theSkimm - Daily Skimm: Holiday who-be what-ee?

Skimm’d while stocking up on clean beauty products
December 23, 2021
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Daily Skimm

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

“They believe I’m Ben Affleck and I’ve never corrected them” — Ryan Reynolds says a NYC pizzeria always confuses him with another celebrity. Quite the piece of humble pie.

Omicron

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The Story

Nobody had Omicron on their holiday wish list. But it's here. 

What’s the latest?

The COVID-19 variant has now been ID'd in all 50 states. And is the dominant strain, accounting for nearly three-fourths of new cases. Breakthrough cases are up, with vaccines potentially down to 30-40% efficacy against infection (but higher against severe disease). Earlier this week, President Biden announced a new line of defense. Think: vax clinics for boosters and more testing sites. Not the gifts we were expecting, but we'll take it. Some health experts say it isn’t enough. But now, there’s a new COVID-19 treatment on the horizon. 

Go on.

Yesterday, the FDA granted emergency authorization for Pfizer's Paxlovid. Read: the first at-home treatment for COVID-19. Anyone over the age of 12 and at high risk of severe illness who tests positive can get a prescription. Data shows the pill can cut hospitalizations and death by almost 90%. And they're expected to work against Omicron, too. The US bought 10 million courses of the treatment. But only 265,000 will be available in January since it takes at least half a year to manufacture them. Meanwhile, new research indicates Omicron could be much milder than the Delta variant.

Well that's good news.

It is. But until the data is settled and the pill is widely available, Omicron is forcing a lot of people to make hard decisions. Many are scrambling to get tested before the holidays. Health officials may sound like broken records but they remain adamant: the most effective way to protect yourself and others is to get vaccinated, including a booster shot. For those who are able to see family, keep in mind: air travel is expected to surpass Thanksgiving travel highs. If you're hunkering down at home, take care of yourself. You can curl up with a good book, get back into organization mode or make a quarantini.

theSkimm

COVID-19 is foiling a lot of holiday plans. But we are not back where we were in 2020. Vaxx up, mask up and cheer up — or at least treat yourself to something that might. 

PS: If you test positive, we get into what to do next in today’s episode of “Skimm This.” Think: everything from whether to get takeout to who to text. Tune in tonight at 5pm ET.

And Also...This

Who’s hitting the ‘pause’ button again…

President Biden. Yesterday, he announced plans to extend the pause on student loan payments until May 1. They’ve been on hold since the early days of the pandemic, allowing borrowers to avoid adding interest if they need some more time to get the money together. The hold has been extended four times already. And the payments were set to pick back up on February 1. Now, the extension could be a saving grace for about 41 million borrowers — reportedly 27 million of which haven’t been paying their bill since early 2020. Biden said millions of student loan borrowers “are still coping with the impacts of the pandemic.” Progressive Dems are saying 'ok, but remember your plan to actually cancel some student debt?' And pointing to the positive impact the move could have on Black wealth. Republicans are saying 'the money has to come from somewhere.' And don't want other taxpayers to have to foot the bill.

PS: Check out our guide on managing student loans in the pandemic.

What’s under the microscope…

Astroworld. Yesterday, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform launched an investigation into the deadly music festival. Last month, about 50,000 people gathered to attend Travis Scott’s sold-out concert in Houston, TX. But a massive crowd surge left 10 people dead and hundreds injured. Many are wondering what safety measures could have prevented this. And victims and their families have filed about 300 lawsuits. Now, committee members are looking into what led up to the tragedy. They cited concerns that security and medical staff were "inexperienced." And want answers on what exactly the event organizer (Live Nation) did to prepare for the concert. The company has until next month to provide some answers.

PS: In a recent episode of "Pop Cultured," we talked about what happened at Astroworld, the culture Travis Scott has created around his shows, and the possible legal consequences.

What’s launching in 3, 2, 1…

The James Webb Space Telescope. On Saturday, NASA’s scheduled to launch the world’s largest and most powerful space telescope. Scientists hope Webb helps “reveal new and unexpected discoveries.” Did someone say aliens?

While navigating tough political convos over the holidays…

Here’s some tips on how to talk about your personal reproductive choices.

Who's a runner, who's a track star...

TikTok.

Raise the Woof

According to the ASPCA, 23 million households added a pet during the pandemic. And if there’s one thing new pet parents should expect, it’s the unexpected. Which makes Pawp the perfect gift for anyone with a furry family member. 

Members get 24/7 unlimited access to video and text chats with licensed vets. No appointment or waiting room time required. Plus a $3K safety net for emergencies. Oh, and one membership can protect up to six pets at no extra cost. Me-wow. The best part? Skimm’rs save up to 30% with their gifting program. Go fetch.

Keep On Shopping Small

Just a couple more ornaments. Gifts for the in-laws. Stuffers for their own stockings. Experts expect Americans will spend between $843.4 and $859 billion on holiday expenses before December ends. 

All that spending makes this the most wonderful — err, important — time of the year for small businesses. And by shopping small, you can help entrepreneurs (and the economy) bounce back. Enter: the Goldman Sachs #MakeSmallBig Market. It’s full of unique gift ideas from small biz owners around the world who’ve graduated from their 10,000 Small Businesses and 10,000 Women programs. Check it out.

Skimm Money

Who helped keep your life running *relatively* smoothly this year? (Think: your dog walker, garbage collector, babysitter.) It’s not too late to show your appreciation with a last-minute gift everyone loves: cash money. Read our tipping guide for help on figuring out how much to give.

Skimm Picks

Here are today’s recs to help you live a smarter life…

1. Clean, nourishing makeup that’ll make your eyes pop. This female-founded brand’s All-in-One Mascara majorly lifts and volumizes lashes. All while nourishing ‘em for a fuller, longer, and stronger look. Psst...Skimm’rs get 20% off their first purchase with code SKIMM20.*

2. New Year’s Eve party outfits that are actually comfortable. Time for glitter, shine, sparkle — and shoes you won’t wanna take off in an hour. Here are our fave things that won't cling, pinch, or itch.

3. What you need to stay warm this winter. From the best coats to the coziest loungewear, we rounded up items you will literally never wanna take off.

4. Things that'll help you organize your home going into the new year. These fridge bins and this battery holder get the job done. So long, messy days of missing yogurts and batteries that are always out of juice.

5. Your fave products of 2021. We're taking a look back to see what Skimm'rs (hey, that's you) couldn't resist buying this year. From items to hack home org to self-care must-haves, we rounded up the best of the best. Check out your Skimm Faves.

*PS: This is a sponsored post.

PPS: Check out our selection of the best holiday gifts for everyone on your list.

Programming Note

Skimm HQ is eating candy canes and wrapping presents. See you back in your inbox on Monday. Happy holidays.

Skimm'rs

We like to celebrate the wins, big and small. Let us know how your friends, neighbors, coworkers (and yes, even you) are making career moves, checking off goals, or making an impact in the community.

All too (just) well…Kristina Baehr (TX). The award-winning lawyer has decided to start her own law practice, Just Well Law. And she will focus on home-owner and renter rights. Check it out.

Cheering on…Brigid M (IL). She just had her final breast cancer surgery. And is officially cancer-free as she gets ready for Christmas.

(Some) Birthdays…Ron Erdelyi (OH), Alyssa DiBlasi (NH), Shayna Mazel (DC), Jessica Wylie (GA), Sandra Bauman (NJ), Devon Feriance (OH), Macy Hayes (FL), Jagoda Dul (NJ), Kate Birchler (AZ), Parker Sipes (MN), Melanie Simas (RI), Crystal Wu (PA), Marvina Bloomfield (MI), Leeza Zhmurkin (PA), Nancy Brown (NY)

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

Skimm More

theSkimm is hiring. Interested in joining our team? Check out our career page for open roles.

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Skimm’d by Rashaan Ayesh, Kate Gilhool, Mariza Smajlaj, Clem Robineau, and Julie Shain

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