Editor's Note: Yes, Arizona There is Santa Clause

We learned from the whos down in Whoville that Christmas doesn't come in a box, so I'm not going to miss (too much) the big gift exchange that typically happens with my extended family around the tree. But I am going to miss the holiday tradition of carving the roast beast in the company of my sister, brothers, nieces, nephews, in-laws and friends this weekend. It's not going to be the same without enjoying big meals around big tables with lots of big love. But with the way that COVID cases are jumping, I'm gonna follow the advice of the health experts out there and keep it simple this year. Next year, tho....

With COVID widespread, Tucsonans have been creative about how they are celebrating this holiday this year. Associate editor Jeff Gardner catches up with Santa himself this week, as well as the crew at the Tucson Jewish Community Center and the Tucson Botanical Gardens, to find out how they are adapting their usual holiday celebrations to the pandemic.

We're also bringing you a little something special in this overstocked stocking of an issue: An excerpt from Sonata, the final posthumous book from Charles Bowden. I can remember reading Chuck's stories when I was folding newspapers for my Tucson Citizen delivery route before he became an acclaimed author of books. Sonata is filled with staccato vignettes that range from tales of the drug war to meditations on the likes of painter Vincent Van Gogh, Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortes and musician Charles Ives. Along with Jericho, also released this year by University of Texas Press, Sonata completes Bowden's Unnatural History of America, which also includes the books Blood Orchid, Dakotah, Some of the Dead Are Still Breathing and Blues for Cannibals.

Elsewhere in this issue: Staff reporter Nicole Ludden brings us a chilling update about overcrowding at local hospitals and the grim predictions of one local health expert, who says we'll start to see 500 COVID deaths per day in Arizona starting this week; columnist Tom Danehy sums up 2020 in verse; Tucsonans share their resolutions for the year; Cannabis 520 columnist David Abbott explains why you may want to hang onto your medical card, even if voters have legalized recreational weed; and there are many other diversions to enjoy in this issue before you use it for kindling for your Yule Log.

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

— Jim Nintzel Executive Editor

Hear Nintz talk about the latest on the outbreak and other news at 8:30 Wednesday mornings on The Frank Show on KLPX, 91.1 FM.

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