Research commissioned by Amazon (conducted by Lonergan Research) has identified that more than half of Aussies (58%) find making time for all the shopping and Christmas prep the most stressful part of the holiday. That’s why Zoe Marshall has teamed up with Amazon Alexa this Christmas – as someone who is a busy mum of two, Zoe understands the importance of saving time (and sanity) to deliver peace of mind and ease the mental load across the holiday season.

Personally I am absolutely guilty of having no time for all the needful for Christmas. This year between managing two teenagers with different school finish times, my daughter on the transition to prep in 2024 has already chewed up the bulk of my time. On top of that work is traditionally busy across this period (made worse by COVID and years of logistic issues with supply), plus of course, DRN. The task of managing Christmas is akin to hanging onto the coat tail of a runaway tiger and hoping that I can stay on and not get mauled.

Zoe Marshall, founder and host of “The Deep” podcast shares her tips to bring some structure to the chaos.

Zoe Marshall

What does the festive season look like in your house? A beautifully lit tree with perfectly wrapped presents underneath? A constant hum of Christmas carols in the air while everyone smiles ear to ear? It sounds lovely but it’s not the reality for many of us. If you’re like me, you’ll be madly trying to tick off a long to-do list, buying gifts, searching for recipes for the perfect Christmas meal and trying to wrangle the fam to get to events on time.

The festive season often carries with it a whirlwind of emotions amid the celebrations. While there is a heap of joy and excitement, many of us can also get swept up into a state of stress and dread around the pressures. New research* has identified the top stress triggers for Aussies in the lead up to the holidays include:

  • The amount of money spent at Christmas (70%)
  • Finding the right gift (65%)
  • Finding time for all the shopping and prep that comes with Christmas (58%)

1. “Alexa, Start Christmas”

To up your festive game and bring some Christmas family fun to your household, simply say “Alexa, start Christmas”. You can pick from a bunch of festive content – think stories, trivia, Christmas crackers, which Christmas character am I? and more. My son, Fox, loves having a laugh over Alexa’s festive farts… yes, festive farts, and I love a good sing-along with Alexa to my favourite classic Christmas tunes!

2. Reminders

Do your kids love their Elf on the Shelf as much as mine but do you also forget to move the Elf each night on the regular? Setting nightly reminders to move the beloved “Elf on the Shelf” is a lifesaver. Simply say, “Alexa, remind me to move the Elf on the Shelf at 8pm.”

3. Shopping List

With a simple voice command, adding last-minute essentials for Christmas cooking and entertaining to your shopping list is easy. Try saying “Alexa, add nutmeg to my shopping list.” No more handwritten lists as you head to the grocery store, and multiple people can add to the list – a huge benefit for my busy household! You can access the list from your Alexa app so you can maximise trips out – after all, time is precious. Better yet, you can add items directly to your cart to buy from and, if this option is available for your purchases, have them delivered directly to your door.

4. Festive Ambience

Alexa can also help with your Christmas lights! All you need is a smart plug, then igniting the joy is as simple as saying, “Alexa, turn on the Christmas tree.” It’ll save you and your partner from fighting over who needs to crawl under the tree to turn it on. Better yet, combine it with “Alexa, play festive tunes” to create a fun and festive atmosphere.

5. Recipes

Almost a third of Aussies (32%) say that cooking is their least favourite thing about the holidays – but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re like me and are always in need of inspiration for the perfect Christmas ham recipe then look no further than Alexa. Thousands of recipes and culinary guidance is just an ask away. Whether providing access to hands-free cooking instructions or searching for inspiration, Alexa can help make festive cooking hassle-free. Just say, “Alexa, show me a Christmas ham recipe.” You can also quickly ask Alexa to set multiple timers for different dishes, or ask for measurement conversions like: “Alexa, how many tablespoons are in a cup?”

6. Calendar Management

By syncing family calendars with Alexa, the silly season schedule can be kept in check! Simply ask, “Alexa, what’s on my calendar today?” With multiple events, often on the same day, shared calendars ensure that everyone stays updated and you can remember which in-law’s or friend’s house you’ll be heading to next.

7. Jingle Bells Alarm

To make Christmas morning a little more festive, try setting the children’s wake-up alarm to cheerful Jingle Bells. And if your kids are like mine and don’t need an alarm on Christmas morning (because let’s face it, what kid does?!), buy yourself a little extra shut eye by letting them know that the sound of Jingle Bells mean Santa has visited and it’s safe to emerge from their beds. Simply utter, “Alexa, wake me up at 7am to Jingle Bells.”

8. Christmas Countdown

Most importantly, Alexa can help remind certain household members *cough, cough, partners, kids, friends* how many days are remaining until Christmas – ensuring they’ve left enough time to find the perfect gift (for you). Not only does it give you the day count, it also adds to excitement with fun recordings and festive features to try. In moments of need, just ask: “Alexa, how many days til’ Christmas?”