Celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah this year? We have a 2 part survival guide — getting ready and hosting — to help you manage the holidays with the help of your handy smart assistant.

Part 1. Getting Ready

1. Track Santa!

Photography of Santa Claus figurine on top of surface

If you’ve got little ones, here’s a super fun way to let them keep track of how many days are left until Santa begins his journey! Use NORAD or Google’s Santa Tracker to follow him as he gets ready the day before his big flight, and hear his location as he moves across the globe on December 24th.

  • On Alexa: Use NORAD Track Santa. To get started, say “Alexa, track Santa” or “Alexa, where’s Santa?”
  • On Google: Use Google Santa Tracker. Simply ask, “Hey Google, What’s happening in the North Pole?”

Pro tip: We encourage you to use a screened device if you have one to enhance the experience with the fun visuals provided by the Alexa Skill and Google Action.

2. Spin the Dreidel

cCose up photo of gray dreidel

If you celebrate Hanukkah, you can use your smart assistant to spin the dreidel. To get started just say, “Alexa/Hey Google, spin the dreidel.” Your device will randomly pick one of a dreidel’s four sides each time you ask it to spin one. It will tell you what side you got–Nun, Gimel, Hey, or Shin– as well as what that means for the game. If you need a rules refresher, just ask your device to explain the rules of the game to you.

3. Lists

Holiday gift list from Alexa app

Need to track who’s been naughty or nice and what to get them? Do you have to track groceries or gift supplies? Use your smart speaker(s) as your personal assistant! To get started, simply say, “Alexa/Hey Google, create a shopping list.” You can customize the name, so you can arrange them by person, 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 in case you’re on the go or even share it with someone else!

Pro tip 1: you can actually add multiple items on a single command. Just say, “Alexa, add an Echo dot, socks, and Charlotte’s Web my holiday gifts 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.

Pro tip 3: Did you know that can add items to or update your Amazon wishlist? Just say, “Alexa, add Bose headphones to my wishlist.”
And just like that you can keep your loved ones informed of what you’d like for the holidays!

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

4. Voice Shopping and Tracking

Gift boxes wrapped in butcher paper with red and white bows

Embrace living in the future by shopping hands-free! Let your smart assistant do all of the heavy lifting, tracking, and coordination while also saving yourself the drive to the mall and the wait in the checkout line.

  • On Alexa, simply say “Alexa, add Bose headphones to my Amazon cart.” Once you’re done adding items to your order, say, “Alexa, check out.” to complete your transaction. She will restate the products in your cart, including the total number of items and the total cost including tax and shipping. Then, she will ask you, “Do you want to buy now?” When you respond with “yes,” Alexa will purchase the items using your default payment method.
  • On Google, say “Hey Google, talk to Walmart.”

Alexa Pro Tip: You can ask Alexa for the latest deals on Amazon. Just ask, “Alexa, what are my top deals?”

Alexa Reminders — You can track your Prime orders on your Alexa device, simply say, “Alexa, where’s my stuff?”
Did you know that you can suppress the info during the holidays so that it doesn’t tell you what’s in the package and possibly ruin a surprise?!

5. Control Your Holiday Decorations

Christmas tree with sparkling white lights

No more need to crawl under a tree or go outside in the cold to turn lights on or off. Use Alexa or Google enabled smart lights or smart plugs this year and have your devices assist you no matter the location or temperature!

We hope that you found these 5 hacks helpful. Check back next week for part 2 of this list, where we’ll go over some of our favorite hacks for hosting a holiday event!


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