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Tips For Holiday Returns; Handling Divisive Political Talk Over The Holidays; Brother-Sister Duo Who Have Helped Inspire Change All Over The Country. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired December 25, 2019 - 08:30   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And if you're buying them a sweater, you probably really don't know them.

Look, returns during the holiday can seem very daunting, and some retailers have a no questions asked policy to return those trousers or that sweater. But others have very strict rules that can make returning things frustrating or impossible.

So here's what you need to know before you head back to the mall. Do not open the box. Smile and thank grandma, but do not open the box. Don't remove the packaging on any gift you don't want especially for electronics.

This is important, your risk a restocking fee if the packaging isn't intact, and if products are missing any tags, you're going to be stuck with them.

Keep those gift receipts and you can remind grandma to give you a gift receipt, but be careful not to throw them out with the wrapping paper. That also happens.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You say it very loudly.

ROMANS: Yes, some retailers are not going to let you return your gift without one and others may give store credit instead. Check return policies in store and online.

During the holidays, some retailers will extend their deadlines often until late January, but my -- you know, sort of my rule of thumb is you've got a week or two to really get rid of this stuff, right?

Bring an ID. There are stores like Best Buy and Victoria's Secret that use computerized return authorization systems because they're trying to detect abuse. Those are places where people do like, you know, serial returns as part of a scam.

They can also determine how many times a customer has tried to return items. You might be asked that you show your driver's license or another ID if you return an item in person.

You know, it's really an art giving gifts that people actually want. So here's what's popular this year: Clothing and accessories are number one, gift cards are number two, they always are. The National Retail Federation says more than half of gift givers will purchase three to four gift cards on average. Toys are next, then books, music and movies.

The top toys this year, Barbie is still number one for girls. She always rules. LEGO is still the top toy for boys, although LEGO is on the girls' gift, too.

One trend to keep an eye on next year, guys, in retail of e-commerce. Apps like Runway and Poshmark have paved the way from brands like Thread Up, an online thrift store that has gained popularity this year. Data shows that secondhand clothes market is likely to reach $41 billion by 2022.

So the bottom line there is that people are renting stuff. They're not buying sweaters anyway. So keep that in mind.

BERMAN: I just wear sweaters from the 1990s. But you know, if you're looking for books, "Amanda Wakes Up," now available in paperback.


ROMANS: I thought that would be wrapped with a bow. But I do understand you want to me show me the front.

BERMAN: It's really good. Well, you've got several copies already.

CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh.

ROMANS: But can I say something about the gift cards? The thing about the gift cards that I've been -- I fight with retail analysts about this all the time, because you know, there's a big percentage of gift cards that are never redeemed.

So if you give a gift card, keep in mind you might be just giving somebody something that they're not going to use.

BERMAN: Isn't that the game? I mean, that's what the retailers' dream, is they want you to give the gift card that --

ROMANS: I think that's part of the game. But I know the kids these days, they really love the gift card, you know.

CAMEROTA: Because otherwise you risk buying somebody a present that you don't know exactly their tastes. So a gift card covers you.

ROMANS: But what is the meaning of a gift, right? It should be something from the heart that shows you know the person you're saying thank you and I love you. There's a piece of plastic to that? I don't know. Here, John, here's 25 bucks. Go get yourself something in credit.

BERMAN: That got me really excited. I tend to make things like collage. I think collage is under appreciated on Christmas.

ROMANS: Macrame, I could use a macrame planter, a nice macrame planter would be lovely.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Okay, I look forward to getting that for you.

BERMAN: Christine Romans, Merry Christmas.

CAMEROTA: Thank you, Christine.

ROMANS: Merry Christmas.

CAMEROTA: Merry Christmas.

ROMANS: Merry Christmas.

BERMAN: It's Christmas Day during one of the most divisive times in the nation's recent history. We will focus less on what divides us and more on what unites us, next.



BERMAN: So the Holidays can be a joyous time when families come together and celebrate what's most important, but they can also be source of stress.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I've heard that.

BERMAN: Especially given how divided the country is right now. For more on what to keep in mind as many Americans celebrate Christmas, we're joined by Father Dave Dwyer, the host of "The Busted Halo Show" on Sirius XM's Catholic channel and CNN political analyst, David Gregory.

So Father, this is one of those questions we face heading into the holidays.


BERMAN: You know, how do you deal with politics? Or how do you talk about politics in a family where you might have divided views into me, and forgive me for being cynical here -- the answers are either A. Don't.

DWYER: Right.

BERMAN: Or B. Just suck it up and deal with it. You really don't get along as well as you don't think you do anyway.

DWYER: I would hope that there could be some sort of middle ground that's based in charity and it's based in love. The fact that we are family first, and maybe even honestly, for some families, just setting ground rules when you walk in with the casserole, okay, can we agree that we love each other and everything else can be subservient to that.

CAMEROTA: That's nice. I mean, I think that that's a nice one. Just go in and agree that you're not going to have a political fight that day.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. The real challenge in a toxic political environment is how do we, you know, how do we bring God into it a little bit? Which we seldom do we do. We don't do it in media. We don't do it in daily life.

But, how do we bring our best selves into it? Even though it's a passionate fight about politics, how do we try to recognize the other? So what I say is, how do we bring a little bit more humility into it? You can't do it in a straight up, you know, political -- political analysis, or if you're covering a political fight, but in how we interact with each other is how do we bring a little bit more humility into it?

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, you've written a book, "How's Your Faith?"

GREGORY: Right. John didn't mention that. He wasn't very generous about that.

BERMAN: Well, I was going to mention --

CAMEROTA: He glossed right over that.

GREGORY: But why am I here?

BERMAN: I've read "Amanda Wakes Up." Where does it -- is it like "Amanda Wakes Up."

CAMEROTA: I mean, it's not as great, but how do you suggest injecting God into our conversations if it doesn't come naturally?

GREGORY: Well, I think God could be a complicated topic for a lot of people. People who both don't believe or who don't like to talk openly about God being a source of inspiration in their lives.

But I think for people of faith, I would consider myself one as well as obviously the Father, is to look for God for inspiration and to help us master our worst impulses.


GREGORY: And I think that at a time when there's toxicity around this question of who we are and who we are becoming as a country, I think we look at individual interactions, our relationships within our families, within our communities. There, we can try to find some understanding. There, we can knock some successes through forgiveness, through compassion, through just listening, that maybe it can be carried forward.

Everything we look at is so nationalized, that we're walking down the street and thinking about our national life instead of looking at you and saying, you know, how are you? Or you know, thank you for doing this for me. Those things, I think, matter. I don't think it's Pollyannaish just to say.

DWYER: You are a child of God. You're my son, you're my daughter. And even as you're talking about the other, and broader than just on Christmas Day, because Christmas Day will end and maybe the smiles will come off.

Can we all agree that we are human and we can be charitable and respectful of one another and have a conversation about something that I don't particularly agree with, but I'd like to hear what you are passionate about? You know, I-statements, I feel like this. Well, how do you feel?

BERMAN: Well, you've just presented two things which are way too absent in our culture every day, which is one, listening, and two humility, which you brought up there.

And you know, it's interesting because I was asking just how people get along on Christmas Day. And you guys I think, rightfully brought in God, I wasn't necessarily thinking I was going to leave it to God.

I was hoping to get through the day, maybe you know, with more mundane means.

GREGORY: The challenge of finding God is not listening to your sermon, it's going to the airport, when we feel the most stress, the most entitled by the way, how dare you look in my bag?

This is where how do we find some patience? How do we kind of, you know, get bigger than that particular moment? And this is where, I don't think we are good enough, we do a good enough job even in the realm of politics.

I had a senator suggest to me once it's great if you're a person of faith to say to another elected leader, hey, what motivates you? This is what motivates me. It cannot be a common bond, and maybe that can trickle out a little bit into how we disagree about stuff.

BERMAN: Where is God in the airport? In the Sky Club? Just saying.

DWYER: There is a special business. There is a special God club.

BERMAN: From what --

DWYER: There used to be.

BERMAN: It's above platinum.

GREGORY: This is the cynicism we're talking about. It's right here.

CAMEROTA: I didn't see that.

DWYER: It breaks my heart to hear when families are going home for Christmas and sometimes people have told me that they had to make different plans, like they weren't literally weren't welcome in their parents' house because of a political divide.

And if we can't be, you know, humans first and people of faith and family first and then, you know, Americans first and then partisan politics. We've kind of got some things in the wrong order, unfortunately.

GREGORY: But a part of this, too, you know, I mean, in Judaism, we say that, you know, Torah is not up in the sky, it's not beyond our reach. It's in our mouth, it's on our lips. It's something that we can live every day and some of the basic kindnesses and again, it doesn't have to sound trite to say, can there be a little bit more acceptance of each other, forgiveness of each other? Can we be a little bit more compassionate?

And again, in this toxicity piece, when we're circling around this idea of who are we? Again, when you talk about like the President, people say like, what kind of person are you if you're for the President? Instead of saying, hey, you know, we may disagree about this, but where are you coming from on this? Do you -- what about this over here? What about that over there?

But you know, okay, we can -- because it's not so much a question about what do you believe in? It's a question of who you are, and that's dangerous territory.

DWYER: And listening as what you said. I mean, whether it's the family meal or it's somebody at the airport on the subway, do what psychologists tells you to do, ask people about themselves. Well, tell me why that's interesting to you, as opposed to, this is what I feel and I don't want to hear about you.

BERMAN: But the other thing you can do, which is you know, do stuff together.

DWYER: Yes, that would be great.

BERMAN: Find something that you can all do inside the house. The other night -- and I know for a lot of Christians that's going to church. We should all do it together and probably should do together. But there are other things, too. Go bowling. My family will go bowling, right?

CAMEROTA: I play Scrabble.


CAMEROTA: It's great. I mean, I agree that these family games and group games and anything where you have to understand each other and you have to be patient while somebody else is doing something.

DWYER: And make it a balance. Let's make sure that we do some of that. And there's usually -- in every family, there's usually some cheerleader, somebody is going to say, hey, let's play the game. Make sure we do that because we know that we're going to spend 20 minutes or an hour fighting about politics. Okay, let's do that. Let's also have fun together.

GREGORY: But we also face in families, we all face tough issues with in our families. But that's one of the most important -- it is the most important unit to get right.


GREGORY: That's your most important community to work on those relationships and when those relationships can bet get better, then you think about widening out those concentric circles of communities.

DWYER: We would believe in Christianity and Judaism that the family is the building block of a healthy society. And so if all this is going on around us, we at least have to get this right so that we can move out from there.

GREGORY: And it's the absence of some sense of understanding of each other and respect for each other, especially belief, the absence of faith in the public square and this is an issue. A lot of people are secular. They don't want it injected into politics, and I obviously respect that. But if you can understand people's motivations.


GREGORY: We don't have faith leaders who are weighing in on our public debates today. I think that's a critical absence. I think there's a lot of cynicism about organized religion, unfortunately. But the absence of those voices does not temper the passions of our politics. I think that's too bad.

And we've talked about this every year at this time, I'd love to see that improve, to get more of those leaders of faith talking about politics, coming on NEW DAY to talk about politics through that prism, and not just when we want to have a clear topic about faith.

CAMEROTA: And so, Father, you said before you were heartbroken about some of the divisiveness, is there any reason to be hopeful today?

DWYER: Yes. Oh, absolutely. Well, for instance, there's a great reason to be hopeful today. Merry Christmas. We believe that this is -- it was essentially, forgive me, but it was a new dawn. It was a new day in the history of Christianity when Christ our Lord came among us and brought to us salvation.

So salvation means that they there is hope for everyone. We can all be redeemed, whether it's literally religiously or it's just like, can we redeem our toxic and divisive culture? Absolutely, I believe we can. Yes.

CAMEROTA: Thank you so much. Great to have this conversation with both of you guys. Merry Christmas.

DWYER: Merry Christmas.

GREGORY: Merry Christmas.

CAMEROTA: Okay, up next, we'll visit a brother-sister duo who have helped inspire change all over the country.


[08:50:02] CAMEROTA: Parkland, Florida: A city now best known for a school

shooting. In the almost two years since 17 people were murdered at their high school, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas have spearheaded a national conversation about school security and stopping gun violence.

Two of the people leading that charge, David and Lauren Hogg. They are a brother and sister who survived the massacre by hiding in their classrooms, and they've become political and cultural forces, inspiring thousands of people including me.

Here's my Champions for Change.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

CAMEROTA: Another deadly school shooting.

I am in Parkland, Florida, scene of the latest school shooting.

This is the site of the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. since Sandy Hook.

When I got the call that Parkland had happened, that there was yet another school shooting, my heart sank. I have kids that I send off to school every day and I know that they are no safer than the kids at Parkland were.

I flew down to Parkland. The next morning we were on the air first thing.

We're joined by two of the shooting survivors.

David Hogg was one of my first interviews. Something was different right away.

DAVID HOGG, PARKLAND SHOOTING SURVIVOR: No legislative action has been taken. All we have now is more guns and more chances for things to go wrong.

CAMEROTA: A senior at the time, he took cover in a classroom during the shooting and worried about his sister Lauren, a freshman.

He just gripped the whole country's attention.

HOGG: Please take action.

CAMEROTA: He turned right to the camera. He was already beseeching leaders to jump into action with him.

HOGG: You guys, like are the adults. You need to take some action and play a role. Work together. Come over your politics.

CAMEROTA: Even in the hours after they'd been through the most hideous tragedy imaginable, they were already trying to change the world.

Lauren, how are you feeling?

And I felt the same way when I met Lauren Hogg.

LAUREN HOGG, PARKLAND SHOOTING SURVIVOR: Thinking about all the victims and I just know there's a reason why I made it out that day and that reason has to be to make change.

CAMEROTA: The #NeverAgain propped up because they didn't want to ever have this happen again.

D. HOGG: We say no more.

CAMEROTA: They've traveled around the country. They've met other survivors of gun violence. They got the laws changed in Florida. They're not letting the lawmakers forget it.

What are we looking at here?

L. HOGG: This is our art installation. As I put up all those hundreds of crosses, crescents and stars of David's, I thought of my friends last year. We wrote things like teacher, doctor, to represent not only the people who were taken from gun violence, but are taken from society they are in.

CAMEROTA: You wanted to get the attention of lawmakers.

L. HOGG: That's why we did it here, because we wanted those people while they're walking in between breaks, when they're leaving work and know that they're inaction is leading for our friends or sisters or brothers or moms and dads to die every single day.

CAMEROTA: When you hit obstacles, how is it that you have been able to stay energized?

D. HOGG: By looking back at the success that we have had, we focused on youth voter turnout and raising the youths' voice because we know that it's not Democrats or Republicans that can solve this issue, it is us human beings to solve this issue.

CAMEROTA: Is it true that the Parkland students were your inspiration to run for office?

REP. LUCY MCBATH (D-GA): Absolutely. I stood up and decided to run to flip for the Federal seat after Parkland. I was devastated that here again, we had children that were the same age as my son that were gunned down. It would be a tragedy if I didn't stand up and that would be letting down my son and his legacy and every other family, every other victim that I have cried with over the last seven years. Since Jordan was murdered.

Each generation culturally has a cause. Sitting at the lunch counters, you know, walking out of classrooms. It's the same thing. This is the civil rights movement that these young people are fighting for. D. HOGG: Change is here.

We need a Congress that goes out there and talks about this issue and gives us a deadline of when they're going to actually like be able to stop gun violence.

CAMEROTA: David graduated from Stoneman Douglas in 2018. He is taking a year off from his studies to focus on activism, and he plans to attend Harvard this fall.

L. HOGG: I feel as though in the last year we have made an abundant amount of progress. Honestly, how young people really have realized their power is the thing that I find to be the most profound.

REBECCA BOLDRICK, DAVID AND LAUREN HOGG'S MOTHER: They are change makers. I see both of them really changing the conversation in this country about gun violence. And then going forward and being leaders in our country.

L. HOGG: It's still hard for me to think of myself as an activist because honestly, I never had that in mind when I started speaking out. I just was a kid who was upset that my friends were murdered in my school.


D. HOGG: I also look ahead to the future. I mean, I just can't wait until we've passed our first piece of Federal legislation. That will just be an incredibly impactful moment.

CAMEROTA: What's been your greatest achievement?

D. HOGG: Now that we've shown that we can lead and we are leading together with other generations, I know that we can end this issue.

CAMEROTA: I'm just so impressed with these kids. All of us thought maybe this will peter out. Maybe they'll have to be busy with school, but they haven't given up. They're just as strong a year later. They just are as energized as the day that I first met them.


BERMAN: They really are remarkable people. And look, Christmas is about a lot of different feelings, and one of them is hope. And I think they signify a certain kind of hope. A hope that things will change.

CAMEROTA: I agree. I mean, they could have been paralyzed by the tragedy and nobody would ever have blamed them, but somehow they and so many of their classmates sprung into action and had been so inspiring for all of us.

BERMAN: All right, so from our entire CNN family, everyone here at NEW DAY, thank you so much for joining us. We'll see you back here tomorrow morning at six o'clock Eastern Time.

CAMEROTA: "CNN NEWSROOM" is next. Have a great Holiday and a very Merry Christmas.