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Holiday Alexa hacks and commands to get you into the Christmas spirit

Plus, a trick for your Christmas lights that will make you feel like Clark Griswold.

Your Amazon Echo is super handy during the holidays.
Angela Lang/CNET

Take time to relax this holiday season by letting your Amazon Echo smart speaker or display help with the seasonal festivities by playing your favorite holiday songs, shopping for last-minute gifts and entertaining your family. Your Amazon Echo device can also get you into the Christmas spirit -- Alexa can make you feel like the Griswold you are, for example, by turning on all the Christmas lights with just a command (without the citywide blackout, of course). Amazon's voice assistant can also let you know when the gifts you ordered will arrive.

You can use these Alexa skills when you want to impress your family -- even family you won't be able to spend time with this holiday season. These features require little to no setup, and they're super easy to use. Keep reading to find fun Amazon Echo hacks and commands you can use for the holidays.

Read more: Check out the 2021 CNET Gift Guide


Turn your festive lights on with Alexa and a smart plug.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Control your smart lights with Alexa

Too cold to go outside and unplug all those lights you have strung around your house? No problem -- you can automate the lights to instantly turn on and off at specific times using the Alexa app. For example, you may only want the lights on when it's dark out, so program them to turn on at sunset and off at sunrise. Or you can set specific times, like turn on at 6 p.m. and off at 7 a.m. And if you've got a Christmas tree set up in your house, you can automate the lights for it, as well. Note that you'll need a smart plug for this to work.

Start by opening the Alexa app and select Routines from the menu. Tap the Plus (+) icon to add a new routine. Select When this happens. Next, select Schedule.

Here, you will be able to choose Sunrise or Sunset or set a specific time and select the days you want this routine to happen. Tap Next and then Add action. Select Smart Home and tap All Devices.

From here, select the smart plug that's connected to your lights. Then, toggle the power switch to On or Off, depending on which schedule you're setting up. Tap Next and then Save.

Read more: Best outdoor smart plugs for scheduling your Christmas lights


You can even light up your Christmas tree with one command.

Angela Lang/CNET

Track your gift purchases with Alexa

If you're curious about when a gift is going to arrive at your house from Amazon, you can ask Alexa to track your package. Just say, "Alexa, where are my packages?" and it'll let you know when they are expected to arrive. Your Echo's ring light will also light up yellow when there's a notification of a package that has arrived or is on the way.


Alexa knows when your gifts will make it to the house.

Angela Lang/CNET

Play Christmas music on your Echo speaker

Nothing makes wrapping gifts (and unwrapping them!) more exciting than having your favorite Christmas tunes playing on your Echo device in the background. If you're an Amazon Prime member, you can just say, "Alexa, play Christmas songs." If you're not, you can always connect your preferred music streaming service through the Alexa app -- or just download the Christmas Radio skill.

Send holiday greeting cards with Alexa

OK, so Alexa can't send physical holiday greeting cards, but the voice assistant can send digital greetings to other Alexa devices. You'll need to go to the Alexa Skill Blueprints page and select Hallmark Holiday Greeting. Then you can pick a greeting that best suits you and customize it with a personal message or recording. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete your holiday greeting.

When you're ready to send the holiday greeting to your loved ones, click Share With Others. The recipients will need to enable the skill on their Alexa device, and once they have it set up, they just need to say, "Alexa, open Holiday Greeting." Now they'll be able to hear your message.

Fun holiday commands to ask Alexa

Try out these Alexa holiday commands, too:

  • "Alexa, how many days until Christmas?"
  • "Alexa, play Christmas sounds."
  • "Alexa, Christmas tree."
  • "Alexa, read The Night Before Christmas."
  • "Alexa, add apple pie to my shopping list."
  • "Alexa, track Santa."
  • "Alexa, search for A Charlie Brown Christmas on Fire TV."
  • "Alexa, ask Santa Claus if I'm naughty or nice."
  • "Alexa, tell me a snowman joke."
  • "Alexa, what can you tell me about Santa's reindeer?"
  • "Alexa, create a gift list."
  • "Alexa, shop for kids' stocking stuffers."
  • "Alexa, will it snow on Christmas Day?"
  • "Alexa, wake me up at 7 a.m. to Jingle Bells."
  • "Alexa, open Christmas Kindness."
  • "Alexa, how many calories are in a Christmas pudding?"
  • "Alexa, tell me a Christmas story."
  • "Alexa, what's the best Christmas movie?"
  • "Alexa, what do you want for Christmas?"

Ready for more Amazon Echo tips? Check out these five surprising things you didn't know Amazon Echo could do and four places in your home you should never place your Amazon Echo. You can also find the list of every Alexa command here and a complete roundup of Alexa Easter eggs here.