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Alexa, is it Mother’s Day today? How to connect with mom when you do



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Shopping for Mother’s Day with Alexa is surprisingly fun and useful.

Chris Monroe / CNET

It’s become kind of a holiday in itself – Panic Day maybe, or Alexa will save the day. Every year, the Sunday before Mother’s Day, I ask with great trepidation, “Alexa, is today Mother’s Day?” And every year Alexa reminds me, “Mother’s Day is seven days away …” This year it’s Sunday, May 9.

“Phew,” I always say. Alexa, remind me to order flowers. Only this year I changed it: “Alexa, remind me to send my mom a hug on Mother’s Day.” (If you’re curious about how to send hugs with Alexa, keep reading.)

Now, like many people, my mom is a boomer, which once meant she had the technological knowledge of a garden gnome. But times have changed, and today she’s just as adept at making video calls and sending Alexa hugs as any digital native. On Mother’s Day, I plan to rely even more on technology than in years past to help bridge the distance of more than 400 miles between our respective cities.

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Alexa can share the song you’re listening to with another Alexa user, such as your mom, possibly on Mother’s Day.

Chris Monroe / CNET

I haven’t quite decided what I’m going to do for my mom this year, but here are my top five ideas for connecting with your mom on Mother’s Day using Alexa.

Alexa can help you shop for Mom

The only things I’m sure my mom really loves (other than her family, of course) are coffee and gossip, and we’ve already shared enough of both to last a lifetime. So I needed a little help finding a Mother’s Day gift. Coincidentally, Alexa is made by the world’s largest retailer, so Amazon’s digital darling knows a thing or two about what kind of things moms like.

Start by asking, “Alexa, give me Mother’s Day gift ideas,” but don’t stop there. First, Alexa sends a notification to your phone with a link to Amazon’s Mother’s Day buying guide (we also have one, Besides). As you scroll through those lists, Alexa will treat you to gift categories for sporty moms, tech moms, moms who love to be pampered (aka all moms), etc. After she describes them all, Alexa will ask you if you want to hear about another category (for example “Alexa, next”) or dive deeper into the current (“Alexa, tell me more”).

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It’s easy to forget that Alexa is part of the world’s largest retailer and has plenty of gift suggestions.

James Martin / CNET

Play around for a while and you’ll likely get some decent Mother’s Day gift ideas. I admit, I was a bit reluctant to test this out. But I have to hand it to Alexa, this was a pretty fun way to shop, and Alexa came up with some great suggestions (which I can’t name here unfortunately – hi mom!) Got an Alexa smart display, like an Echo Show 5 , 8 or 10, it also helps a lot to see the gifts Alexa describes.

Send your mom a hug on Mother’s Day

After a year of lockdowns and social detachment, mom hugs have become a precious commodity, and not just for people like me who live far away from their mothers. An Alexa hug isn’t a big deal, and it doesn’t replace a real hug with a piece, but when physical distance or health issues get in the way of a real hug, a virtual hug is better than nothing.

It’s pretty easy to do – just say: “Alexa, send my mom a hug” and confirm that Alexa has the correct contact from your list. Your mom will receive a notification on her side with a little jingle (and an animation if she’s on an Echo Show display) and let her know you sent her a hug. Easily. Sweet. Endearing.

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If your mom has an Amazon smart display like an Echo Show 8, you can connect with photos and videos, as well as songs and hugs.

CNET

If you run into any complications (Alexa doesn’t know which contact is your mom’s, or doesn’t know if your mom has an Alexa account, for example), check out our in-depth guide to setting up Alexa hugs here.

Say “I love you” to your mom with a song

When I heard that you can send songs with Alexa, one of the first things I did was play Helen Reddy’s You and Me Against the World on my Echo Show 5 and send it to my mom. If you share a special song with your mom, you can share it on Mother’s Day (or any other day!)

Just get the number you want to send on your Amazon Echo device then say: “Alexa, share this song with my mom” (or whatever contact you want to share it with – this works for more than just moms, too). Alexa can double check the contact information and then ask if you’re ready to send. Say “Yes” and your mom will get a message on her Alexa device with the number you sent in the queue.

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Even if you use one music service, such as Apple Music or Spotify, and your mom uses another, such as Amazon Music, you can ask Alexa to share a song and Alexa will sort out all the details.

Chris Monroe / CNET

What’s also great is that this feature seems to fix music subscription differences on its own (if you subscribe to, say, Apple Music, but your mom uses Amazon Music, Alexa will fix the difference in the background).

A picture says more than a thousand ‘Happy Mother’s Days’

If you have an Amazon Echo Show smart display, bet you didn’t know you have your own personal photo booth on the counter or table. If yours is the kind of mom who likes to use pictures of her kids or grandchildren as the background her Echo Show, here’s a fun, easy way to freshen up her background image.

Take everyone to your Echo Show and say: “Alexa, take our picture.” Repeat if necessary until you get the perfect photo. Then say, “Alexa, send this picture to Mommy.”

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Remember, just like before, you can send messages and make calls with Alexa.

Dale Smith / CNET

Connect the old-fashioned way with a message or phone call

We’ve almost hit the top tech when text messages and audio or video calls seem outdated, but here we are. Remember, you can always message, make or video call your mom, from any Alexa device to another or to the Alexa app. That means, for example, you can join a video call where only one person has a smart Echo Show display when the other is using the app. Here are the basic commands:

  • To send a message from any Echo device: “Alexa, message my mom.”
  • To make a voice call from a non-display Echo device, such as an Echo Dot: “Alexa, call my mom.”
  • To make a video call from an Echo Show: “Alexa, call my mom.” (To make a non-video call from an Echo Show, start the call as follows, then say: Alexa, video out after the conversation has started.)






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