Good morning. It’s a pleasure to greet you this Friday after Thanksgiving, at the beginning of the cozy season, here in the fading days of the year. I usually write to Times readers via the At Home and Away newsletter, where for several months I have been considering how we can live a full and cultured life during the pandemic.
I started working with a group of Times journalists in the early days of lockdown, trying to gather ideas and inspiration to help you navigate a world that suddenly changed in almost every way. Twice a week, I gather recommendations from my colleagues and from readers to pass the time richly, no matter where you are. Today I am here to give some suggestions on how to spend your weekend after the meal.
The day after Thanksgiving is one of those middle days that the holiday season gives us: a day off for many, but not the actual big day. It’s a choose-yourself adventure day, whether your special adventure consists of Black Friday shopping (maybe this plant-based gift guide will inspire you?), Curl up with one of our 100 notable books in 2021, where you head out to see Paul Thomas Anderson’s new movie, “Licorice Pizza,” or to make something else.
I’m a fan of a half-sleep after Thanksgiving in slippers and sweat that revolves around the kitchen, where leftover food entices. This is the ideal weekend to stream something you’m going 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 hunker-down life , I hear you, and urge you to be safe out and travel. We indoor cats will look after the hearth until you return.
Holidays, in the Norman Rockwell version, are rosy, hug-all-around affairs. Of course, that is not always the case. If this weekend for you welcomes the emptying of an overcrowded house, if this is the first time you’ve opened your jaw in a week, or if you’re just feeling out of shape after another confusing year, you’re not alone. My friends and family have started using the vague but all-encompassing phrase “it’s a lot” to describe how we’ve been feeling lately. It explains what happens without going into detail; it is non-specific but readable by everyone.
No matter how you spend this weekend, I hope you feel safe and warm, that you can relax a little, and that you get in touch and catch up with people you love. I hope you have leftovers (more on that below from my colleague Sanam Yar), and if you are out traveling, I hope your trip will be headache free. Thank you for making room for me at your table.
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The retail industry is fighting for a vaccine mandate for its workers before the holidays.
Some objects and practices born in lockdown are likely to persist (such as masks and QR codes). Other (a “non-contact door opener”) smaller.
Other great stories
Your guide to leftovers
If you are lucky enough to have a mountain of Thanksgiving leftovers, a world of options awaits beyond your standard turkey sandwich. (But if you still want one, make it into an Elena Ruz sandwich – a sweet and tasty mix named after the Cuban socialite who invented it.)
Maybe you would like a remnant of enchilada pie, which may sound a bit offbeat, but which is easy to make and delicious. Turkey is also well suited for tweaked versions of tikka masala, mole verde or pho, courtesy of Samin Nosrat. As for other sandwiches, Melissa Clark recommends turkey cubanos or healthy pitas.