your this holiday season Amazon Echo play your favorite Christmas songs, shop for last minute gifts and entertain your family. The smart speaker can also help make your vacation festive ̵

1; Alexa can make you feel like the Griswold for example, you do this by turning on all the Christmas lights with just one command (without the city-wide blackout, of course). Amazon’s voice assistant can also let you know when the gifts you ordered will arrive.

You can use these Alexa skills if you want to impress your family, even if your family won’t be able to spend this holiday season. These features require little to no installation and are super easy to use. Keep reading to find fun Amazon Echo hacks to use during the holiday season.

Read more: Best smart plugs for 2020

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Turn on your festive lights with Alexa and a smart plug.

Chris Monroe / CNET

Control your smart lights with Alexa

Is it too cold to go out and get all those lights out of your house? No problem – you can automate the lights to instantly turn on and off at specific times with the Alexa app. For example, you may only want the lights on when it’s dark, so schedule them to turn on at dusk and off at dawn. Or you can set specific times, such as turn on at 6:00 pm and turn off at 7:00 am. And if you have a Christmas tree in your house, you can also automate the lighting for it. Note that you need a smart plug ($ 25 at Amazon) to make this work.

1. Open the Alexa app and select Routines from the menu.

2. Press Plus icon to add a new routine.

3. Select When this happens.

4. Crane Scheme.

5. Select sunrise or Sunset and select the days on which you want this routine to occur. Crane The next.

6. Crane Add action.

7. Select Smart home and tap All devices.

8. Select the smart plug that is connected to your lamps here. Then set the power switch to On or fromdepending on the schedule you set. Crane The next and then Save.

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You can even light your Christmas tree with one command.

Angela Lang / CNET

Track your gift purchases

If you’re curious about when a gift from Amazon will arrive at your home, you can ask Alexa to track your package. Just say, “Alexa, where are my packages?” and it will let you know when they are expected to arrive. Your Echoes ring light will also glow yellow if there is one notification of a package that has arrived or is on its way.

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Alexa knows when your gifts will make it home.

Angela Lang / CNET

Play Christmas music on your Echo speaker

Nothing makes gift wrapping (and unwrapping them!) More exciting than having your favorite Christmas tunes playing in the background on your Echo device. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can just say, “Alexa, play Christmas carols.” If you’re not, you can always connect to your favorite music streaming service through the Alexa app or just download the Christmas Radio skill.

Alexa can send Christmas cards

OK, so Alexa can’t send physical Christmas cards, but the voice assistant can send digital greetings to other Alexa devices. You need to go to the Alexa Skill Blueprints page and select it Hallmark holiday greeting. Then you can choose a greeting that best suits your needs and customize it with a personalized message or recording. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete your holiday greeting.

When you are ready to send the Christmas greeting to your loved ones, click Share with others. The recipients need to enable the skill on their Alexa device, and once they set it up, just say, “Alexa, open Holiday Greeting.” Now they can hear your message.

More vacation commands to give Alexa

Also try out these Alexa vacation commands:

  • “Alexa, how many days until Christmas?”
  • “Alexa, play Christmas sounds.”
  • “Alexa, Christmas tree.”
  • Alexa, read The Night Before Christmas.
  • Alexa, add apple pie to my shopping list.

Ready for more Amazon Echo tips? Check this out five surprising things you didn’t know Amazon Echo could do and four places in your home where you should never put your Amazon Echo.


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