Cozy Season Is Here

A guide to your post-Thanksgiving weekend.,

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Good morning. It’s a pleasure to greet you this Friday after Thanksgiving, at the dawn of cozy season, here in the dwindling days of the year. I usually write to Times readers via the At Home and Away newsletter, where, for months, I’ve been contemplating ways we can lead a full and cultured life during the pandemic.

I started working with a group of Times journalists in the early days of lockdown, endeavoring to assemble ideas and inspiration to help you navigate a world abruptly changed in almost every way. Twice a week, I gather recommendations from my colleagues and from readers for passing the time richly, wherever you are. Today, I’m here to offer some suggestions for how to spend your postprandial weekend.

The day after Thanksgiving is one of those in-between days that the holiday season bestows on us: a day off from work for many, but not the actual big day. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure day, whether your particular adventure consists of Black Friday shopping (perhaps this plant-based gift guide will inspire you?), curling up with one of our 100 Notable Books of 2021, venturing out to see Paul Thomas Anderson’s new movie, “Licorice Pizza,” or doing something else.

I’m a fan of a post-Thanksgiving quasi hibernation in slippers and sweats, orbiting the kitchen, where leftovers beckon. It’s the ideal weekend for streaming something you’ve been meaning to catch. (The final season of “Insecure”? Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut, “Passing”? “Cowboy Bebop” — either the original anime series or the new live-action version?) But if you’ve had your fill of the hunker-down life, I hear you, and encourage you to be safely out and about. We indoor cats will mind the hearth until your return.

Holidays, in the Norman Rockwell version, are rosy-cheeked, hugs-all-around affairs. That’s not, of course, always the reality. If this weekend for you brings the welcome emptying of a too-full house, if it’s the first time you’ve unclenched your jaw in a week or if you’re just feeling out of sorts after yet another confusing year, you’re not alone. My friends and family have taken to using the vague yet all-encompassing phrase “it’s a lot” to describe how we’ve been feeling lately. It explains what’s happening without going into detail; it’s nonspecific but legible to, well, everyone.

However you spend this weekend, I hope that you’re safe and warm, that you’re able to relax a bit, and that you get to connect and catch up with people you love. I hope you have leftovers (more on that below from my colleague Sanam Yar), and if you’re traveling, I hope your trip is headache-free. Thanks for making room for me at your table.

  • South African scientists have found a new variant that has prompted restrictions on travel from countries in the region. It’s too early to know how well the vaccines work against it.

  • The retail industry is fighting a vaccine mandate for its workers before the holidays.

  • Some objects and practices born in lockdown will probably stick around (like masks and QR codes). Others (a “no-touch door opener”) less so.

  • A gas buildup at a Siberian coal mine killed at least 52 people in Russia’s worst mining disaster in over a decade, officials said.

  • Sweden chose its first female prime minister. She was in office for seven hours.

  • An explosion outside a school in Somalia’s capital killed at least eight people. A drought and an election crisis are gripping the country.

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Excited spectators waving at the floats in Manhattan.Credit…Anna Watts for The New York Times

As virtual worlds grow, we need to nurture our sense of touch, JoAnna Novak argues in The Times. “I, for one, will not go gentle into the metaverse.”

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Abraham & Straus in Brooklyn in 1961.Credit…John Orris/The New York Times

Black Friday: This is what shopping looked like over the past 80 years. (And The Times will cover what it looks like today).

College life: Turkeys are taking over campuses.

The expert: Meet the go-to guy for repairs in a nation that reveres the accordion.

Vintage: How a Y2K-era Versace dress made a comeback.

Lives Lived: Inspired by double Dutch jump rope moves she saw growing up in Brooklyn in the 1950s, Kariamu Welsh developed an influential dance technique based on archetypes found in African art. She died at 72.

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Melissa Clark’s turkey Cubano.Credit…Andrew Purcell for The New York Times

If you’re lucky enough to have a mountain of Thanksgiving leftovers, a world of possibilities awaits beyond your standard turkey sandwich. (Though if you still want one, make it an Elena Ruz sandwich — a sweet-savory concoction named for the Cuban socialite who invented it.)

Perhaps you’d like a leftovers enchilada pie, which may sound a little offbeat but is easy to make and delicious. Turkey also lends itself well to tweaked versions of tikka masala, mole verde or pho, courtesy of Samin Nosrat. As for other sandwiches, Melissa Clark recommends turkey cubanos or healthy-ish pitas.

If you have stuffing — the holiday’s best side — Sohla El-Waylly shows you how to make three clever upgrades in this video. “Anything bread can do, stuffing can do better,” she says, “and this is especially true of dumpling soup.” Who knew eggs, flour and leftover stuffing could make such a tender dumpling dough?

Find more leftovers recipe inspiration. — Sanam Yar, a Morning writer

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Credit…Craig Lee for The New York Times

Kale soup with potatoes and sausage is comforting and comes together quickly.

Disney’s new film, “Encanto,” about a magical house and the gifted family that resides in it, is “quietly extraordinary,” Maya Phillips writes.

Times editors recommend eight new books to be thankful for.

What is Ssense and how did it become the destination for young consumers?

How well did you follow the headlines this week?

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The pangram from yesterday’s Spelling Bee was phenomena. Here is today’s puzzle — or you can play online.

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Dodge (five letters).

If you’re in the mood to play more, find all our games here.


Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you Monday. — David

P.S. On this day 99 years ago, the archaeologists Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon first entered King Tutankhamen’s tomb.

Here’s today’s print front page.

“The Daily” is off today.

Claire Moses, Tom Wright-Piersanti, Ashley Wu and Sanam Yar contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at themorning@nytimes.com.

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