On the first day of Christmas… December is one of our favorite times of the year. We love the music, the lights, and the treats. I love spending time with the kids by the tree reading our favorite holiday books. This year we have a new addition to our holiday traditions! We’ve been exploring all of the Amazon Alexa Christmas skills and found some fun ways to enjoy our favorite holiday!
This post was sponsored by Amazon as part of an Ambassador Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS WITH AMAZON ALEXA
We have quite a few Christmas traditions we enjoy as a family. Some of the ones that have stuck for us year after year include:
- Listening to Christmas carols starting right after Thanksgiving
- Elf on the Shelf
- Visiting Santa and getting photos taken
- Advent Calendars
- Decorating gingerbread houses
- Reading a holiday book each night
- Watching our favorite holiday movies
The past few years we’ve also been doing the 12 Days of Socks calendars. My kids look forward to doing something holiday related each day in December. I love seeing their excitement. Some of our traditions are ones that Justin and I have continued from our childhoods and others are new ones for our family.
We’ve also become huge fans of Amazon Alexa. We have a few devices that are Alexa-enabled and we’ve used Alexa for everything from playing music and listening to stories to checking dates and figuring out conversions in the kitchen. I’m pretty sure Alexa can make almost anything around the house easier and more entertaining.
This year my kids have their own Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition so we’ve been exploring some of the holiday fun available with Alexa! We’ve been using our Alexa in our house with the kids, but it’s great to have a version that was created especially for them. The Echo Dot Kids Edition comes with an Echo Dot with a brightly colored and kid-friendly case, a WHOLE YEAR or FreeTime Unlimited, and Amazon’s 2-year worry-free guarantee.
It’s been a lot of fun to explore all of the new holiday-themed content on Echo Dot Kids Edition and FreeTime on Alexa! We’ve come up with 12 ways that Amazon Alexa can help you celebrate and start new traditions this year!
12 AMAZON ALEXA CHRISTMAS SKILLS YOU HAVE TO TRY
1. NAUGHTY OR NICE?
We do a special photo shoot with a local photographer each year where the kids visit Santa and get to find their name on the nice list.
Amazon Alexa has a fun way to start a similar tradition thanks to Alexa skills. The kids can say, “Alexa, ask Santa if I’m naughty or nice,” to find out which list they’re on!
We’ve been using the Santa Claus Skill that is free to enable. It will ask a few questions to determine which list you’re on!
2. DEAR SANTA
If you have a tradition of writing letters to Santa, the Dear Santa Alexa Skill is so much fun to play with. It’s super easy for the kids to use too. All they have to say is, “Alexa, Open Dear Santa.”
They can talk to Santa and tell them about good behavior and add items to their wishlist. The coolest thing for me as a mom is that the items they ask Santa for are emailed to me!
If you’re looking for a way to find out what your kids are hoping to find under the tree this year, it’s a fun way to build on the letter writing tradition!
3. CHRISTMAS CAROLING
Just say “Alexa, open Christmas Radio,” and start listening to some of your favorite Christmas songs! The Christmas Radio skill is free to enable and is a fun way to enjoy the music of the season!
It plays songs that I haven’t heard in forever! I love the wide selection featured with the skill and it’s great to have the continuous holiday music that’s free! We didn’t try it until December, but I’ve heard some people say they were able to use to listen to Christmas music in October!
If you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber or have Amazon Music Unlimited, you can also use those to have Alexa play pretty much any Christmas song you can name!
4. COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS
Carrigan loves counting down! In addition to their advent calendars, we have at least three other things around the house that let her countdown the days until Christmas! Asking Alexa for an update is one of her favorite ways to use her Echo Dot Kids Edition!
The Christmas Countdown skill is easy for her to use and she likes being able to check in each morning (and sometimes each night and at lunch too)!
5. KINDNESS MATTERS
It’s so easy to get caught up in our own things during the holiday season. But it’s also a season of giving and caring which is something I really want to focus on with the kids. I was thrilled to discover the Christmas Kindness skill.
Each morning one of the kids says, “Alexa, Ask Christmas Kindness for an idea” and we get a suggestion for a random act of kindness! All of the suggestions have been easy to do. Sometimes I complete them on my own, but the kids always ask after school. If we can do them together, we do and I plan to do more once they’re out of school for winter break!
6. LIGHT UP THE LIGHTS
If you have Alexa-enabled Christmas lights or Amazon Smart Plugs that work with Alexa, the kids can use the Echo Dot Kids Edition to turn the Christmas lights on and off! This is one of Carrigan’s favorite “chores” this time of year. Being able to have Alexa help her makes something she loves even more fun for her!
7. CHRISTMAS JOKES THAT WILL HAVE YOU CHUCKLING
If you know us, you know my kids love jokes and riddles. The love to ask Alexa to tell them jokes so the Christmas Jokes skill has been fun for them. I will warn you that the kids LOVE the jokes which usually gets me laughing. They’re cheesy but they’re kind of perfect during this time of year.
8. CHRISTMAS SOUNDS BEYOND THE CAROLS
A friend recommended the Christmas Sounds skill to me and it’s a pretty cool way to listen to the sounds of the season.
When you say “Alexa, play Christmas Sounds” to really make it feel like Christmas. It doesn’t play Christmas songs. Instead, it features sounds like animals, Christmas carolers, and other peaceful sounds. I think it would be perfect for entertaining or just background when we’re opening gifts!
I’ve been using it while I work during the day. I love sitting next to the tree with the Christmas Sounds playing in the background.
9. WINTER HOLIDAY FACTS AND FUN
Weston loves learning interesting facts about different topics. We’ve been trying out the Winter Holiday Facts skill. It’s pretty simple and so far he seems to like it. It’s one of our most recent additions so we’re learning what it can do as we go!
Some of the questions we’ve asked so far include:
- Where does Santa Claus live?
- How old is Santa Claus?
- What do you know about Santa’s reindeer?
You can also ask for a random fact!
I think you can ask “Is Santa Claus real?” but I keep forgetting to do it when the kids are at school. It’s an answer I definitely need to screen first. But it’s also a topic that has started to come up at school for Weston so I’m trying to be prepared!
10. TRACKING SANTA
I think I’m most excited to try out the NORAD Track Santa skill this year! Tracking Santa is something I’ve always done or it feels that way! We usually track him using our web browser but this year we plan to use the Echo Dot Kids Edition.
This app is free to enable but does require a parent or guardian’s permission. Once it’s enabled it’s easy to activate by saying, “Alexa, where’s Santa?”
NORAD tracks Santa across the world on Christmas Eve. It also offers facts from the Top-Secret Santa files. I’m looking forward to making this part of our Santa tracking Christmas Eve tradition this year!
11. THE STORIES OF CHRISTMAS
Twas the Night Before Christmas and A Christmas Carol are two stories that many of us enjoy during the holiday season. For a fun take on the way you share them with your family, use Alexa with your Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition.
Both skills are free to enable. The A Christmas Carol skill opens when you say “Alexa, open A Christmas Carol” or “Alexa, start A Christmas Carol.” The story is broken down into two parts that are both 30 minutes long to make it easier for families!
Enable The Night Before Christmas skill to hear The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore. It lasts about three minutes and is a fun, new twist on one of our Christmas Eve traditions. All your kids have to say is “Alexa, open The Night Before Christmas” or “Alexa, start The Night Before Christmas.”
12. SANTA PALS
The Santa Pals skill is kind of an all-in-one Christmas package. The kids become one of Santa’s pals and can do everything from play games, feed Santa’s reindeer, check their Elf Rank, get weather reports, listen to the North Pole Radio, track Santa, and more!
It’s free to enable and can be launched by saying, “Alexa, open Santa Pals.” Then the fun begins. If your kids like earning rewards and playing games, this is the skill for you!
They can earn Peppermint Points for some of the activities and as they earn points they’ll be promoted! The goal is to become Head Elf!
There are so many ways that Amazon Alexa can make our lives easier, but the Alexa Skill Blueprints during the holidays have become one of my favorite things. The kids love using them independently and it’s fun to see them use technology in different ways!
I love how easy it is for them to interact with Alexa and they’ve gotten a lot more experience using all of the holiday skills.
With the Echo Dot Kids Edition with FreeTime Unlimited this year, I’m feeling much more confident about them using it on their own. It includes parental controls on the Parent Dashboard so I can choose which services and skills they use.
This means I can turn off voice purchasing. They don’t use it intentionally but I love that I can make sure nothing is ordered on accident!
FreeTime Unlimited on Alexa also includes an amazing amount of content that I know my kids will continue using after the holidays. It has over 300 Audible kids’ books, kid-friendly radio stations, and even character alarms!
If you’re like me and you’re a parent who is always on the hunt for kid-friendly technology, Amazon voice service is a huge asset with FreeTime Unlimited on Amazon. It’s available on Echo devices starting at $2.99 a month. If you already subscribe to FreeTime Unlimited then you can access FreeTime Unlimited on Alexa content at no additional cost!