winter weather jennifer gray
First week of winter will bring 'polar plunge'
00:54 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

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    In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up stressing over the perfect presents for your loved ones. Let’s face it, you’re bouncing between crowded stores while trying to answer your own questions: Is this a good choice? Do they already have this? Am I spending enough? Well, if you need a little help deciding, the gifts people love most are rarely the most expensive – but often the ones that show you have intimate knowledge about them, a consumer psychologist explains.

    Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

    (You can get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

    1. Weather

    More than 25 million people across much of the central and northwestern US are under wind chill alerts. Heavy snow is expected today in states including Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and most of Minnesota – where the high temperatures will remain below zero, according to the National Weather Service. This week, more than 80% of the Lower 48 will experience temperatures below freezing, with cities as far south as Atlanta, Houston and Orlando currently included on that list. Forecasters are also predicting some in the Midwest could experience their coldest Christmas Day in nearly 40 years, with air travelers likely facing cancellations and delays.

    Check your local forecast here>>>

    2. Trump

    After months of back-and-forth deliberations, the January 6 committee on Monday referred former President Donald Trump to the Justice Department on at least four criminal charges. The committee laid out the case that Trump’s direct involvement in efforts to overturn the 2020 election made him responsible for the violence that unfolded at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, and unfit to hold future office. Attorney General Merrick Garland is set to make the ultimate call on any charging decisions. In response to the criminal referrals, Trump released the following statement: “These folks don’t get it that when they come after me, people who love freedom rally around me. It strengthens me. What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.” 

    3. Title 42

    Chief Justice John Roberts on Monday put a temporary hold on the termination of a controversial Trump-era immigration policy, known as Title 42, that was set to end Wednesday. In a brief order, signaling that the court wants to act quickly, Roberts asked the Biden administration to respond by this evening to an emergency appeal filed by several Republican-led states seeking to keep the policy in place to slow an expected increase in migrant crossings. Roberts’ move means the policy, which allows officials to swiftly expel migrants at the US border, will stay in effect at least until the justices decide the emergency application.

    4. Pain meds

    CVS and Walgreens are limiting purchases of children’s pain-relief medicine amid rising cases of flu, Covid-19 and RSV. “Due to increased demand and various supplier challenges, over-the-counter pediatric fever reducing products are seeing constraint across the country,” Walgreens said in a statement Monday, adding that the limits are to “support availability and avoid excess purchases.” The Consumer Healthcare Products Association said sales of pediatric pain relievers are up 65% from this time last year. Meanwhile, the brutal respiratory virus season is continuing to strain pediatric hospitals. Young children are particularly vulnerable to RSV, which has hospitalized more than 4 out of every 1,000 children younger than 5 this season, according to data from CDC.

    5. Gas prices

    Consumers are finally seeing some relief at the pump after a year of high inflation. The national average for regular gasoline dropped to $3.12 a gallon today, according to AAA. Gas prices haven’t been this low since July 2021. After moving steadily higher last year, pump prices spiked early in 2022 following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the national average topped out at an all-time record of $5.02 a gallon in June. But prices have since cooled off and the decline has accelerated in recent weeks. Twenty-one states already have averages below $3 a gallon, including Ohio, North Carolina and Colorado, data shows.

    This just in

    World Cup champion Argentina returns home to jubilant fans

    Argentina’s World Cup-winning squad arrived home to an ecstatic Buenos Aires in the early hours of the morning. Captain Lionel Messi stepped off the team’s plane first, holding the tournament’s gold trophy aloft as crowds of people cheered and waved the Argentine flag. Hundreds of thousands of fans are expected to line the streets of the capital later today for the team’s victory parade. Tuesday has also been declared a national holiday in celebration.


    Tom Cruise thanks fans for supporting ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ – while free-falling from a plane

    Of course, a generic video showing his gratitude wouldn’t suffice for Tom Cruise. “Thank you for allowing us to entertain you,” the skydiving daredevil said, while literally in mid-air. “It truly is the honor of a lifetime.”

    Tiger Woods and son tee off in perfect symmetry

    Seeing double? Golf fans noted the eerily accurate similarities between Woods and his 13-year-old son Charlie as they competed together at the PNC Championship.

    Original ‘E.T.’ model used in Spielberg classic sells for $2.6 million

    E.T. has a new home. The sale of the animatronic alien coincides with the 40th anniversary of the film’s release. 

    The best design hotels in the Italian Dolomites

    Ski resorts, spa destinations and a Bond film location: Check out the region’s most exquisite architectural hotels, located in the most unbelievable settings. 

    First images of banknotes featuring King Charles III unveiled

    Take a look at the new portrait of King Charles III that will appear on English £5, £10, £20 and £50 notes.


    Drew Griffin, CNN’s award-winning Senior Investigative Correspondent known for getting even the cagiest of interview subjects to engage in a story, died Saturday after a long battle with cancer, his family said. He was 60. “Drew’s death is a devastating loss to CNN and our entire profession,” CNN CEO Chris Licht said in a note to staff. “A highly acclaimed investigative journalist, Drew’s work had incredible impact and embodied the mission of this organization in every way.”


    17 million

    That’s how many votes were cast in an informal Twitter poll created by Elon Musk asking whether he should “step down as head of Twitter.” The poll concluded Monday morning with a majority of responses in the affirmative: 57% yes, 43% no. Now more than a day later, Musk has yet to comment on the results or whether he will honor the results.


    “He will spend the rest of his life behind bars where he belongs.”

    – Jennifer Siebel Newsom, filmmaker and wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, in a statement after disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was found guilty Monday of rape and sexual assault against one of four women he was accused of assaulting in Los Angeles. Jurors also acquitted Weinstein of one count of sexual battery by restraint against a massage therapist, and were a hung jury on one count of sexual battery by restraint, one count of forcible oral copulation and one count of rape related to two other women – including Siebel Newsom, who previously testified that Weinstein raped her in a hotel room in 2005. Weinstein faces a possible sentence of 24 years in prison for this conviction. The once-powerful film producer is already serving a 23-year sentence for a 2020 New York rape conviction.


    Turtles defrost after hibernating in suspended animation

    These painted turtles can survive freezing temperatures thanks to an “extraordinary adaptation.” Watch them emerge after the winter season. (Click here to view.)