News·4 min read

Daily Skimm Weekend: US v. Netherlands and Holiday Gifting

Tim Weah of the USMNT during a 2022 World Cup Group B match against Iran
Dec 3, 2022

On Watch

American soccer: Right now, the US men’s national team is facing off against the Netherlands in the round of 16 in the World Cup. (No, really, right now.) It’s a big deal, given that the USMNT hasn’t made it past this round since 2002. Will Americans tune in to watch?

The Story

For nearly two weeks, the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar has been hitting global airwaves with multiple games per day as teams from around the world competed in the group stage. Now 16 teams have to win or go home in the knockout stage, starting with the US v. Netherlands. Maybe, like tens of millions of others, you’ve been watching the World Cup in real time. Maybe you’ve been catching its highlights on social media. Or, maybe you’ve tuned out in protest of all its controversy. Regardless, more and more Americans have been following the World Cup lately. Fueling a shift in US fandom that’s been playing out for decades.

What do you mean?

The number of Americans who say soccer is their favorite sport to watch has gone up sevenfold in the last 30 years. No surprise, since Major League Soccer has only existed since 1996 in the US. Since then, its presence has grown, thanks to high school teams and major soccer events hosted here. (Think: The 1994 and 1999 men’s and women’s World Cup, respectively.) And you can’t talk about the sport’s growing popularity without crediting the success of the US women’s national team — including their 2019 World Cup victory. All of which has helped people tap into the sport’s appeal. This year’s US v. England game set a record for the most-watched men’s soccer match on US television, with a peak of nearly 20 million viewers. The sport should get even more of a boost in 2026, when the World Cup is coming right to Americans’ backyards.

theSkimm

Soccer may be the world’s most popular sport. That’s not the case in the US. At least for now. But many are catching on — and maybe even tuning in today to cheer on Team USA. Cross your fingers for a gooooal.

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Downtime

Downtime doesn’t have to mean doing nothing. Here’s one idea for making the most of your weekend.

The holiday shopping season is in full swing, so hopefully you’ve made your list and checked it twice. But no matter your shopping strategy, there’s bound to be at least a little stress. Think: Those notoriously picky friends and family members — not to mention stubbornly high inflation and fears of a recession. That’s why we’ve gathered some key tips to make holiday gift-giving a little more merry and bright.

  • Focus on their interests. Start with what they love to do. For an avid runner, that could mean upgraded gear, like a superior fitness tracker, or something pampering, like a foot massager. For someone who loves to cook, it might be a couple of your most beloved cookbooks. (Pro tip: Mark your go-to recipes to make it even more personal.) Or, use their interests to pick an experience they’d enjoy. Think: A cake-decorating class for a passionate baker or tickets to the ballet for a former dancer.

  • Elevate the everyday. Because, there’s no better feeling than knowing someone will actually use what you got them. If your mom still swears by paper planners, get one that’s a bit fancier than her standard. If your dad is your favorite walking buddy, help him step up his shoe game with a nice pair of sneakers. If your little one goes through coloring books quicker than actual books, get them a set of crayons that spell out their name.

  • Don’t be afraid to DIY. Your siblings or parents might not appreciate a homemade picture frame (unless, of course, you’re a pro woodworker). But they will appreciate a holiday treat, like hot chocolate mix or peppermint toffee bark.

  • Think outside the (gift) box. Feeling extra worried about your wallet? Trust us, you’re not the only one this year. Remember that you don’t have to get a present for each and every person — and that in this economy, others are likely feeling the same way. Instead, you could organize a Secret Santa or White Elephant exchange with your friends or family. Or, you could ditch gifts entirely and have everyone over for a holiday movie marathon, a game night, or even a home-cooked meal.


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