So you volunteered to host Friendsgiving this year, and just realized that it’s just around the corner. It can be stressful, but don’t fret — we’ve come up with a handy holiday survival guide! Use your Amazon Echo or Google Home device to help you prep for the big day.

1. Make a to-do list

Echo show 5 displaying a to-do list

Use your smart assistant to help you on prep for the days leading up to your feast. Just tell your device, “Alexa/Hey Google, create a to-do list” and make sure to name it “Thanksgiving” or “Friendsgiving” to make it easy to find. Add items as they come to mind. You’ll have a super handy list to help keep your preparations on track.

2. Create a grocery list

Grocery item. Alexa, add cranberry sauce to my list.

Preparing a big meal has many components, and isn’t it terrible to have forgotten that one thing that you really needed to complete your favorite dish? Use your smart assistant to keep a running list of grocery items you need to buy.

To get started, simply say, “Alexa/Hey Google, create a shopping list.” You can customize the name, so you can arrange them by grocery store or event. To add more items, simply call back the list by its designated name. Best part, you can pull up your list on the mobile app or even share it with someone else!

Pro tip 1: you can actually add multiple items on a single command. Just say, “Alexa, add milk, butter, and eggs to my grocery list.”

Pro tip 2: Google’s to-do list allows the user to sort items by most recent, alphabetically or by category. Allows adding quantity and notes per item, as well as easy sharing of list.

To add or edit manually:

  • On Alexa: Open your Alexa app > tap the hamburger (3 horizontal lines) icon in the upper left corner > tap Lists > you’ll see “Shopping” at the top.
  • On Google: Open the Google Home app > tap on settings (the gear) > scroll to Google Assistant Services > tap on Shopping Lists

3. Voice shopping

Speaking of grocery lists, you can use your smart assistant to place your order by voice! Let your smart assistant do all the heavy lifting and save yourself the drive to the supermarket and the wait in the checkout line.

  • On Alexa, simply say “Alexa, open Whole Foods.” Once you’re done adding items to your order, say, “Alexa, check out.” to complete your transaction.
  • On Google, say “Hey Google, talk to Walmart.”

4. Recipes

Man in kitchen watching a cooking demo on his Google Home Hub

Have your smart assistant be your sous chef helping you out with recipe ideas and cooking tutorials.

Whether you’re looking for new recipe ideas or sticking to the classics, your smart assistant will be a handy guide in the kitchen. Best part? It’s hands-free so you don’t have to deal with splashes on your precious cookbooks, and scrolling is voice activated!

Here are some handy skills to try:
Allrecipes Alexa Skill
Food Network Alexa Skill | Google Action
Tasty Google Action
Butterball Alexa Skillgreat for all of your turkey questions!

Pro tip 1: Try asking for recipes with specific ingredients you might have on hand or ingredients that you want to experiment with. For example, “Alexa/Hey Google, find me a recipe for cauliflower mashed potatoes”

Pro tip 2: Have a recipe in mind, but forgot the measurements for the entire thing or a part of it, or the cooking temperature? Just ask your device for help! Ex, “ Alexa/Hey Google, what temperature should pumpkin bake on?”

5. Set timers

Woman and boy in kitchen. Woman places pan in oven while boy watches and smiles.

Got multiple items cooking or baking at once, and have your hands full? No problem! Have your smart assistant help you keep track of all by using named timers. For instance, “Alexa/Hey Google, set turkey timer for 3 hours and pie timer for 45 minutes.” You can also check up on the timer, reset, pause, or cancel it.

Pro tip: Working on various items at once? No worries, you can set up multiple timers! You can bake, poach, and roast to perfection all with the assistance of your smart device timers. Name them to know exactly which of your items you’re tracking.

6. Delight your guests with tasty libations

Three brightly colored cocktails with fruity garnishes

Appetizers, dinner, and dessert are planned, but what about drinks? Have your smart speaker assist in ensuring that your meals have the perfect beverage pairing, be it a mocktail, wine, beer or spirits. With skills like Mixologist or Patrón Tequila and actions like Tender or Wine Guide, you’ll be able to find the optimal drink pairing for your meal.

7. Let your voice assistant set the mood by DJ’ing your event

Echo Show 5 displaying music history of Fleetwood Mac, Lorde, and Tears for Fears

Use your device to set the tone at your gathering — tailor your music to your guests and setting. You can also ask Alexa or Google to play a specific song, genre, music station, or playlist. Do note that Alexa defaults to Amazon Music and Google automatically plays from Google Play Music.

Pro tip:  Do you have a preferred streaming service? Here’s how to set it up on your device:

  • On Alexa: To change your streaming service or link other music accounts go to your Alexa app> click on Menu (hamburger icon) > Settings > Music > Customize My Music Preferences > choose Link New Service or Manage Services. You can also Click on Default Services to choose which one plays when asked to play music.
  • On Google Home: To change, simply go to your Google Home App > Settings > Linked Media Accounts > Music & Audio [to add subscriptions]

8. Play games

Group of people having a fun time playing When in Rome in a living room space

Game on! Sometimes, playing a game or two is the best way to entertain your guests. Use your smart device to play a number of fun games. There are so many to choose from!

We are fans of voice assistant powered board games such as St. Noire or When in Rome. You can also play trivia games such as the Jeopardy Alexa Skill or Song Quiz on your Alexa or Google enabled device(s)

9. Track football stats

Echo show with "Are you ready for some football" displayed on its screen

For many, Thanksgiving day means spending the entire day watching football games. Use your voice assistant to help you track stats of your favorite teams, divisions, and players.

  • On Alexa: To invoke, just say, “Alexa, give me my Sports Update” or “Alexa, what’s my Sports Update?” and she’ll respond with info about your favorite teams and how they did in recent games. With this feature, you can also ask her when the next games are coming up.
  • On Google: You can straight up ask Google Home for football news. Simply say, “Hey Google, football news.” You’ll get a few of the most recent or relevant football news headlines, and it will send those articles to your phone.

Pro tip: Alexa can help you keep track of your favorite teams. She can track baseball, soccer, hockey, and football teams from 13 different leagues.

To do so, launch the Alexa app > tap the hamburger menu (three lines on top of each other) on the top left side of the screen > tap Settings > Sports Update > use the search bar to find your teams to add to your personalized list in the app.

10. Home automation — control lighting, thermostat, and your doorbell

Google Home Mini and phone showing "Welcome home" message

Use your smart assistant to help you control smart home lights,thermostat, or doorbell. You’ll be busy preparing and entertaining, so why not have Alexa or Google assist you? Have your voice assistant set the right mood lighting and adjust the temperature to please your guests.

Pro tip: Set your lamps on an Alexa or Google enabled plug — don’t let this fancy sounding tech intimidate you, it is simple to set up and there are numerous options available for purchase at various price points.

Here’s to a stress-free, fun-filled holiday gathering! What’s your favorite holiday tradition or hosting hack?

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