Amazon Echo is super popular this Christmas, so it’s safe to say that there’ll be plenty of excited children and puzzled parents trying to figure out Alexa-equipped kit this year.
The best way to embrace new tech is to jump right in, so why not let Alexa run your home this holiday? We take a look at how this little speaker can seamlessly integrate into your household and give you the best Christmas holiday yet…
While the holidays are at a time for catching up on the sleep cruelly snatched from you during the working week, at some point you’ll probably need to be up before lunchtime.
Luckily, Alexa can set alarms - just tell it the time you want to wake up and it’s done. If you’ve had a stressful week and need a few more minutes, you can always snooze it with little more than a grunt.
Once you’re awake, there’s no better way to get a much needed injection of enthusiasm for the day than with music. Echo works with Spotify, Prime Music, and plays anything uploaded to your Amazon account from iTunes.
If you’ve got a Bluetooth speaker or a multi-room setup like Sonos, you can motivate the whole house too. To get started, search for the ‘Sonos’ in the Alexa app on your phone, install the skill, and follow the instructions).
Speak to family, reconnect with past friends, call in sick to work after a day on the Advocaat - whoever you need to call this festive season, why put yourself out by holding the phone to your ear?
When you open the app on your phone, your contacts should sync automatically. Just make sure you ask to call the person by their name in your phone book.
At the moment, you can only make calls to other Alexa devices or to mobile phones with the Alexa app installed.
However, Alexa users in the US can call any phone number, so it’s only a matter of time before this update reaches us here.
Life is full of questions: Why are we here? What is reality? Do I need I need a jumper today?
Alexa answers most questions quickly and accurately (providing you aren’t in the middle of an existential crisis). Ask about the weather, maths problems, what Zack from the Saved by the Bell is doing now - anything that peaks your interest.
If cooking isn’t your strong point, or you fancy learning something new, Alexa can read recipes for meals and cocktails while you make them. You can use it to set timers, add things to your shopping list, and even ask what meal you can make with leftovers or a nearly bare cupboard.
To get started, just search for ‘All Recipes’ in the Alexa app.
Smashing a full selection box for breakfast is certainly in the spirit of Christmas, but it won’t do your waistline any favours.
What will, however, is a quick daily 7workout. Designed to help you shed weight and feel more energetic, 7-Minute Workout is an exercise you can do it every day wherever you are.
To give it a go, search for ‘7-Minute Workout’ in the Alexa app. There are other apps to take your through Yoga and different workout, so it’s worth searching the skills
Start 7-Minute Workout
If you watch TV using Amazon Fire TV, you can control it using your Echo (great if you’ve misplaced the tiny remote again).
You can search for shows and genres, play your favourite programs, and search within apps like Netflix.
The holidays are great time to catch up on your reading, so run a bath, get comfortable, and ask Alexa to read you an audiobook.
To do this, you need an audio book compatible app on your phone, like Audible or Kindle.
If you live on a noisy street and are struggling to sleep, or need a few minutes peace from the carnage of a family Christmas, Alexa can play soothing relaxation sounds to help your unwind.
It’s done using an app called Sleep Sounds - just search for it in the Alexa app to make it available.
Alexa, open Sleep Sounds
Hopefully this is enough to get you started with Alexa.
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