Issue No. 06 | Gifted

The Giving Season

It’s the end of another year—a time for holidays and cheer, and, for many, an exchanging of gifts. Of course, not every gift is expected or desired, and not every gift can be unwrapped. In this issue, we explore the idea of what it means to be gifted, literally and metaphorically, via an advent calendar made up of 31 stories, including a 12-part comedic series starring Maria Bamford.

Come back for a new gift, every day in December.


Cold Open

Life Is a Gift

When a present becomes more than just an object.

The Greatest Gift a President Ever Got

How a small sculpture by Frederic Remington became the only seemingly permanent fixture of the White House’s West Wing.

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About the Cover (Gifted)

The ultimate gift-wrap.

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You Are Good at Things

Choosing a doughnut, spying on other people’s text messages, touching your toes ... you are gifted. You are talented. You are good at things!

Off Topic

‘Their Spirits Were Trapped in Those Masks’

No one wants these faces of Native American POWs—not the Smithsonian, not Harvard—because of how they were made.

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The Hidden Networks of Dog Rescue

The South is full of unwanted dogs in kill shelters. But sometimes, there’s a happy ending.

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Snowy Bing Bongs Across The North Star Combat Zone

Could this dance-comedy-sketch weirdness become a new holiday tradition? Consider swapping your Yule log for Cocoon Central Dance Team’s visually stunning potpourri of...something.

The Bar Mitzvah Party Starters

It’s hard to be the life of the party when you’re a 13-year-old. So you hire professionals.

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The Gift

3 Parts | 10 min Three women— an opera singer, a painter and a style icon—demonstrate their singular, special gifts.

Ave Maria Bamford

12 Parts | 30 min Fear. Financial ruin. Loneliness and heartbreak. This month, comedian Maria Bamford stars in a 12-part special for those who find the gifting season as insufferable as it is celebratory.

Off Topic

On Being ‘Young, Gifted, and Black’

The twisting journey of an iconic phrase through 20th century America.

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The Night Before GIF-Mas

A different telling of the iconic holiday poem.

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Roxane Gay: “I’m Really Bad At Saying No.”

When you’re a singular talent with a true gift, everyone wants a piece of you.


Sorting through what loved ones leave behind after death is an important part of bearing witness, and moving forward.

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Off Topic

Where Big Bows Come From

One company dominates the market.

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Off Topic

The 62-Year-Old Child Genius

The adult life of a very smart kid.

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The Hustle of Financial Domination

Taking over a man’s bank account or receiving copious gift cards sounds like easy money, but the dominatrixes will tell you, it’s a grind.

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Gift of the Whale

The whalehunt is a revered tradition that is in danger.

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The Big Bonfire Tradition That Won’t Burn Out

The biggest bonfire in the world happens every New Year’s Eve in The Hague. (Actually, it’s two of the biggest bonfires!)

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