Your gorgeous, tinsel-bedecked Christmas tree is up – at the mercy of your sharp-toothed-and-clawed kitties, as are your holiday lights and decorations. Most of your gifts are likely already beautifully-wrapped and nestled nicely under the tree. And you’ve probably already ticked most of the holiday movies off your list. You’re almost ready.
But as with any other year, work and life get in the way. Honestly, I think work attendance for the entire month of December should be declared voluntary for everyone, but oh well. So, naturally, there are still last-minute preparations to do for those perfect Christmas Eve and Day celebrations.
This year though, let’s you and I venture away from our usual running around like headless chickens to finish our shopping list and final prep. Don’t be like Arnold in Jingle All the Way. Luckily, Alexa loves the holidays as much as we do, and it can help ease the stress. Here are some fantastic and useful ways that Alexa is helping me tick things off my last-minute holiday to-do list.
Avoid the crowds for your Christmas grocery shopping
Grocery stores are especially packed and busy during the holiday season. You’re not the only one doing last-minute grocery shopping for that scrumptious Christmas feast. Between you and me, I haven’t even done my grocery shopping yet!
Luckily, Alexa will help save me (and you) from serving a Christmas dinner dud – while also avoiding the long lines at the grocery stores. You already know that you can order groceries on Amazon with Amazon Fresh or through Whole Foods. But this year, I’m also using two new Alexa features that will make things even easier.
The Alexa app can now scan handwritten shopping lists, convert them, and add them to an Alexa Shopping List. It’s a small convenience, yes, but it’ll save you time and annoyance. Speaking for myself, I really do not like typing up a list on my phone when I already have a list going on a piece of paper.
What’s more, as soon as that handwritten list has been added to your Alexa Shopping List, you can now place an Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods order directly from, saving you even more time and the headache that comes with trying to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything before checking out.
Smart home holiday decor is the way
I’ve got most of my holiday decorations automated this year, meaning that I’ve pretty much bedecked my one-bedroom apartment with some of the best smart lights, including many of the smart Christmas lights that came out this year. And, not to be all dramatic, but they’re kind of life-changing.
No more bending down to plug/unplug my string lights. No more having to mustering the energy to get up from my cozy, bundled-up-on-the-couch position to turn everything off. I simply ask Alexa to turn off all my Christmas lights or do so using the Alexa app on my phone.
Even better, I can simply create an Alexa Routine on the app to set everything to turn on and off at specific times, which also means that they can all go on at the same time, adding a little touch of magic. Plus, you can get super creative with smart lights.
If you haven't yet invested in any of the smart Christmas lights, you can order them off of Amazon now and have them arrive just before Christmas so you can quickly redecorate before the festivities. I suggest getting the Govee Christmas String Lights, the Nanoleaf Smart Holiday String Lights, and the Govee Curtain Lights, all of which work seamlessly with Alexa.
Hire your own private carolers for free
Love Christmas carols and songs as much as I do? While there’s something magical about someone playing a song or two on the piano and getting everyone to sing along, it’s not sustainable if you want holiday songs all day (and night?). And if you already have more than enough on your to-do list without adding “create a Christmas playlist” to it as well, don’t worry. Alexa is your little Christmas elf this year.
I’ve asked Alexa to make a holiday playlist for me simply by saying, “Alexa, create a holiday party playlist,” and it’s done in a matter of seconds. Then whenever I want it to play that playlist, I simply ask. It beats spending 30 or so minutes putting one together yourself, and the song picks are pretty great as well. My list includes some classics, from golden oldies to Christmas faves like Wham’s Last Christmas to newer ones from lesser-known artists.
You can also just say, “Alexa, play holiday music” if the party has already started, and you need some festive tunes fast.
… and your own sous chef for your Christmas party
Still scrambling finding the perfect dishes to cook for your Christmas feast? I know I am! Honestly, I don’t know what I’m making yet – at least, it’s just me and my family so whipping up a nice dinner at the last minute won’t be too bad. Plus, Alexa is always playing sous chef, and I’m relying on it to come up with a plan quickly.
If you need the help, you can just say, “Alexa, show me side dish recipes”, “Alexa, show me holiday dessert recipes", or "Alexa, show me hot chocolate recipes." Then you can ask it to add the ingredients to your shopping list and order everything from Fresh or Whole Foods (see above). And as per usual, you can rely on Alexa to help you with measurement conversions and ingredient substitutions.
Holiday dinners are easy peasy with Alexa around. And if you think you might be pressed for time, it might be a good idea to invest in one of the best air fryers around, if you haven’t already, and ask Alexa to give you some air fryer holiday recipe ideas while you’re at it.
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Michelle Rae Uy is the Computing Reviews and Buying Guides Editor here at TechRadar. She's a Los Angeles-based tech, travel and lifestyle writer covering a wide range of topics, from computing to the latest in green commutes to the best hiking trails. She's an ambivert who enjoys communing with nature and traveling for months at a time just as much as watching movies and playing sim games at home. That also means that she has a lot more avenues to explore in terms of understanding how tech can improve the different aspects of our lives.