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Quote of the Day

"I went there and I vaccinated Santa Claus myself" – Dr. Anthony Fauci answering kids' Christmas concerns. A beautiful santament.


The Story

Several countries are shutting out the UK.

Is this about Brexit?

No, actually. It's about COVID-19. And the spread of a new strain of the coronavirus there. Over the weekend, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the toughest restrictions since March – backtracking on a planned relaxation of rules for the holidays. Now, about 21 million people are under a strict lockdown in London, southeast and eastern England, where they can't leave their homes except for essential reasons, like traveling for work or school. And residents "cannot continue with Christmas as planned." Canada and at least nine countries in Europe – including France, Belgium, Italy, Ireland, Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands – are halting travel from the UK, causing mayhem at train stations and airports in the country's capital. Countries across South America, the Middle East, and Asia are also issuing travel restrictions.

I stopped reading after 'a new strain of the coronavirus.'

Fair enough. Let's get to it then: Health officials in the UK found evidence of a more infectious and "out of control" variant (read: mutation) of the coronavirus. It could be up to 70% more transmissible than earlier variants. Cases have been found in the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, and Australia. But before the whole world hits the panic button all at once, scientists say mutations aren't unexpected. And so far, there's no sign that this one's deadlier. US Army scientists are reportedly looking into whether current vaccines will be effective against the new strain. But health experts think they should be. The EU is meeting today to discuss the bloc's response.


After a year of alarm bells ringing across the world, the news about a new strain doesn't help. As countries take steps to curb its spread, it's important to remember the tenets of 2020: social distance, wash your hands, wear a mask, repeat.

And Also...This

Where the coffee has been flowing strong…

Congress. Today, lawmakers are expected to vote on a $900 billion coronavirus relief package they (finally) agreed on yesterday. It's expected to include $300 in additional weekly unemployment benefits, $600 in one-time direct payments to most Americans, and hundreds of billions of dollars to small businesses. Not included: new funding for state and local govs. The two sides also decided to compromise over restrictions on the Fed's emergency powers. If passed, the package will be the second-largest stimulus package in US history following the CARES Act in March, which came in at more than $2 trillion. Lawmakers are tying the new relief package to a $1.4 trillion spending bill to fund the gov that's also due today (after multiple extensions). Because no one wants a gov shutdown in the middle of a pandemic.

Psst…Here are some ideas for how to spend another stimulus check if you get one.

What doesn't mind coming in second…

Moderna. On Friday, the FDA approved the company's coronavirus vaccine for emergency use among people 18 and older. And yesterday, the first of about 6 million doses began to ship out to more than 3,000 locations across the country, including medical facilities. The first shots could be given out today and are expected to go to health care workers and nursing home residents. And would add to the mass vaccination effort that began with Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine last week – giving Americans two viable, safe options.

...Oh and speaking of vaccination efforts, Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart are apparently asking the gov to classify their workers as essential and receive early vaccine access. The request came as a CDC advisory group has recommended people ages 75+ and front-line essential workers be next in line to get immunized.

What's got people pointing fingers...

The recent cyberattacks. On Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Russia for the malicious hacks into gov networks that started as early as March. At least half a dozen gov agencies are known to have been targeted, compromising info from the Treasury and Commerce Depts. Now, Pompeo's pointing the finger at Russia, which has been suspected the whole time. It's denied the allegations. But President-elect Joe Biden is already considering things like financial sanctions and cyberattacks on Moscow in retaliation. Meanwhile, President Trump has suggested without evidence that "it may be China" and that the election results could have been compromised, too. (Key word: without evidence.)

Who's in a new position...

Ariana Grande.


Everyday routines might not look like they used to, but that isn't holding people back from making big life choices. Example one: Home sales hit 14-year highs in October. If you're looking to buy (we see you, near-zero interest rates), shop around before signing on the dotted line. Example two: According to one study, 34% of couples plan to have kids ahead of their pre-coronavirus schedule. If your fam is growing, meet the 529 plan: a tax-friendly account where you invest money for future education expenses. Like your kid's college tuition.

No matter what decisions you're making, Northwestern Mutual can help. By providing a personalized financial plan that balances your now goals and your later goals. (Yes, even during a pandemic.) Check them out.


Here are our favorite picks to help you take a break today…

1. How to make a small but special Christmas menu. Step 1: locate chestnuts. Step 2: roast them on an open fire. Kidding. Here's how to have a holly jolly Xmas dinner, even if it's just for two.

2. A tool to help you drink smarter this holiday season.'s Virtual Bar app can tell you how you'll ~feel~ based on what you eat and how fast you drink. Plus how long it would take for your BAC to return to zero. Hint: probably longer than you think. Thank you, science.*

3. Holiday Zoom backgrounds for your virtual party needs. "Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal" takes on a whole new meaning when your co-workers can actually see all your laundry behind you. These festive backgrounds to the rescue.

PS: Want more? Sign up to get weekly recs in your inbox.

*PS: This is a sponsored post.


For when you stan all things Netflix and Shondaland...

Meet their new period drama, "Bridgerton." We invited the anonymous (and extremely witty) narrator to this century to give her Regency-era take on some modern topics. Like what to do when no one's swiping right on you. You don't wanna miss it.*

For when you're looking for more ways to give back this year…

Gift with purpose. Every time you purchase Old Navy holiday masks and use curbside or in-store pickup between now and 12/24, they'll donate $10 to This Way ONward, a job opportunity program for young people. Now that's a great way to holiday.*

For when you're ready to stuff some stockings…

'Tis the season. Get $10 ExtraBucks Rewards when you spend $50 on select gift cards at CVS. So you can get even more presents. Like canvas prints or ornaments with your dog's face on them, which you can get the same day you order them for 30% off. Check out the deals now.*

*PS: This is a sponsored post.


In times like these, community matters more than ever. Let us know how you (or someone you know) is making an impact by helping others.

Let's be jolly...Katie J (CA). She and her husband launched a website that shares videos of Christmas light displays from around the world. They created it for those who are unable to leave their home or celebrate holiday traditions due to restrictions. Light it up.

Take a bow...Samantha C (TX). During the shutdown, she started a virtual theater company that now has 250 professional actors as members. They perform Shakespeare via Zoom. Play it here.

(Some) Birthdays...Amanda Aprati (IL), Abby Horowitz (PA), Taylor Kooken (TX), Jenna Thayer (MI), Mary Gallagher (NY), Colette Southerton (PA), Andrea Singer (VA), Laura DePetro (GA), Randi Hanson (ND ), Mackenzie Cutruzzula (MD), Morgan Cole (SC), Hilary Gahring (TX), Marisa Whitbey (MI), Monique Ellenbogen (NY)

*Paging all members of theSkimm. Reach out here for a chance to be featured.

Skimm’d by Maria del Carmen Corpus, Kamini Ramdeen, Niven McCall-Mazza, Clem Robineau, and Julie Shain