You'd think that, with Christmas mere days away, we'd be enjoying the holiday season with mulled wine and family time galore. But nah. Instead, its likely most of us are scrambling to finish shopping, wrapping and cooking whatever roast beast our family wants, all while attempting to complete those work projects that just keep popping up.
Relaxing? Nope. While joyous and wonderful, the holidays can also be anything but namaste. Luckily, you can look no further than your trust friend Alexa to provide some much-needed "me time."
This year, digital and creative agency Deutsch NY partnered with their artificial intelligence division, Great Machine, to create a wintry guided meditation that is perfect for the season. Enter: The Holiday Chill.
“[The Holiday Chill] demonstrates how that spirit of creative innovation and collaboration is thriving at Deutsch,” said Deutsch NY CEO Val DiFebo in a statement. “We wanted to do something fun, something interesting, and something that gave people a little laugh, but more importantly, a chance to take a break from all of the craziness that comes with wrapping up the year…because we all definitely need it!”
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Essentially, The Holiday Chill is the guided meditation all of us who, well, can't stand meditation, yet need to calm down before the new year hits.
The idea to create this brand-new program started internally at the agency, while they were discussing the Amazon Echo's they planned to send to clients and close agency friends.
"Since the skill would inherently be public, we thought, 'why not make something everyone could enjoy?'" says Deutsch NY Group Creative Director Able Parris. "And since we’ve been meditating together at the office, and the holidays are kind of stressful for many folks, it seemed like a great opportunity to bring all those things together. Plus, what better wintry character to chill us out than Jack Frost?"
The entire creation process, from conception to the finished product, was about four weeks -- and the team was so passionate about The Holiday Chill, they worked on it during their free time! Not only was artificial intelligence which would withstand the tough critics of Amazon Echo needed, but additional design -- including the video above and the logo below -- were required.
The Holiday Chill logo (above) can be seen on the Amazon skill page and was an added challenge for the team.
“We wanted it to feel non-denominational but also festive, so we worked around an idealized green ornament," says Roger Bova, head of design. "From there, the type that took over the need to feel warm and cheerful, so we broke the type up a bit to give it a hand-touched, rough feel. It came together like a little chill, holiday badge of cool.”
And come together it did. Overall, the team is happy with what The Holiday Chill accomplishes for users. In fact, Parris states that the entire experience is shockingly visual, despite it being a purely audio meditation.
"Jack Frost takes us on a wonderful journey through his world, and it really does calm you down," Parris says. "We just about fell asleep in the recording booth!”
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While there are no plans for Holiday Chill expansion right now, DiFebo hopes that it will inspire everyone to add a little more balance to their lives and take some time this weekend (and beyond) for a bit more inner peace.
So how do you score some holiday chill? Any Amazon Echo users can enable the meditation on their device by saying "Alexa, enable Holiday Chill." After that, you can get going anytime by telling your Echo, "Alexa, start Holiday Chill." You can use it more than once, too! It was designed to take you on a slightly different meditation path each time you use it, so the experience will always be different.
Will you be taking advantage of The Holiday Chill? Tell us below!