This post is sponsored by Amazon Devices & Services.
In our home, bookends are important–not the kind that hold up books, but the kind that hold our days together. Our daily bookends are the way we start our day and the way we end our day. Lord knows it falls apart in the middle sometimes, but it all seems to work out when we focus on making our start and finish as best as it can be. For mornings, that means as much calm and joy as possible (lights dimmed, candles lit, music playing, etc.) to balance the hustle of getting out the door; and for night time that means connection–bringing the family back together after being apart from each other all day.
This time of year, of course, we weave some holiday joy into our bookends. We only have a short time to enjoy it, so we find as many places in our week to infuse it.
So I asked our ol’ girl Alexa how she could help bring some of our much-loved holiday traditions and routines to our bookends.
In our home, Alexa means our Echo Show, an Echo, an Echo Dot Kids Edition as well as Amazon smart plugs and smart bulbs. The fun part comes with setting up Routines and Blueprints to make our devices work together in a way that’s personalized to fit our life–and by life, I mean holiday enthusiasm. Technology doesn’t have to compete with family connection–it can support it and make things a little more convenient so you can spend your time doing what you love most.
For our morning bookend, the mood starts with me. I’m always the first one up, and my mood sets the tone for the family’s, so it’s important to me to grab that morning by the reins and begin as positively as possible. I light a candle, start my coffee (I’m a french press girl, so I boil water on the stove old school style) and tell Alexa to “Start my morning routine.” That morning routine can be customized in the Alexa app–news, weather, a motivational podcast, your favorite playlist, a 7-minute workout–whatever works for you.
I keep my morning routine pretty simple this time of year. My Echo Show starts playing my favorite Christmas playlist, and my Christmas tree lights turn on.
“Alexa, more whipped cream.”
As the morning progresses, the kids can play holiday music in their rooms from their Kids’ Edition Echo Dots, but I admit, what they’re often requesting of Alexa sounds more like, “Alexa, Fart!” (she will), or “Alexa, how many more days until Christmas?” (she’ll tell you).
I do love that I can send announcements to their rooms from Alexa–“Time for breakfast kids!” or “Three more minutes–put your shoes on please!”
One of my favorite ways we’ve been utilizing Alexa lately though is in our evening routine. We are always looking for ways to feel more connected to family far away, especially during the holidays. Now, my mom can read my kids chapters of the Christmas book they’re tackling together all the way from New York. The kids sit at the counter with their hot cocoa, and they can see her reading from the screen of our Echo Show.
Now Dash’s favorite is asking Alexa to call Grandma Krissy.
At any given time throughout the day, we can also ask Alexa to play Audible, and she’ll pick up right where the last book that played on Audible left off.
We’re still finding so many little tricks that our Alexa devices can do, but for right now we have our bookends taken care of.
“Alexa, more twinkle lights!”