Preparing for the holidays can be exhausting — especially if you’re the one preparing and hosting the huge Thanksgiving feast. However, it doesn’t have to be as stressful as you think if you use your Amazon Echo ($60 at Amazon) device to help you out. The Alexa voice assistant can be of service to you if you don’t know how to cook a turkey, forgot to order something essential or if you just need a nice cocktail after a long day.
Instead of stressing out over what to do next, let Alexa assist you so you can spend time with your family rather than freaking out because you forgot to set the cooking timer. Here are 10 ways Alexa can help you out this Thanksgiving.
Who doesn’t forget at least one thing they went to the grocery for? Fortunately, Alexa can keep a running shopping list for you so you won’t forget anything. Just say “Alexa, create a shopping list” and then you can start adding items as you go.
If you want to know everything you’ve added to the list, you can either ask Alexa what’s on your grocery list or you can view it in the Alexa app.
As with a grocery list, Alexa can also keep a to-do list for you. Just say “Alexa, create a to-do list” and name it “Thanksgiving” so you can easily find it. Then you can add your tasks for the day, like thawing the turkey and setting the table. When you’re ready to hear what’s on your plate for the day, just say “Alexa, what’s on my to-do list?”
Keeping all the things that need to get done on Thanksgiving day in one place can help you cut through or delegate the seemingly never-ending list in no time.
One area of Alexa’s skill catalog that is particularly rich is recipe and cooking skills. Five of the most notable are Allrecipes, Best Recipes (from Hellmann’s), Betty Crocker and Food Network.
Not only will these skills offer up some recipes to try, they will tell you the ingredients needed and walk you through the process. Food Network lets you look up recipes by chef or TV show. Allrecipes will send directions to your phone. Betty Crocker will tell you how long it will take to cook a ham. And Best Recipes will give you recipes for the ingredients you already have.
Choosing the right turkey is difficult — will there be enough? Too many leftovers? But, if you prepare with the Turkey Planner skill, Alexa will tell you how much turkey you need based on the number of guests coming over. It will also let you know how long you need to cook it.
Just say, “Alexa, ask Turkey Planner how long it will take to cook a 12-pound turkey,” or, “Alexa, ask Turkey Planner what size of turkey is needed for 10 people.”
Setting timers on your stove, microwave and phone can be a nightmare — especially when you’re trying to figure out which timer goes to the ham and which one goes to the pie. So when you go to set the timer, think twice about using one of those and use your Echo device.
Not only can you create several concurrent timers, but you can name them so you can easily keep everything straight. Say “Alexa, start a three-hour turkey timer” or “Alexa, create a stuffing timer for 30 minutes.” To check on your timers, just say “Alexa, how much time is left on the turkey timer?”
When you’re having several guests over for Thanksgiving dinner, it’s a nice touch to have a selection of wine, spirits or beer on hand. With skills like The Bartender, What Beer? and MySomm, you can easily find drinks that go best with the food you’ll be serving.
Preparing a huge meal for a group of people is already arduous — but add an energetic kid who wants to help you cook can make you crazy when you’re strapped for time. Let Alexa assist you by telling your kid(s) a short bedtime story to put them to sleep.
Unlike Christmas or Halloween, Thanksgiving doesn’t exactly have a specific type of music to go along with it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t play music. There are plenty of great Thanksgiving playlists to choose from on Spotify, Pandora and Amazon Prime Music. Just say, “Alexa, play Thanksgiving music.”
If you’re too busy to run to the store (again) before Thanksgiving, use Alexa to quickly order last-minute essentials. You can order everything from cling wrap to a new turkey baster. All you have to do is ask.
If you have Prime Now in your area, you can have whatever you need shipped to your door same-day (this requires an Amazon Prime account). Just say “Alexa, I’d like to purchase [item]” and then say “Buy it now” to confirm your order.
You’ll need to enable voice ordering and 1-Click ordering to make purchases through your Echo device. Open the Alexa app > Menu > Settings > Account Settings > Voice Purchasing and toggle the Purchase by voice setting on. You can also create a voice code so that only you can make Amazon purchases using your Echo.
Finally, if your family has a tradition of going shopping after scarfing down Thanksgiving dinner, you can use the Black Friday Calendar skill to check store hours for Black Friday. (Let’s be honest, we’re also checking for Thanksgiving Day hours now).
Just say “Alexa, ask Black Friday Calendar for Target hours.” It works for stores including Walmart, Best Buy, Bed Bath and Beyond, GameStop, Home Depot, Lowe’s and many more.