Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager are as ready as anyone to say goodbye to 2020 — but they're both grateful for the lessons this challenging year has brought.
Speaking to People magazine about their upcoming New Year's Eve special, "Escape from 2020," the TODAY with Hoda & Jenna co-hosts said 2020 was a reminder to all of us that time with loved ones is precious.
For Hoda, this year's most memorable moment happened on her birthday in August, when she and her daughters, Haley Joy, 3, and Hope Catherine, 20 months, were able to finally hug her mom, Sami, whom they hadn't seen since February due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"I think for every single person, when they get to hug someone they haven't seen in a while, that is probably the moment you don't forget," said Hoda, who shares her two little girls with fiancé Joel Schiffman.
"You can almost close your eyes and exhale and imagine what that would feel like if it hasn't happened yet. So I think (my most memorable moment this year) was when we put (my mom) in a hermetically sealed car and had her drive here. And I think in that moment, seeing her, hugging her was probably my favorite," she said.
"And then watching her hug my kids just eclipsed that," she added. "I mean, I think that moment when you're like, 'Oh, my God, this is happening' and they would not let her go."
"I think Hoda's right, that moment a year ago would not seem so huge," agreed Jenna, who shares daughters Mila, 7, and Poppy, 5, and son Hal, 16 months, with husband Henry Hager.
"You know, a moment of a hug," Jenna continued. "I think that that really is the beauty of this year; that the moment that we really cherish are simple and yet extraordinary."
Co-hosting TODAY from home earlier this year allowed Jenna to enjoy more "unexpected" time with her kids — resulting in sweet memories her family will cherish forever.
"There was a supermoon while I was still working from home and we let the kids stay up late," she recalled. "We laid down a blanket and we all looked at it. And that is a moment that seems so simple yet it's profound in our family's life."
The star-studded "New Year's Eve: Escape from 2020" special will highlight this year's trends and look back at its most inspirational moments.
"It's sort of like we're seeing (2020) in the rearview mirror," Hoda shared. "We do it with humor, but I have to say in this kind of a year, there are probably more poignant stories than I remember in any other New Year's Eve special."
"New Year's Eve: Escape from 2020" airs Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.