5 things | sunday

From maskne to doomscrolling, we’ve learned many new words this year. How many can you define? Take our pandemic slang quiz to find out. Here’s what else you need to know to Start Your Week Smart. 

By Faith Karimi 

the weekend that was A second coronavirus vaccine is preparing for distribution after it got authorization for emergency use.  In Britain, scientists warned that a new strain of coronavirus is spreading faster than others.  Congress is on the brink of a deal on a relief package that includes aid for struggling Americans.  President Trump contradicted remarks by Mike Pompeo linking the US cyberattack to Russia.  More than 340 boys kidnapped by Nigerian gunmen returned home with horrific tales of beatings.  the week ahead

President-elect Joe Biden and incoming first lady, Jill, will receive their first shots of the coronavirus vaccine Monday. The transition team said they’ll get the Pfizer vaccine in Delaware, but did not provide specifics on the exact location. In a spectacular conjunction, Jupiter and Saturn will get extremely close Monday, showing off the first visible “double planet” in 800 years. You’d have to go all the way back to medieval times, in 1226, to see such a close and spectacular alignment. 

The NBA’s 72-game season starts Tuesday and is tentatively set to end in May. Like all major sports during the coronavirus pandemic, it will have new protocols, including daily testing of players and a hotline to report safety violations.


The deadline for states to send their electoral votes to Congress is Wednesday. On December 14, electors cast their votes for President and those votes have nine days to get from their states to Capitol Hill.


The popular NORAD website will start tracking Santa’s trip Thursday as he leaves the North Pole to drop off gifts down chimneys worldwide. Santa has magical powers and some countries are granting his crew travel exemptions for Christmas Eve, but that hasn’t stopped some children from worrying about his health. 


tonight's big event

Early Christmas treatCountry superstar couple Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood will perform and take holiday song requests from their Nashville home studio. The event is part of their “Garth and Tricia Live: A Holiday Event” on CBS at 8:30 ET. 

just watch

Romance and escapism Netflix’s ornate period romance “Bridgerton” follows the love scandals of England’s upper crust.  The scripted series by powerhouse producer Shonda Rhimes is out on Christmas Day. 


Future of Hollywood

The biggest blockbuster battle of 2020 happens on streaming. “Wonder Woman 1984” debuts on HBO Max on Christmas Day and so does Pixar’s “Soul” on Disney+. Two of the biggest films of the year will take on each other over the holiday weekend. The only catch: There’s no box office.

just cheer

Super Bowl preview?The Kansas City Chiefs play the New Orleans Saints at 4:25p ET today in a potential Super Bowl preview of two premier NFL teams. Saints quarterback Drew Brees is back after suffering broken ribs last month.

total recall

Quiz time!

What do you call someone who boldly flouts basic coronavirus safety guidelines?


A. A pandenemy B. A virus tease C. A CovidiotD. A Coro-no-no


Play “Total Recall,” CNN’s weekly news quiz, to see if you’re correct!

play me off...      

Flashback Sunday Jimmy Buffett’s celebrating his 75th birthday this week. Let’s take a walk down memory lane with his classic song “Come Monday,” which makes one yearn for those simple and carefree days. You know, like last year?  (Click here to rock out.)

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