Welcome to an early edition of the Happy List!
I thought before I signed off for the rest of the year that I’d squeeze in one more Happy List. Why not, right?
This week on the blog I also wrote a Merry Christmas post on how I’m feeling this year. If you haven’t read it yet it has to do with hugs and nuts. Makes total sense.
While I will be off the blog until after the first of the year or thereabouts, you can always see what we are up to on Instagram or Facebook. I don’t actually know what we will be up to, but there’s usually a project happening on stories.
Also, here’s my last reminder of the year that if we do something you like, it really helps us out when you share our blog or social media posts with your friends. Consider it your good deed for the day!
Also, here’s your weekly reminder if you create something that makes you happy however big or small, please tag me! I really do love to see what you are making. Lately, I’ve seen pictures of your Christmas trees, your ornaments, and one of you festive people even has a bathroom all decked out for Christmas!
Now here’s the Happy List!
LOVE LIVES HERE
It warmed my heart to read about the man who, in 2020, wanted to cheer his neighbor up and strung a set of Christmas lights across the road to connect their two houses.
Little did they know that this one act of kindness would be contagious and soon the whole neighborhood was in on the Christmas light connection.
(image: Leabe Commisso via The Baltimore Sun)
The Washington Post just wrote an update to the story here.
CAKE MIX COOKIES
I love a good cake mix cookie. My kids would probably LOVE it if I dipped the cookie in sprinkles like these by The Pioneer Woman.
Change the color of the sprinkles and it works for whatever holiday you need it to.
Get the recipe here.
(image: The Pioneer Woman)
This “Countdown to the New Year” photo backdrop idea from The House That Lars Built is so fun! It would be easy to make with all of your leftover cardboard boxes.
Get the details here.
(image: The House That Lars Built)
FOR THE BEGINNERS
Many folks will start something new in 2022. This is good advice.
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
– Ira Glass, Host of This American Life
The animatronic T-rex at the London Museum of Natural History is wearing a Christmas sweater that took 100 hours to make.
Totally worth it, I’d say.
(image: London Museum of Natural History)
We’ve seen this guy in person, so we know just how large that sweater would have to be! You can buy human-sized versions of the sweater on the museum’s website. Don’t know if they ship internationally though.
Have you tried the online puzzles over at Google Arts and Culture? You can use your phone or computer for this game.
They are pretty addictive! You can also play with a friend, but I haven’t tried that feature out.
Fair warning. It takes a few minutes to figure out the rules for how the piece placement works. So don’t give up!
For instance, you can put a piece in the wrong spot as long as it “fits” in that spot, which you will need to do in order to get it out of the way. You can see examples of my wrong placement below. There’s also a row, usually above or to the side of the puzzle that is free to move the pieces into to get you started.
Below is an “easy” puzzle I started. They also have medium and hard versions.
For you Ted Lasso fans, you might enjoy this 4-minute Christmas-themed animated short.
If the YouTube video doesn’t automatically load below, you can watch it here.
NYE PARTY GLASSES
I know it feels too soon, but the NYE party supplies are going to be sold out at your local store before you’ve finished the Christmas ham.
I like these because you can actually keep them on and see what you’re drinking. Or so I imagine.
The ending of this poem will make you suck in your breath.
The Raincoat by Ada Limón
When the doctor suggested surgery
and a brace for all my youngest years,
my parents scrambled to take me
to massage therapy, deep tissue work,
osteopathy, and soon my crooked spine
unspooled a bit, I could breathe again,
and move more in a body unclouded
by pain. My mom would tell me to sing
songs to her the whole forty-five minute
drive to Middle Two Rock Road and forty-
five minutes back from physical therapy.
She’d say, even my voice sounded unfettered
by my spine afterward. So I sang and sang,
because I thought she liked it. I never
asked her what she gave up to drive me,
or how her day was before this chore. Today,
at her age, I was driving myself home from yet
another spine appointment, singing along
to some maudlin but solid song on the radio,
and I saw a mom take her raincoat off
and give it to her young daughter when
a storm took over the afternoon. My god,
I thought, my whole life I’ve been under her
raincoat thinking it was somehow a marvel
that I never got wet.
Thank you for reading the Happy List!
I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful Christmas and New Year.
I’ll see you back here with new blog posts after the first of the year.
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