Many have day off for Christmas Eve, families celebrate Nochebuena, flight cancellations: 5 things to know Friday


Is Christmas Eve a federal holiday? No, but it might feel like it this year

This Christmas Eve many workers who might normally work Dec. 24 may have time to do last-minute shopping or bake cookies for Santa. That’s because even though Christmas Eve is not a federal holiday, many businesses and federal offices, including the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, will recognize it as a day off because Christmas falls on Saturday this year. When the typical date of a federal holiday falls on a non-workday, full-time employees are granted an “in lieu of” holiday – or a different day for the federal holiday to be observed. A similar pattern will apply to New Year’s Day. Because the first day of 2022 also falls on a Saturday, that federal holiday will be observed on New Year’s Eve. 

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NORAD: Santa on track to deliver Christmas Eve

The pandemic is forcing some changes in the way the NORAD tracks Santa Claus on his Christmas journey this year, but the commander says he’s confident Santa will get around the globe on time to deliver his toys. (Dec. 24)


Airline customers: Check to make sure your flight hasn’t been canceled

Omicron, the fast-spreading coronavirus variant, has infected the airline industry and it likely will cause some weary travelers looking to see family and friends for the holiday weekend some trouble. As of 2:30 a.m. ET, Delta Air Lines had canceled 49 flights on Christmas Day while United Airlines canceled 46. More flights have been canceled on Christmas Eve: 165 from United and 113 from Delta, according to flight tracker FlightAware. Both United and Delta said a spike in omicron infections among crew members played a part in the cancellations. “The nationwide spike in Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation.” a United spokesperson said. A Delta statement said the cancellations were caused by a “combination of issues, including but not limited to, potential inclement weather in some areas and the impact of the Omicron variant.”

Many Hispanic, Latinx and Filipino families will celebrate Nochebuena

For many in the Latinx, Hispanic and Filipino community, Christmas celebrations take place on Dec. 24 in the form of Nochebuena. It is an annual holiday in which certain communities celebrate the holiday on the night of Dec. 24 rather than Dec. 25. While the traditions of the night can vary based on culture and region, a common theme persists: it’s about being together.  “There’s only two or three times a year where you’ll get the entire extended family together,” said Alexandro Gradilla, associate professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies at California State University. “It really is not only a holiday of love, but it’s also truly a holiday of peace.” 

Missed those shipping deadlines? Here’s how to get last-minute gifts

If you’re looking to get a gift delivered Friday, you may be (mostly) out of luck. Shipping deadlines for the nation’s three largest carriers – FedEx, the U.S. Postal Service and UPS – are behind us, except for one: FedEx SameDay. However, if the item you want isn’t available for SameDay, you can still buy this year’s hottest gifts online and pick them up in-store. Big retailers — including Nordstrom, Best Buy and Macy’s — are offering in-store or curbside pickup this season. 

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Holiday shopping: Don’t forget about online marketplaces

With ongoing supply chain challenges threatening to derail holiday shopping, some are looking for gifts on Facebook Marketplace, eBay and Craigslist.

Marc Saltzman, Special to USA TODAY

Star-studded doomsday comedy ‘Don’t Look Up’ arrives on Netflix

After a limited theatrical release, Oscar-winning director Adam McKay’s new star-studded doomsday comedy “Don’t Look Up” heads to Netflix Friday. Academy Award winners Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence play scientists who discover a planet-killing comet headed our way, decide to warn the world and then run into a series of oddball personalities including a self-obsessed president (Meryl Streep) and her chief of staff/son (Jonah Hill), a kooky tech magnate (Mark Rylance), a pop star (Ariana Grande) and a skater kid (Timothee Chalamet). Tyler Perry, Cate Blanchett, Ron Perlman, Rob Morgan and rapper Kid Cudi also make appearances. “Don’t Look Up” has been nominated for four Golden Globe Awards and six Critics Choice Awards, but USA TODAY critic Brian Truitt calls it “overlong and not as sharp or incisive as (McKay’s) usual satires.”

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DiCaprio and Lawrence try to save the world in ‘Don’t Look Up’

Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio are among the galaxy of stars to appear in director Adam McKay’s comedy drama “Don’t Look Up.” (Dec. 6)


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