Crisis hotlines are bracing for the COVID-19 holiday season

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Normally organizations that support people who are in crisis can take a break during the holidays, when call and text volumes slow. But not this year. Americans have suffered a cascade of instability, illness, death, job loss, and school closures this year. The added stressors could make for a rough holiday season. Crisis hotlines and text apps that counsel people under acute duress are optimistic that this season may be less chaotic than usual, as families have settled into being homebound. But just in case there are issues, crisis lines are staffing up. Read Full Story

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How to plan a virtual holiday office party that doesn’t suck

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Whatever you do, please don’t make your office holiday party just another Zoom session. Here’s how to have some fun and celebrate the season safely. As COVID-19 continues to change just about everything about work, so, too, is it changing that annual ritual: office holiday parties. With many workers still remote and gathering restrictions expected to increase in many areas as infection rates rise, the thought of throwing yet another Zoom meeting with everyone dressed in ugly sweaters and holding cocktails is downright depressing. Read Full Story

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Check these COVID-19 risk scores before traveling this holiday season

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If you’re considering a trip to visit friends or family, this map can help you understand where COVID-19 rates are rising. Just how risky is it to travel for the holidays this year? With rising rates of COVID-19, many experts are recommending a moratorium on holiday gatherings. But for those who are trying to decide whether they still want to travel, smart-thermometer company Kinsa has created predictive COVID-19 risk scores for every county in the U.S. Read Full Story

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Virtual gifts are the ideal way to be thoughtful this holiday season

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They’re safe. They require zero shipping time. And you’ve got a world of options, from classes to tours to good old cash. For many people, the coronavirus pandemic is making it too risky for groups of friends and relatives to visit in person this holiday season; it can even violate local COVID-19 restrictions . And postal delays have made online gift ordering and shipping gifts a dicier proposition than most years. But as folks are separated from their loved ones and business colleagues, many are still looking for ways to send a perfect, personalized gift for the holidays. Read Full Story

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As COVID-19 surges, families anticipate a different sort of holiday season

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Many Americans are choosing to spend the holidays away from family and friends but still finding creative ways to connect. If this was any other year, Ariel Pitman would be spending Christmas at her parents’ house in Ohio or convene with extended family in South Carolina. But that was then. Like so many other Americans, Pitman is opting out of her usual holiday gatherings this year. As is often the case with holiday plans—and even more so during a pandemic and never-ending election—the decision is stirring up a heady cocktail of emotions. Read Full Story

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