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The Rundown: Stuck inside and need something to watch?

Hey there! This is my last newsletter of the year! I’ll be out next week, but Bianca and Courtney will have you covered. Thank you so much for reading, and I hope y’all have a happy and safe holidays. Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Since a lot of us are staying indoors, here’s a look at the best TV shows and movies of the year

With subzero temperatures outside, I’m not even thinking of leaving the house. My husband and I are visiting my parents, where we play a nightly game called “What Should We Watch?” (Yesterday’s winner was Violent Night starring David Harbour.)

Just in time for the Arctic blast, NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour is out with its list of the best TV shows and movies of the year — and where you can find them, either in theaters or on a streaming service or both. Talk about “service journalism.”

Among my personal favorites on the list are ABC’s Abbott Elementary, Apple’s Severance, Season 2 of The White Lotus, Jordan Peele’s Nope and Everything Everywhere All at Once starring Michelle Yeoh, who should get all of the awards. [NPR]

But NPR snubbed a show that I love: FX’s What We Do in the Shadows, a mockumentary about a group of vampires in Staten Island. The show made it on The New York Times’ list, which also looked at the best international shows. [New York Times]

2. Tomorrow’s Bills-Bears game could be one of the coldest at Soldier Field

Tomorrow’s forecast includes a high of 11 degrees, and that could make the Bills-Bears game “one of the five coldest ever at Soldier Field, depending on the temperature at kickoff,” reports Patrick Finley at the Chicago Sun-Times.

And “in a battle against the elements Saturday, the Bears are taking up arms,” Patrick writes.

“I don’t play with sleeves,” wide receiver N’Keal Harry said Thursday.

“I can’t do the sleeves,” tight end Cole Kmet said.

“We’ll see . . . if it’s bad,” linebacker Nicholas Morrow said. “But probably not.” [Chicago Sun-Times]

3. How life got more expensive and cheaper this year

The word of the year might as well be “inflation,” as supply chain disruptions, the war in Ukraine and labor shortages helped send prices on everyday items soaring.

NPR created seven charts showing how life in the U.S. got pricier and, surprisingly, cheaper in 2022.

When it comes to groceries, the price of eggs went up 49.1%. But avocados were a bargain, dropping 44.6%.

Looking at the bigger picture, this year wasn’t bad overall.

“The economy grew, supply chain pressures eased and fewer people are unemployed,” reports NPR. “As long as you don’t need to buy anything or borrow any money, things are looking pretty good!” [NPR]

4. A high school choir that’s in high demand this holiday season

It’s a busy time for the choir students at Leo High School in Chicago’s Auburn Gresham neighborhood.

“We’re gonna bring it, and we’re gonna rock the building,” said student Theauntae Jones right before a winter concert this week in the school’s auditorium.

In the past month, the Catholic choir has done four gigs, including singing at Wrigley Field’s 1914 Club and caroling downtown, reports WBEZ’s Lauren Frost.

“The choir is in high demand,” Principal Shaka Rawls said. “I think it’s just a beautiful sight to see young, predominantly African American and Latino students singing … lifting their voices to the Lord or in celebration.” [WBEZ]

5. A Harold Washington Christmas

In 1986, WBEZ visited then-Mayor Harold Washington’s apartment for a special Christmas morning broadcast.

“This Christmas would turn out to be the late mayor’s last, making the radio program an important time capsule,” writes WBEZ archivist Justine Tobiasz.

Washington talks about everything from race relations to the upcoming 1987 mayoral election. And he even plays his favorite holiday music.

It is “a charming reminder of the scrappy nature of creating live radio at the time,” Justine writes. “Hearing it today transports listeners immediately to the late 1980s and is proof of the intimate power of radio.” [WBEZ]

As she was digging into the station’s archives, Justine also found a re-telling of The Velveteen Rabbit that first aired in 1979, back when WBEZ was the station of record for the Chicago Board of Education. [WBEZ]

Here’s what else is happening

  • The Jan. 6 committee says former President Donald Trump should be barred from holding office again. [NPR]
  • Illinois’ population shrank by an estimated 104,000 residents, according to new federal data. [Chicago Tribune]
  • Chicago officials may revive a mask advisory as COVID-19 cases rise. [Chicago Sun-Times]
  • The weather is going to be a lot warmer next week in the Chicago area. [Block Club Chicago]

Oh, and one more thing …

It really is a jolly time for Santa this year.

After two years of the pandemic looming over the holiday season, there’s a rush by parents and businesses to reserve their Kris Kringles — particularly the vaccine-boosted, reports The New York Times.

“Santa bookings are way up across the big platforms that help companies hire them and families find them,” the Times reports. “Santa’s wages are up. And not just up, but as best as we can tell they’re up more than the pay bumps most workers have seen, and, yes, more than inflation.”

According to GigSalad, an online marketplace for event workers, the average pay for a Santa this year jumped 12% to about $275. [New York Times]

Tell me something good ...

The new year is barreling toward us. I’d like to know what brought you joy in 2022. It’s an open-ended question and could be anything.

Ed writes:

“Last January my younger brother (age 72) fell into a coma and was rushed to a hospital in Massachusetts during a terrible storm. He was out for almost three days. He slowly came around and it was the most wonderful feeling to know I wasn’t going to lose my little brother.”

Deb from Lombard writes:

“A favorite moment of joy this year was watching a blue jay swoop between an eagle and a smaller bird over Lake Michigan, and then watch the two of them make it back to tree cover safely as the eagle flew on over the lake. Celebrating courage in a small, brightly feathered friend — makes me smile still everytime I think of it!”

And Linda writes:

“I became a grandma this year! Our granddaughter, now 9 months old, is busy finding her voice and discovering what the world looks like when you are standing instead of doing the commando crawl. I’m amazed how quickly she is growing up. I can’t wait to ring in the New Year with her and her parents.”

Thank you to everyone who shared such touching stories this week. I’m sorry I couldn’t share them all, but it was nice hearing from y’all.

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