The celebrations continue – Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Boxing Day are all happening today – and we’re going to indulge before someone says “New Year’s resolution.”
Hi, I’m Emily (in the pink hat). Ashley’s still living her best holiday life so Alex (in the red hat) and I are going to tell you the news.
But first, the Peloton husband gave his real-life girlfriend the exercise bike for Christmas. “Here’s hoping this goes over better the second time,” said the guy and every person on the Internet.
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The solid reason why gift receipts exist
Shopping for other people is hard. My mom said if you don’t like a gift, she’d rather you return it than keep it and not use it. (See, I do listen!) She’s on to something. This year, 77% of consumers plan to return some of their gifts, and nearly 20% expect to return more than half of them, according to a survey by Oracle, an online retail platform. This holiday season, returns are expected to peak Jan. 2 at 1.9 million – a 26% increase from last year. Remember: Local stores are going to have different policies from big-box or department stores. Here’s pro guidance on making returns.
Rhode Island: So hot right now
We don’t meant to get all nostalgic, but winters just aren’t what they used to be. And that’s a fact. During the past five decades, the Northeast warmed the most over both longer and shorter time spans as compared to other U.S. regions. And nowhere more so than Rhode Island. The state’s average temperature has increased 3.64 degrees compared with its 20th-century norm, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration records dating back to 1895. Other Northeast states trail closely: New Jersey came in 3.49 degrees warmer; Connecticut, 3.22; Maine, 3.17; Massachusetts, 3.05; and New Hampshire, 2.93. [Insert climate change joke? 🤷♀️ Nah, that feels cold.]
What everyone’s talking about
Kwanzaa begins today!
Kwanzaa is a weeklong celebration of African and African American culture that begins Thursday and ends Jan. 1. A different value is celebrated on each of the seven nights, marked by lighting candles on a holder called a kinara – three red candles, three green and a black candle at the center. USA TODAY national news desk editor N’Dea Yancey-Bragg breaks down everything you need to know about Kwanzaa.
Intermittent fasting. Dry January. Why does the new year hate us?
The holiday season can be extra. Let’s look at some popular food and drink philosophies for the new year.
1. Dry January. The idea: Take a 31-day break from all alcohol. The practice gained popularity in 2013 thanks to a British nonprofit. The next year, it became a government-backed public health campaign. A 2018 study by the the University of Sussex found that Dry January not only improved health for the month but also set up healthier drinking behavior for the future – disputing the “Wet February” myth.
2. Intermittent fasting. The idea: Alternating between certain periods of eating and not eating. Trading holiday feasts for intermittent fasting can increase resistance to stress and improve blood sugar regulation, while decreasing blood pressure, blood lipid levels and resting heart rates, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows. But it’s not for every body type.
A break from the news
- Your photos are a mess 🤭 Patience, patience! You’re only a few simple steps away from organizing them the right way.
- Santa had one job as far as Ella was concerned. Nailed it!
This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network.
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