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Skeptical 6-year-old destroys Santa in Christmas letter

A 6-year-old’s acerbic letter to Santa is going viral after his mother posted the missive on Twitter.

NPR reporter Sarah McCammon on Sunday shared her son’s letter, which was a class assignment, with her more than 38,000 followers. 

“My 6yo Santa skeptic was told to write a letter to Santa at school,” McCammon wrote. “So he did….”

By Monday morning, McCammon’s tweet had been liked about 13,000 times and retweeted close to 5,000 times. 

The letter read: 

“Dear Santa,

“Santa Im only doing this for the class. I know your notty list is emty. And your good list is emty. and your life is emty. You dont know the trouble Ive had in my life. Good bye.

“Love,

“Im not tell you my name.”

McCammon, who took note of her son’s artwork on the letter -- Christmas wreaths along one margin and skulls along the other -- was careful to double back and clarify one thing.

“PS, the ‘troubles’ in his life? His brother,” she wrote. “Don’t call child services.”

Her followers found the boy’s letter hilarious. Some parents took the opportunity to share their own children’s atypical letters to St. Nick. 

Others speculated on his future career, with guesses ranging from his becoming a journalist, like his mother, to a country songwriter. 

Still, other commenters just sat back and took a moment to appreciate the level of disquiet in a person so young.

“That much existential angst in a 6-year-old is amazing,” one follower wrote. “As a parent of older kids, I feel free to warn you, the teen years may be a challenge.”

Some who responded seemed to feel a kinship with the boy. 

“This child is my spirit animal,” one woman wrote. 

Starbucks releases another holiday cup

Weeks after releasing a color-it-yourself cup, Starbucks is releasing another holiday cup.

>> Related: Starbucks releases color-it-yourself holiday cups

The new cup is red with an illustration of hands around a heart.

“The red cup is a clean design, with the heart as a space where people can highlight someone in their life who makes the season special,” said Jordan Kay, the designer of the cup. “The design symbolizes the love and warmth felt during the holiday season, when we connect with friends and family.”

The cup released earlier this month, also designed by Kay, is mostly white, giving customers the option to color in between the lines.

The new red cup, which Starbucks says celebrates “the good in each other,” will be given to customers for a limited time, according to The Associated Press.

“By introducing this cup, Starbucks encourages customers to recognize those who fill their heart and embody goodness this holiday season by writing that person’s name in the heart of the cup,” a Starbucks representative wrote in a news release.

Customers are encouraged to share photos with their red cups on social media with the hashtag #GiveGood.

“The holidays are about remembering what it means to give love and put goodness out into the world,” said Leanne Fremar, executive creative director for Starbucks. “We loved the idea of celebrating the good in each other this holiday season.”

This year marks the 20th year that the coffee chain has released holiday cups. 

In recent years, critics have condemned the cups, claiming they have become anti-Christian or anti-Christmas. President Donald Trump even suggested boycotting the coffee giant in the midst of what he has referred to as the “war on Christmas.”

Last year’s holiday cups were green, and Starbucks officials said the cup represented “a symbol of unity.”

>> Related: Protesters build 8,000-cup wall, monster in front of Starbucks' headquarters

Driver with giant Christmas tree on roof stopped by police

Police in Massachusetts caught what looks like a scene from “Christmas Vacation” on the road Monday, prompting them to remind drivers to be careful when transporting trees this holiday season.

>> Read more trending news

Officers said Friday that they stopped a driver who had a massive Christmas tree unsafely perched atop a vehicle on Route 20 in Sudbury.

Police shared a photo of the tree draped over the vehicle to remind drivers what a dangerous load looks like.

“Sudbury PD would like to remind you to transport your Holiday trees responsibly,” police said in the Facebook post.

Georgia cop drank 10 beers, threw shoes at kids before Thanksgiving arrest, report says

A Cherokee County, Georgia, sheriff’s deputy drew his gun on a Roswell police officer on Thanksgiving when he responded to a domestic dispute at the officer’s Woodstock home, authorities said.

Chad Harris, a sergeant with the Roswell Police Department, was arrested early Thanksgiving morning and charged with simple battery, battery and two counts of cruelty to children. He was released from a Cherokee County jail on $4,500 bond and placed on administrative leave from the Roswell Police Department.

An incident report from the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office reveals new details about the arrest. According to the report, Harris drank 10 beers, threw shoes at his children and left scratch marks on his wife’s neck.

>> On AJC.com: Thanksgiving thief steals tires, rims off car

Deputies arrived at Harris’ home in Woodstock at 1:41 a.m. on Nov. 23 after his son called 911, according to the report. When deputies arrived, they could hear two people arguing, “screams,” “bangs” and “thumps” coming from inside the home.

When the deputies approached to enter the home, the front door was flung open by a woman later identified as Harris’ wife, and “it looked as if (Harris) was pushing her through the front door,” according to the deputies’ report. A deputy wrote in the report that the “surprise” from the door being flung open coupled with the bangs and screams influenced the deputy to draw his weapon and aim at Harris.

>> Read more trending news 

The deputies told Harris to get on the ground, and they put him in handcuffs when he did, according to the report. This is when Harris told the deputies he was a sergeant within the Roswell Police Department.

The report notes that two victims, a 42-year-old and a 17-year-old, had visible injuries and were given medical attention. Harris told deputies he never touched his wife, but admitted to throwing the shoes.

According to the report, Harris told deputies he was a 15-year law enforcement veteran and that the arrest would “ruin his career.”

Anonymous donor gives more than $12,000 to Walmart employees for Black Friday work

All across the country last week, families joined together to celebrate Thanksgiving and ring in the beginning of the holiday season. And much of that celebration was possible because of retail workers who routinely work on Thanksgiving and Black Friday every year. 

>> Reporter gets upset over lack of Black Friday shoppers

Now, 125 lucky Texas Walmart employees who worked through Thanksgiving and Black Friday received anonymous donations for working over the long holiday weekend. 

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

According to a news release, the employees received an anonymous $100 donation through the Earnin app, which allows people to access a day’s pay immediately after a shift is over. The more than $12,000 in donations were made through an anonymous donor with no ties to the Wal-Mart Corp., according to the news release.

>> On Statesman.com: If you’re in a giving mood, you don’t have to wait until Giving Tuesday. Here are this year’s Season For Caring families.

One of the workers who received a donation is in Austin. 

“This is the best news I could have gotten today,” Stephani Kohl said. “I definitely needed this break. I'll be able to get my babies a couple extra presents.”

Erick Rock of Dallas said the donation made his Black Friday shift worth all the hassle. 

>> Read more trending news

“I wasn’t thrilled about working on Black Friday because I knew what to expect. For this to come up after a day’s work literally lit my day and brought me to near tears.”

Cyber Monday: 5 things to know before you start shopping

Don’t expect much work to get done at the office Monday.

Your co-workers -- and, let’s be honest here, probably you, too -- will no doubt be surfing the web in search of Cyber Monday shopping deals. 

>> Read more trending news

Cyber Monday is when a variety of retailers trot out some of the season’s best online bargains. 

While there was more of a tech focus in its early days, that’s no longer the case. Hop online this Cyber Monday and you’ll see just about anything you can imagine – clothes, computers, toys and even vacations – marked down to must-have prices. 

Here are five things you need to know about Cyber Monday: 

1. Shop early: Many deals involve products that are only available in limited quantities. That means no rain checks. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. Experienced online shoppers tend to stake out the store’s website days in advance, adding the items they want to their carts. That way, they’re ready to pounce early on Monday, before stock is depleted. 

>> Related: Cyber Monday 2017: Your guide to deals from Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy and more

2. What’s popular: Of the consumers surveyed by BlackFriday.com and Offers.com, 22 percent said clothing topped their shopping lists this Cyber Monday. Tablets, laptops, PCs and TVs were next, coming in at 21 percent, followed by smart-home devices (17 percent), gift cards (15 percent), toys (14 percent) and travel (11 percent). 

3. Best deals: WalletHub.com says Kohl’s has the steepest discounts, with prices marked down by 66.32 percent, on average. JCPenney is in hot pursuit, according to the site, with discounts averaging 66.3 percent. Other retailers on the list with a Central Texas presence include Sears (52.78 percent) and Macy’s (45.58 percent). 

4. Stack coupons: More coupons, more savings. Many chains allow shoppers to use multiple coupons or promo codes on the same transaction, a practice known as “stacking.” Kohl’s, for instance, lets shoppers use up to four promo codes in a single online transaction. 

>> Related: The best Cyber Monday 2017 deals on tech, clothing, home and more

5. In-store pickup: If your purchase isn’t big enough to qualify for free shipping, consider same-day in-store pickup. It’s free, and Best Buy and other merchants often have online orders ready for in-store pickup in as little as an hour or two (although it might take a little longer during the busy holiday season). If your item isn’t available for same-day in-store pickup, see if there’s a ship-to-store option. Walmart and others don’t typically charge for this service. They’ll send an email or text when your purchase arrives from the central warehouse.

New Christmas edition of 'Make America Great Again' hats on sale

As the holiday season approaches and people prepare for Christmas lists and gift-giving, a new hat has become available for Trump supporters.

>> Read more trending news

The president’s website recently debuted a “Make America Great Again” hat that shows the iconic words draped in a string of Christmas lights.

The hat debuted in mid-November, when the official GOP Twitter account showed a brief video of it.

On the GOP website, President Donald Trump’s original “Make America Great Again” hats are being sold for $25. The new Christmas-themed hat, which says “Merry Christmas” on the back, is being sold for $45.

>> Related: President Trump says you'll be hearing 'Merry Christmas' a lot more this year

On Black Friday, the president posted a link to his products on his Facebook page with the caption “We’ve got a great deal for our supporters this Black Friday!”

In regard to how the slogan came to be, Trump told The Washington Post that the phrase came to him the day that Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney in the general election on Nov. 7, 2012. Trump said he was sitting in his Manhattan tower when the idea came to his mind, and five days later, a trademark was pending.

Democrats initially slammed his slogan, but pundits saw the ring to it. Some pointed out that “Make America Great Again” had been used before; Reagan used it in 1980 on his campaign trail. But Trump owned the four words, and when other candidates began using the phrase in their speeches, Trump’s lawyers sent off cease-and-desist letters.

Trump’s iconic red hat has changed over time; after he won the election, he released a hat with the letters “USA” embroidered on the front in white.

While he might own the rights to those words, that hasn’t stopped other brands from selling fake versions of Trump’s famous caps. A search on Google Shopping for “Make America Great Again hat” yields hundreds of products, most of them boasting price tags much lower than Trump’s official hat on the GOP website.

Photos: 2017 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

10 tips on shipping packages during the holiday season

Braving the crowds on Black Friday may be the easiest part of holiday shopping. Shipping packages to gift receivers around the country can be a huge challenge – both in getting the gifts there in one piece and in keeping your budget under control.

Here are 10 tips to help you ship your gifts:

>> Read more trending news

1. Buy something you can mail easily

This seems like you’re buying for you and not them, but odds are there is something on your recipient’s list that is easy to ship through the mail.

Even with the right packing precautions, it’s always safer to buy items you know can survive a bumpy trip through the mail. Apparel, shoes and most toys are a safe bet.

>> Start planning now for military holiday shipping deadlines

2. Know the rules

The United States Postal Service has restrictions on what can be shipped, both internationally and domestically. Some things, such as ammunition, are completely prohibited, while other things, such as nail polish and perfumes, have restrictions.

Find out more at usps.com/ship/shipping-restrictions.htm.

>> These are the best gift cards of the 2017 holiday season

3. Pay attention to the box

Make sure to use a new, sturdy box that’s a few inches larger than your gift on all sides to allow for plenty of packing materials. Using that box that’s been in the basement all year can result in your gifts cascading out at the wrong moment.

The Postal Service estimates that a crease can reduce a box’s strength by as much as 70 percent.

>> 10 tips for Black Friday shopping

4. Buy good packing material

The Postal Service suggests using higher-performing cushioning materials made of polyethylene or polyurethane. Basic polystyrene cushioning can endure only one impact.

Using stronger, but thinner cushioning is better because you can use a smaller box and save on shipping costs if the price is based on the package’s dimensions and weight.

Newspaper is not a great choice because it flattens, but it’s good for wrapping fragile items and separating them from other items in the box.

>> Oprah’s 2017 favorite things list is the ultimate holiday gift guide — Here are our 11 top picks

5. Shake it

You want your packing job to result in a tight fit. Use at least 1 inch of cushioning around the item—top, bottom and all four sides — to fill in any air spaces. There should be very little movement when you shake the box.

The key point is to keep the gift items as far away from the box’s walls as possible. When you have a very fragile item, use two boxes, and cushion around the inner box with at least 3 inches of packing peanuts.

>> Too much Christmas music is bad for your health

6. Know your deadlines

The holiday season is the busiest time of year for the Postal Service. These are the dates they recommend shipping items in the contiguous United States to make sure they arrive on time.

  • USPS Retail Ground: Dec. 14
  • First Class Mail: Dec. 19 (Alaska Dec. 20; Hawaii Dec. 15)
  • Priority Mail: Dec. 20 (Alaska Dec. 20; Hawaii Dec. 15)
  • Priority Mail Express: Dec. 22 (Alaska Dec. 21; Hawaii Dec. 20)

For more information on shipping to the rest of the world, visit www.usps.com/holiday.

>> 7 tips for buying the best artificial Christmas tree this season

7. Flat-rate is your friend

FedEx, UPS and the Postal Service all offer flat-rate boxes, meaning that you can pack as much as you can into a box and ship it for one price. However, these do come with some limits – for example, UPS and the USPS only allows up to 70 pounds, while FedEx only allows 50 pounds.

>> PHOTOS: Rockefeller Center Plaza Christmas Tree arrives in New York

8. Look for deals

Do a little shopping around before you ship. Some places, such as PostNet stores, will help you compare shipping prices. You can also do this online at sites such as Shipgooder.com.

USPS, FedEx and UPS also have tools on their websites to estimate shipping costs.

>> 10 ways to save money during the holidays

9. Avoid missed packages

If you want to help your recipient avoid unwanted snooping from neighbors or children, consider sending the gift to their workplace. If it’s meant for kids, that’ll help keep it away from prying eyes. It will also help people from missing deliveries at home.

Keep your tracking numbers handy so you can pinpoint the package’s destination and lets its recipients know when to look out for it.

>> 10 holiday activities that don't have to involve eating

10. Consider insurance

Santa’s delivery service isn’t always perfect, so it’s worth considering insurance on whatever you’re shipping.

Ask your shipper about insurance or a declared-value option. The post office includes $100 of insurance in its Priority Mail Express shipping and offers options for declaring a higher value, for a fee.

If your package ends up being damaged in transit, but the shipping company determines that you packed it improperly, or did not follow proper packing procedures, they may have grounds to deny your claim.

60+ people fall ill after company Thanksgiving party

Some 1,800 people may have been exposed to a foodborne illness at a Thanksgiving dinner.

>> Watch the news report here

The catered sit-down event was at the Toyo Tire plant in Bartow County, Georgia.

WSB-TV's Berndt Petersen spoke with one of the employees who got sick. The employee, who asked not to be identified, said he dug into the meal and everything tasted fine.

>> Top Thanksgiving food safety tips

But he says later that day, he and a bunch of co-workers felt awful.

“I started getting really bad stomach cramps, and the only food I ate I threw up," the employee said.

“We know that a large number of people, about 60 that we've had reports of so far, possibly more, have gone to local emergency departments with symptoms of foodborne illness," said Logan Boss with the Georgia Department of Public Health.

>> Thanksgiving 2017: The best and worst times to drive and fly this Thanksgiving

Boss told Petersen that two patients had to be admitted to Cartersville Medical Center.

The caterer for the event was Angelo's Pizza and Bistro, located about 20 minutes from the plant.

>> 56 stores confirm they will be closed on Thanksgiving Day 2017

The owner would not go on camera on the advice of his lawyer, but while Petersen was at the restaurant, he saw employees scrubbing the place from top to bottom.

In the meantime, the Toyo Tire worker said it was a Thanksgiving meal he'll never forget.

“Everything I ate for three days, I threw up. So, finally last night, my wife made me go to the hospital. When I did, they diagnosed me with salmonella," the employee told Petersen.

>> Read more trending news

The attorney for Angelo's Pizza said the owner and his family are heartbroken over this and offer deepest sympathies to those affected.

They have voluntarily closed the restaurant pending a health department inspection.

Calls to a Toyo Tire representative were not returned.

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