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ICYMI: The best good-news stories and videos of December so far

Deck the halls, eat the latkes, and feel the joy.
/ Source: TODAY

The days are getting shorter and colder, and as a nation, we're nursing a collective turkey and pumpkin pie hangover. But it is officially December, and it's now socially acceptable to listen to Christmas music 24/7, deck every hall you can find and eat latkes to your heart's content. This has been nobody's best year, but in less than a month, it will be history.

In the meantime, here are the happy, heartwarming stories that are getting us closer to the 2020 finish line:

Some deserving young people are rocking Steve Kornacki's khakis...

Our favorite NBC and MSNBC national political correspondent and "chart-throb" Steve Kornacki told the Gap, makers of his famous palomino brown khakis, that he was all set and declined their offer for a lifetime supply of the pants he wore through the 2020 election.

So the Gap decided to do something even better: On Giving Tuesday, they gave 500 pairs of the "Kornacki khakis" to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America's Workforce Readiness Program, which helps prepare high school graduates for careers.

... and a young woman shared her college acceptance joy with the internet

It's always fun to watch a high school senior find out they got into college, but when TikTok user Bianca (@adriftdream) shared her recent acceptance to Duke University, it was especially sweet.

Bianca "matched" with Duke through Questbridge, a national college match program that allows high achieving, low-income students to be admitted to college with full four-year scholarships.

"I just got a full ride to Duke University and don't have anyone to tell yet, so I'm telling TikTok," Bianca wrote on her video. "My mom was poor, dad wasn't around, and now it feels like all my hard work has paid off."

Congratulations, Bianca!

A kindergarten soccer team experience paid off for these two USWNT players...

It might be hard to believe for those of us who had to cajole our tiny tots to follow the ball and stop picking grass during youth soccer league games, but sometimes, those experiences lead to big things.

Even more incredibly, one 2000s-era kindergarten team — Colorado's Timnath Twisters — produced not one, but two U.S. Women's National Team (USNWT) soccer players, Sophia Smith, 20, and Jaelin Howell, 21.

When the USNWT shared photos of the teammates when they were younger and now, it triggered a response from women's soccer icon Abby Wambach, who, it turns out, was an inspiration to both girls when they were growing up. This is the social media mutual admiration society we are here for. As Wambach wrote on Twitter, all the feels here.

... and a young football player's epic catch caught the notice of the NFL

TikTok user @footballbros may be a rookie in the TikTok world, but their first video has over 36.5 million views. That's because it shows two young boys in an epic throw and catch.

So epic, in fact, it caught the eye of the NFL's TikTok account.

"Hanging out tossing the rock around, nothing better," the NFL commented on the video. "Oh, and awesome catch."

But the attention did not stop there. "Are you ready to be drafted?" asked the Pittsburgh Steelers' account in a comment. "Calvin, is that you?!" added the Detroit Lions. "NICE CATCH," added the Cleveland Browns. "Sheesh, kid," commented the Carolina Panthers.

Even a smiling Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers joined in, who added a clip of Cris Collinsworth and Al Michaels commentary to the video.

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Dylan paid tribute to her husband on his birthday...

When her husband Brian Fichera turned 34 this week, Dylan celebrated him with a video featuring their adorable boys Calvin, 3, and Oliver, 11 months, that had us all in "awww."

"I'm not the cameraman in the family, but this video captures the joy you bring to this family every single day," she wrote in the caption.

... and a class paid tribute to their math professor at the end of a long semester

"During these trying times, it's important to show extra appreciation!" wrote TikTok user @vizzywap.

In a video that has over 4.6 million views, the College of New Jersey student showed the moment she and her classmates surprised their math professor with signs thanking him for his work this fall.

@vizzywap

during these tough times it’s important to show extra appreciation! ##fyp ##foryoupage ##zoom ##dontletthisflop ##college ##covid ##professor ##thankyou

♬ original sound - James Blake

"Oh wow. Oh, that's like the nicest thing ever!" professor Adam Shrager said with a huge smile on his face when he realized what was happening.

After he took a screenshot of his students and their signs "for Facebook," he seemed overcome by the gesture. "That's like the nicest thing I've ever seen," he said. "You guys totally made my night."

A baby was born from a 27-year-old embryo, setting a medical record...

Tina Gibson, now 29, was born in April of 1991, so imagine her shock when her doctor told her on the day of her transfer that the embryo she had adopted had been frozen in 1992.

"It was in the Lord's hands," Gibson said. That embryo became Gibson and her husband Ben's first daughter, Emma, born in 2017.

Tina and Ben Gibson with daughters Emma, born in 2017, and Molly, born in October 2020.Courtesy Haleigh Crabtree Photography

In October, the Gibsons welcomed Emma's genetic sibling, Molly, from a 27-year-old embryo. Molly is believed to have set a new record for the longest-frozen embryo to have resulted in a birth, dethroning her big sister in a classic baby sister move.

... and a family "tailgated" at a hospital while they waited for a new baby

In a video that now has over 3.2 million views, TikTok user Carlie Vickers and her family "tailgated" outside a hospital in September to support Vickers' sister and brother-in-law as they welcomed their first baby.

They even had a poster that simply read, "PUSH."

@carlievickers

We can’t be inside to support my sister and BIL while they have their first baby, so we are tailgating outside the hospital! @hwhiteard

♬ Lady - Brett Young

Though some commenters noted the lack of masks amongst the family members, the show of family support gave others the warm fuzzies.

Commenter Carol Smith wrote, "I'm a labor nurse, thank you for this! Brought tears to my eyes... our hearts break for the mommas who don't have their family."

A little girl asked Santa for the gift we all want most this year...

Eight-year-old Kourtney Wood cut right to the chase when it came to telling Santa Claus her 2020 Christmas wish.

"Dear Santa, All I would like for Christmas is for the world to go back to normal!" wrote Kourtney, who lives in the United Kingdom. "I don't mind if I have nothing, I do have everything, well, I do have everything I need. Thank you."

Kourtney Wood, 8, wrote a letter to Santa the whole world might co-sign.Katabella Roberts / Jam Press

When Kourtney's mom found the note while cleaning her room, she posted it on Facebook and it went viral.

We speak for everyone when we say we hope Kourtney gets all she wants and more this year.

... and a granddaughter received a truly priceless gift

In a video she posted this week, TikTok user @livieloohoo74 said her grandmother has given her a chocolate Advent calendar every year her whole life, but this year, she gave her one that is "a little bit more special"—it's made of wood and will last forever.

The most special part of the "best Christmas present ever," she said, is that there is a handwritten note from her grandmother in every box. "The miracle is you," the first note says.

Commenter Bernadette Thomas wrote, "I would literally give anything to have handwritten notes from my grandma that passed. Treasure this always!"

"I bawled so hard and FaceTimed her for an hour!" @livieloohoo74 wrote in her comments. "I didn't want to hang up."

Stay safe and stay warm out there!