It's about time to start planning your 2019 adventures, perhaps aboard one of the new year's best new cruise ships. Here's what you need to know to Start Your Week Smart.
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Holidays and observances
• The body of Jakelin Caal Maquin is due to be returned to her native Guatemala. The 7-year-old died December 8, less than 48 hours after Border Patrol agents detained her, her father and other migrants at a New Mexico border crossing. US officials have defended their efforts to save her but also cast her death as a warning of the dangers of trekking to the United States. Jakelin's family wants to know whether her death could have been prevented.
• Before dawn is not too soon to start tracing the global movements of the North Pole's most famous denizen. That's when the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, flips on its Santa Tracker. The tradition started in 1955 when a misprinted Sears ad directed callers to the Defense Department instead of Santa. Today's version uses GPS and tallies "gifts delivered."
• Monday Night Football's Christmas Eve matchup features the Broncos and the Raiders. It could be the last game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum as the home team preps for a move to Las Vegas. Coverage starts at 8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN.
• Our Five Things family sends out best wishes for a very merry Christmas. Whether those who celebrate spend it honoring faith traditions, decking the halls, prepping and gorging on traditional fare, gawking at light displays, helping the needy or all of the above, we hope this holiday helps Christians usher in a season of joy while celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.
• If you're headed to the movies on this day off, the backstory of "Notorious RBG" hits the big screen in "On the Basis of Sex," the biopic about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Also new in theaters is "Bumblebee," which kicks the "Transformers" franchise into a higher gear, and "Welcome to Marwen," featuring Steve Carell in the based-on-real-life tale of a photographer's effort to heal himself through the imaginary world of his dolls.
• We share our hopes for a happy Kwanzaa. The weeklong, nonreligious celebration aims to help African-Americans reconnect with ancestral roots. It includes the nightly lighting of candles on a seven-branched kinara while honoring principles of unity, self-determination, collective responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.
• For our Commonwealth friends, it is Boxing Day, a time to give to the less fortunate. It was named, perhaps, because wealthy people once gave boxes filled with gifts, money and Christmas leftovers to their employees on this day or because churches put out boxes for people to give money to the poor to be distributed the day after Christmas.
• A snowstorm predicted to form across the Great Plains could start snarling holiday travel across the Midwest, CNN meteorologists said. With a record-breaking 112.5 million Americans due to travel this year-end holiday season, that could spell delays. Check with CNN's weather team all week for the latest forecasts.
• For now, this looks like the first time the Senate could meet in an actual session to take up the partial government shutdown that began last week. The House also isn't expected to vote any sooner. Though not expected to affected holiday plans, the shutdown has thrown Washington into a tailspin and forced some 420,000 federal employees to without pay.
• Martial law expires in Ukraine for people who live in Russian border zones. They've been living under heightened alert for 30 days after Russia seized three Ukrainian navy ships and detained 24 sailors last month in the Kerch Strait, a key waterway that is strategically important to both countries.
• It's a college football bowl-o-rama all week, building to the start of the College Football Playoff. The national semifinals feature Clemson vs. Notre Dame at 4 p.m. ET in the Cotton Bowl and Alabama vs. Oklahoma at 8 p.m. ET in the Orange Bowl. Both games are on ESPN. The winners face off January 7 for the national championship.
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- A non-black person's guide to Kwanzaa