Social Q’s: Covid Christmas Edition

My three sisters and I have been doing Secret Santa with our kids for years. Each child picks a cousin’s name. They love exchanging gifts! This year, I told my sisters that my family would not be joining them for Christmas because of Covid but that we’d still like to be part of the Secret…

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In a Pandemic Fairy Tale, a Garden Leads to a Magical Friendship

Kelly Kenney was taking a late-night walk to clear her thoughts in her Los Angeles neighborhood this spring when a colorful pinwheel caught her eye. She stopped and found herself gazing down at an elaborate fairy garden at the base of a tree, complete with painted rocks and tiny trinkets. Pinned to the tree was…

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Influencers May Face Fines as China Tackles Obesity and Food Waste

HONG KONG — More than half of China’s adult population is either overweight or obese, according to a new government report released on Wednesday. Obesity rates in China have doubled within two decades, and health authorities are warning of a surge in chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer. The report found that 34.3…

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Who Should Get the Covid-19 Vaccine Next? A Debate

Bazelon: We need them! Ezike: Right. I think, though, there’s a possible issue with the long-term-care population. Many of those people may die anyway, for other reasons, but then the conclusion could be, “Grandma got the vaccine and died the next week.” These are elderly people with co-morbidities, and their death will coincide with the…

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Covid-19: How Much Herd Immunity is Enough?

The study found that 1,064 of the 1,568 sailors aboard, or about 68 percent, had tested positive for the virus. But the carrier returned to port while the outbreak was still in progress, and the crew went into quarantine, so it was unclear whether the virus was finished infecting new sailors even after 68 percent…

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No More All-Nighters!

Send questions about the office, money, careers and work-life balance to workfriend@nytimes.com. Include your name and location, or a request to remain anonymous. Letters may be edited. The Obnoxiousness of Celebrating Poor Time Management At all-staff meetings, managers at my office will make a point of lauding employees for working late into the night. The…

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Want a Nice Dinner Out? Your Hotel Room Awaits

With New Year’s Eve approaching, similar partnerships have cropped up across the country. Here, some of what’s on offer: After restrictions in Boston limited outdoor dining to private property, the UNI restaurant moved all its service to nine semiprivate rooms created by taking over the suites on the first two floors of the Eliot Hotel.…

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Travel After the Coronavirus Pandemic Might Be Different

In early March, I was walking around the most magical place on earth — Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Fla. — asking guests why they were comfortable being at a theme park with thousands of strangers and sticky-fingered children as a virus that we then believed to be passed through touch was spreading throughout…

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Sometimes a Broken Laptop Can Be a Good Thing

Ugene Bynum knew he might not be able to fix Stacy Prather’s broken laptop, but when she and her godmother knocked on his Philadelphia front door asking for help in the fall of 2016, he didn’t turn them away. “I immediately said yes, I can fix it, even though I hadn’t even looked at it,”…

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Your Most-Played Song of 2020 Is … White Noise?

The soundtrack to Maya Montoya’s year was white noise. Specifically, a track on Spotify called “Celestial White Noise”: three whole hours of warm, soothing fuzz. Ms. Montoya, who is 27 and lives in Everett, Wash., had been a nanny up until the pandemic. But when she found herself out of work in April, she began…

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