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🎁 The ultimate Philly holiday gift guide | Morning Newsletter

And, teens are filling holiday staffing gaps in the Philly area.

Shoppers at the Shops at Liberty Place in Center City. It’s officially the holiday season, so we’re getting you prepared in many ways.
Shoppers at the Shops at Liberty Place in Center City. It’s officially the holiday season, so we’re getting you prepared in many ways.Read moreTOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer

    The Morning Newsletter

    Start your day with the Philly news you need and the stories you want all in one easy-to-read newsletter

It’s officially the holiday season, so we’re getting you prepared in many ways — including gift-giving, what’s up with supply-chain disruptions, and working in an economy affected by the pandemic. Read on for what you need to know as we head into December.

But before we get into it, I’m wishing a Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate! The Festival of Lights begins at sundown tonight.

— Lauren Aguirre (@laurencaguirre,

Getting a good gift for someone you care about isn’t easy. That’s why our experts have picks for pretty much anyone you could be shopping for, from food to music to clothes to sports games. (And including some cute ideas for the good dog or cat in your life.)

You can pick up all of these gifts in the Philly area — and even ship your Philly favorites elsewhere if your friends or family live farther away.

Explore our ultimate gift guide for the holiday season.

The week ahead

  1. Philly teens are entering the workforce in droves to fill in holiday gaps with an ongoing labor shortage. Here’s how that’s going in the Philly area.

  2. Black Friday shoppers still flocked to Philly-area stores before dawn this Friday, but with pandemic caution in mind.

  3. Shoppers are getting ruder, and grocery workers are suffering the mental health impact.

  4. Inflation and supply-chain disruptions are hurting Philly food banks and people with lower incomes in the area.

  5. While you’re hanging your holiday lights this year, it’s a good time to inspect your home and make sure everything’s all good. This is what to pay attention to.

  6. Get an inside look at how these two small businesses survived the pandemic — Harriett’s Bookshop in Philly and We Rock the Spectrum in Camden County.

This week’s most popular stories

Inside The Inquirer with Aseem Shukla

Earlier this month, reporters from both our Politics and Data-Driven Storytelling teams took a closer look at the numbers that emerged from the November elections in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

One of them was data reporter and developer Aseem Shukla. We caught up with Aseem for more on what the group uncovered, and any insight into what this could mean ahead of next year’s midterm elections.

What was a prevailing takeaway from all of the data?

My biggest takeaway is basically what’s in the headline. It was NOT a red wave in [Pennsylvania] in the way it was elsewhere. But it’s not like Democrats had good news either — it was a localized muddle, in the way that Pa. politics often is.

What surprised you?

The most surprising thing to me is how strongly Pa. Supreme Court and Superior Court results cut against each other. It’s a bit wild how voters voted more Democratic for one office than the last time, and less so for the other. Super hard to make sense of.

What about New Jersey?

The N.J. data contained fewer surprises, other than just the scale of the Republican swing in South Jersey, particularly in our Philly suburbs. More striking than surprising was that working-class areas are continuing to move away from Democrats even in blue states.

Not that you have a crystal ball, but do the numbers offer any insight into what we can expect in the midterms?

No crystal ball. But my inexpert hypothesis is, the more prominent the race the more “nationalized” it becomes. That’s why the New Jersey governor race (more prominent) swung heavily Republican, while the Pennsylvania races (much less prominent) were much more subject to local factors. If Democrats are as unpopular nationally in 2022 as they are now, Pennsylvania Democrats can expect to struggle.

Follow Aseem Shukla on Twitter at @ashukla89.

🧠 Philly Trivia Time 🧠

Wildwood’s boardwalk is being repaired to make sure it’s ready for the summer season. While the boardwalk has been patched for health and safety issues over the years, it hasn’t ever gone through extensive repairs until now. Can you guess how old this boardwalk is? Check your answer here. (Hint: It’s more than a couple of decades old.)

Weekly Playlist

This week, we’re getting ready for the holiday season with some classic songs. This playlist heavily features artists from the Philly area singing your favorites. A couple of these tracks were also recommended by newsletter readers. Listen to it right here.

And this isn’t the final playlist. Please reply to this email to share your holiday favorites so we can include more as the holiday season gets going!

Photo of the Day

And that’s it for this Sunday. Sending you well wishes for the week ahead.