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There were plenty of reasons Vince Guaraldi's soundtrack to ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ shouldn't have worked. Jazz music for an animated television special featuring the famous comic strip characters? Yet the show has become a holiday tradition from its first airing in 1965, the music performed by Guaraldi's piano-led jazz trio even more so. What unites Prince, Michelle Obama and Foo Fighters? They all performed the soundtrack's “Linus and Lucy” in public. Members of show producer Lee Mendelson's family wish they had the envelope where he hurriedly wrote lyrics to the song “Christmas Time is Here.”

How can you best find a balance during the holidays so that you are fulfilled instead of frazzled? Perhaps you should take a few cultural cues from the Danes.

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Tens of thousands of people are bracing for days without electricity in a North Carolina county where authorities say two power substations were shot up by one or more people with apparent criminal intent. Across Moore County southwest of Raleigh, businesses handed out free food or coffee and and often conducted transactions in cash. The county announced that schools would be closed for a second day Tuesday due to the lingering outages. Traffic lights were out around the county. Drivers treated intersections as four-way stops, which caused some traffic in places such as downtown Carthage.

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Officials say a woman attacked six sheriff’s deputies while refusing to exit a plane on Thanksgiving Day at an airport in Louisiana. The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported the incident on Saturday. Authorities said the 25-year-old woman bit, kicked and spit on Jefferson Parish sheriff’s deputies at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. News reports say police charged the woman with a number of offenses, including six counts of battery on a police officer and three counts of disturbing the peace. Reports of passengers’ bad behavior have skyrocketed since air travel has increased after early pandemic shutdowns.

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The U.S. flu season keeps getting worse. Health officials say 7.5% of outpatient medical visits last week were due to flu-like illnesses. That’s as high as the peak of the 2017-18 flu season and higher than any season since. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday released its latest flu update. It says 44 states reported high or very high flu activity last week. That may not bode well for the near future. It’s likely there was more spread of respiratory viruses during Thanksgiving gatherings and at crowded airports.

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The spectacle of incandescent lava spewing from Hawaii's Mauna Loa has drawn thousands of visitors and is turning into a tourism boon for a Big Island town near the world’s largest volcano. Some hotels in and around Hilo are becoming fully booked in what is normally a slower time of the year for business. Helicopter tours of Mauna Loa, which began erupting Sunday after being quiet for 38 years, are also in high demand by tourists and journalists. Hawaii's travel industry normally falls off this time of year between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Before dusting off your decorations and hanging you ornaments, the age-old question must be asked: Whether to use a fake or real Christmas tree this holiday season. While a plastic tree may be more convenient, Greg Hann, owner of Hann’s Christmas Tree Farm in Oregon, Wis., helps shed some light on the benefits that a real Christmas tree can bring to not only your home, but the local ecosystem as well.

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It’s December and pretty much every network and streaming service seemingly has a show aimed at spreading holiday cheer. For those looking to skip re-runs of Christmases past, there’s a bounty of fresh shows and specials targeted to traditionalists, romantics and family friendly entertainment. The holiday-themed offerings are abundant this year, including musical events like a “CMA Country Christmas" and a new Mariah Carey holiday special on CBS. There's also the documentary called “Santa Camp” on HBO Max about efforts to make Santa stand-ins more diverse, plus a holiday feast how-to from beloved British home cook Mary Berry.

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