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ICYMI: Happy, heartwarming stories that made our holiday week even better

These smiles require no stretchy pants and won't cost you a dime.
/ Source: TODAY

It's probably safe to say none of us have ever celebrated a Thanksgiving the way we did in 2020: The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade had no in-person audience, Turkey Trots went virtual, and some grandparents could only attend family celebrations as cardboard cutouts.

But in the end, this weird year might be teaching all of us how to count our blessings even more than usual. In the interest of finding the silver linings, here are the happy and heartwarming stories that made us smile this week:

Jenna's friends and family made her cry on her birthday...

Our own Jenna Bush Hager turned 39 this week, and messages from her sweet parents, twin sister Barbara, and husband and kids made her (and, OK, us) a little teary.

Her TODAY Show family showed her the love, too. "Oh, my God, Jenna, every year on the planet Earth that you exist means my life just got that much better," Hoda gushed. "I want to spend many birthdays with you."

... and this sweet new "granddaddy" made us all a little teary

An emotional video TikTok user Lauren Severyn posted of her dad with her new baby boy now has over 1.5 million views.


I had such a big response about my dad, here’s the whole video for you all. He loves being a granddaddy. ❤️ Volume up 🥺 ##fyp ##proudgrandparent ##baby

♬ Up - Movie Theme - Giampaolo Pasquile

"Oh, you're beautiful," Lauren's dad says to his new grandson. "Am I allowed to touch him?" And in a week when we all wondered when we will be able to touch our loved ones again, our hearts exploded.

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The new Gerber baby reminded us that love makes a family...

Little Magnolia Earl, who turns 1 year old this week, is the newest Gerber baby and part of a tradition that dates back to 1928.

But there is something even more special about Magnolia: She's the first Gerber baby who was adopted.

"This is incredible," Magnolia's mom, Courtney Earl, said. "It means that when people see our families, or if you see a family that doesn't necessarily match, that you don't have to question the belonging of anybody in that family."

...and this little boy showed us what love looks like, toddler-style

Twitter user Hailey Jo Nolan posted a video of her little boy Wesley waving goodbye to his "dada" as he left for work, and as commenter @Ginamarie said, "I need somebody who misses me as much as he misses his dada."


when your dada has the ✨audacity✨ to go to work

♬ original sound - Hailey Jo Nolan

The video now has over 3 million views. We're wondering if we would have more fun days at work if we had a little Wesley enthusiastically demanding it.

In other toddler news, playing hide-and-seek with one will never not be awesome, as TikTok user @rebeccajean1215 reminded us.

We learned that Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's daughter can sing!

It probably comes as no surprise that Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's 23-year-old daughter Gracie has some pipes of her own, but this video of her singing "The Wizard and I" from Broadway's "Wicked" left no doubt.

The performance drew praise in the comments section, including from Martina McBride, who wrote, "Amazing Gracie!"

... and we learned something adorable about sea urchins

Twitter user @valfrogkamen went viral recently after posting a picture of sea urchins wearing tiny hats on her feed, and the entire internet said, "Awwww."

"Sea urchins protect themselves by putting rocks and shells on their "heads," so apparently if u give them tiny hats they will put them on and wear them," she wrote. Her tweet garnered more than 67,400 likes.

But is it true, or just cleverly staged photos? According to a 2018 blog post written by marine conservation biologist Emilie Novaczek, then a PhD candidate at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, urchins "wearing" objects is indeed a thing.

Speaking of adorable...

We felt every bit of Dylan Bass's victory as he brought home the win and successfully transferred his sleeping baby Parker to the swing. That move was definitely worth a touchdown dance (and the 4.5 million views it now has)!

We hope you had a happy Thanksgiving with your own small victories!