Welcome to Sunday. It will be mostly cloudy with a chance of afternoon showers and a high of 51.

The pandemic shed a light on loneliness, showing the nation what it feels like to be socially isolated. Our main story today highlights a local nonprofit group helping aging Philadelphians fight social isolation throughout the holiday season.

— Paola Pérez (@pdesiperez, morningnewsletter@inquirer.com)

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The holiday season can be a rough time for some, especially when commercials show families gathering and grandparents being welcomed into their kids’ homes.

Marypat Tracy, executive director of SOWN, formerly the Supportive Older Women’s Network, based in Manayunk, says that so much of those ideal pictures can be unrealistic.

Notable quote: “Many can’t afford to travel, many aren’t necessarily close with their kids, and quite a few aren’t healthy enough to go anywhere,” Tracy said. “Americans are sold a bill of goods that you age into golden years, when life is wonderful. Well, that ain’t true for most folks.”

By the numbers: In Philadelphia, there are around 318,000 people aged 60 and older, almost 308,000 of whom live in the community, outside of long-term care facilities. More than 33% (about 103,000) live alone, and around 58% (nearly 180,000) are women, many of whom have outlived their spouses.

At SOWN, staff and volunteers are striving to make sure that the people with whom they interact feel connected to someone.

According to Tracy, there’s a difference between loneliness and social isolation. One can feel the sadness of being lonely in the company of others; it’s a reaction to internal feelings. Social isolation is the absence of social interactions and contacts.

Keep reading to learn about SOWN’s secret to helping older Philadelphians stay connected.

Once a former steel town plagued by deindustrialization, Phoenixville is now a regional hot spot for food and entertainment, attracting both young professionals and empty-nesters. Thousands descend on the Chester County town weekend after weekend.

Phoenixville just capped off the fourth season of its popular outdoor drinking and dining series PXV Inside Out. Leaders say residents and businesses alike widely enjoy it.

But some longtime residents and business owners have their complaints as they feel the growing pains of a bustling borough.

“When we started the revitalization we went with an arts-and-entertainment economic development strategy,” said Barry Cassidy, who was once Phoenixville’s main street manager. “It’s changed now to a more alcohol-based strategy.”

Local officials say they respect all opinions, but that these voices don’t represent all businesses.

Continue reading about the frustrations and differing perspectives about the changing community.

What you should know today

  1. A Philly pro boxer, whose life had been marked by tragedy, was killed in a Delaware shooting.

  2. On Small Business Saturday, ‘the backbone of our economy’ was celebrated in Philly and South Jersey.

  3. A 48-year-old worker died Friday morning after falling down an elevator shaft while working on a building in South Philadelphia.

  4. Pennsylvania medical providers will soon be required to get consent before conducting any pelvic, rectal, or prostate exams on patients under anesthesia.

  5. Pennsylvania has the top five places in U.S. News & World Report’s latest ranking of America’s “100 best places to retire.” Philadelphia and Pittsburgh made the Top 20.

  6. In-person Black Friday shopping isn’t gone. While online shopping may be popular, many did come out to spend their dollars at brick-and-mortar stores across the region. Here’s a look at the day.

  7. The holiday season has arrived, and if you’re looking for festive outdoor fun, a drive- or walk-through holiday light show is a good option. We rounded up the best ones in the Philadelphia area, all of which you can see without spending a cent.

❓Pop quiz❓

Which Abbott Elementary star made a historic cameo as Mrs. Claus at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?

A) Ayo Edebiri

B) Sheryl Lee Ralph

C) Lisa Ann Walter

D) Quinta Brunson

Think you know? Check your answer here.

🧩 Unscramble the anagram

Hint: Follow the smell of German gingerbread and Swiss raclette


Email us if you know the answer. We’ll select a reader at random to shout out here. Cheers to Dawn Macy, who correctly guessed Friday’s answer: City Hall.

Photo of the day

🎶 For today’s Sunday track, we’re listening to: “Champagne glass and we raising a toast / Don’t forget the good times before you go.” 🎶

👋🏽 What remains of Thanksgiving leftovers are calling my name. Have a great day and take care.