Three Easy Holiday Routines for Alexa

Alexa—help me make the holidays easier this year!

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Katie McEntire
Staff Writer, Safety & Security
December 20, 2022
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I don't know about you, but the holidays always seem to sneak up on me.

Between baking treats, wrapping presents, and visiting family, it can be easy to forget the little things like adjusting the lights. That’s why we decided to share a few simple smart home automations we made with Amazon's Echo speaker and some smart devices.

These smart home holiday hacks range from daily routines for your holiday lights to creative ideas for welcoming guests. We’ll take you through each one so you can spend more time enjoying the holidays instead of stressing!

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1. How to set up a daily routine for holiday lights

For our first holiday routine, we kept it simple. No need to make the busiest time of year more complicated.

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What you need:
  • Holiday string lights
  • Smart plug
  • Smart speaker

We downloaded and installed the mydlink app. Then we connected outdoor lights to a D-Link Wi-Fi outdoor smart plug. Next, we added the mydlink Home skill to the Amazon Alexa app and paired the smart plug to the Amazon speaker.

From there, we set a routine to turn the outside lights on at sunset—and off at midnight.

If you have a smart indoor plug too, you can do the same for your tree and any indoor lights and lamps. Once the season is over, you can remove this routine. Or just like my neighbor's Christmas lights, leave it up 'til next year.

2. How to set up a routine to welcome holiday guests

Parties are one of our favorite parts of the holiday season. And what's not to love? Gathering with friends and family, tasty food, cheesy holiday movies, and ugly sweaters—we’re big fans.

If you're throwing a holiday party this season, here's a routine that will welcome all of your guests as they arrive.

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What you need:
  • Smart light bulbs
  • Doorbell camera
  • Smart speaker

For this one, we used an Arlo doorbell, two Wyze bulbs, and an Amazon Echo Dot.

First, I downloaded the Arlo and Wyze apps and installed the doorbell cam and smart bulbs. Then I connected them to my speaker's app. After adding the Arlo and Wyze skills to my Amazon Alexa app, I set up the routines.

When someone rings the doorbell, the light bulbs are activated and my guests are welcomed with instant holiday cheer.

3. How to set the mood with a smart home routine

When you're settling in for a long winter's nap, sometimes you just need that little extra something to make things cozier. And when you’re getting cozy, the last thing you want to do is get up to adjust the lights or change the music.

We made sure we could stay bundled up on the sofa with a smart home routine that sets the perfect mood—without lifting a finger. We set up this home automation routine to have our smart speaker dim the lights and play our favorite holiday playlist while a crackling fire sizzles on the TV.

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What you need:
  • Smart light bulbs
  • Music playlist
  • Streaming device for TV
  • Smart speaker

We started by connecting a Roku account to Amazon's Alexa app. Once connected, we could use our voice to ask Alexa to turn on and off the TV. Whether you’ve got Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, or Fire TV, you can set up Alexa to turn on the TV and pull up holiday video options.

Next, we created a routine and called it "It's Christmas Eve." We added our smart lights and told Alexa to dim them by 25%. We also linked our speaker to a Spotify account and gave it a playlist to start with this routine along with the TV.

Once everything was set up, the only thing left to do was ask Alexa to "pull up fireplace on Roku." Voila! Instant cozy.

Unfortunately, we still have to manually select a video if we want to watch something other than the virtual yule log. But the press of a remote button isn't that inconvenient, especially if you’re already on the couch.

Parting thoughts

With lights and music, the mood fits like a glove. You can spend more time with the people you love. Smart gadgets and gizmos can be a real treat, but without your family and friends, they're just incomplete.

Now, go join the party and eat something tasty.
A safe season to all, and to all . . . keep it “safety.”

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