The 5 best Shortcuts recipes for the holidays

Holiday Shortcuts
Holiday Shortcuts (Image credit: Joseph Keller/iMore)

Shortcuts are often great tools for making your lives easier or even more fun, and those capabilities really show themselves during the holiday season. You can use shortcuts to automate tasks like turning on your Christmas lights, get a countdown to the holidays, play holiday music, or even update your gift list.

The shortcuts that I've collected here are perfect for the holiday season, adding both convenience and fun to your routines and celebrations.

Holiday Countdown

Holiday Countdown (Image credit: iMore)

This shortcut, from u/TheJoeyGuy on Reddit, is great for multiple holidays. Tap it, and you'll be asked to select a holiday from New Year's Day, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Eve. You'll then be asked about the unit you want the answered displayed in (weeks, days, hours, minutes, or seconds, or the exact amount of time. Finally, the time will be displayed in a simple modal alert box in whichever units you've selected.

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Seasonal Tunes

Seasonal tunes (Image credit: iMore)

I built this shortcut this way because I wanted not only something that would start playing Christmas music at the tap of a button, but one that I could also use to play music all year-round. This shortcut checks the current date, and if it's between December 1 and December 25 (my hard dates for the Christmas season), then it'll play from Apple Music's Christmas Essentials playlist. Otherwise, it will play from my Chill Mix. It also starts by asking for a playback location such as your iPhone or HomePod.

If you want to change the date range, playlists, or any of the other blue variables, simply tap them and insert your desired values. Also, on the playlist actions, tap the arrow next to Show More to choose whether you want your playlists to shuffle or if you want a song or the playlist to repeat.

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Seasonal Lights

Seasonal Lights (Image credit: iMore)

This shortcut was actually inspired by the previous Seasonal Tunes shortcut, but it just works with HomeKit instead of Apple Music. Again, the shortcut checks to see if it's between December 1 and December 25, then activates a particular scene depending on the date.

Note that you will need to add your own accessories or scenes to this shortcut.

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Gift List

Gift List (Image credit: iMore)

This shortcut utilizes the Notes app but should work fine with any note-taking app that supports an 'append' action in Shortcuts. This shortcut will filter your notes by name, and by default, I've set that name as 'Gift List,' though you can tap the name on the shortcut action to change it to the title of your own list. Then the note will ask you to enter the text you want to add to your note, which you can then enter and tap Done. Your text gets added to all notes that fit the title filter criteria.

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White Christmas

White Christmas (Image credit: iMore)

I modified this shortcut, originally from u/Dareeo on Reddit, to work with Apple Music instead of a weblink, and it's just a bit of holiday fun. This shortcut checks the weather in your area (or other specified location), and if it's snowing, it'll play "White Christmas" as sung by Bing Crosby. If it's not snowing, you'll be taken to the Weather app to be shown the current conditions in your area.

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Your holiday favorites

Do you have any shortcuts that you've discovered are great for the holiday season? Let us know in the comments.

Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.