The winter solstice is coming — Monday, December 21, will be the darkest and shortest day of the year, and then the world will turn toward the light, literally.
In the meantime, these happy, sweet, and sometimes funny videos warmed our hearts even as the snow came down. We hope they do the same for you.
A (huge) snow squall did not stop New Yorkers from supporting their city...
The Northeast received a lot of snow this week. Like, a LOT of snow. But residents of New York City, true to form and reputation, scoffed in the face of the biggest snowstorm in years and braved the cold and wet to support their local restaurants, which are still allowed to serve diners on outdoor patios despite current COVID-19 safety ordinances against indoor dining.
"Cheers!" said the chef at Trattorio L'incontro, who joined his staff for an outdoor dinner — in short sleeves, no less — surrounded by snow.
"Only in New York, people will still go for outdoor dining, during a snowstorm!" tweeted Mike Roda.
... and the snow allowed one little girl to live her dream
TikTok user @rae.tok's four-year-old daughter, "Elsa Jr.," knew just what to do with all that snow: Let it go. And she did just that, with much dramatic effect.
"Living her best life!" her mom captioned the video, which now has over 200,000 views. The cold never bothered her, anyway.
A royal family gave us a glimpse at their family Christmas card...
We love the annual Christmas card photos from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. This year, we are especially crushing on Princess Charlotte's boots and cozy sweater and Prince Louis's joyful smile.
Speaking of Prince Louis... who told him he could grow up so fast?!
... and a teary but loving wedding toast reminded us there is always room for more in a family
In a series of video clips posted on TikTok by Sky Cinema Films, a groom's daughter makes a tribute to her stepmom, Beth, that could melt the coldest of hearts.
"Usually having divorced parents is hard, but Beth made it all worth it," said the groom's daughter in the video clip of her wedding toast that has now been viewed a boggling 30.1 million times. "Gaining Beth was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. She changed my life and my dad for the better.
"To me, family is not only defined by last names or by blood," the daughter said in another clip. "It's defined by love and commitment. "Even though Beth isn't my mom by blood, I know she will always be there when I need her."
Another great stepparent, TikTok user Troy Allen, posted a video of him telling his 6-year-old stepdaughter how much she means to him, and... well, her reaction is priceless.
These frontline medical workers traded their surgical tools for instruments of a different kind...
As if we didn't think they were amazing already, frontline medical workers played together in an online concert sponsored by Carnegie Hall and made possible through the magic of Zoom, bringing healing of a different kind for the audience and the musicians themselves.
"It was very touching just to watch these musicians, medical professionals, some of them in their scrubs in their offices, playing their music with great seriousness. It touched me very much to see that commitment," said professional violinist Joshua Bell, who joined the concert as well.
"It moved me very much."
... and a violinist made an airplane's transatlantic trip a little bit more special
TikTok user @copperofpoplar posted that when flight attendants saw her violin case as she boarded her Virgin Atlantic flight, they asked if she would be willing to play for them during the flight. She said yes, and she treated the plane to a live performance of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" as they flew over the Atlantic Ocean.
To thank her, the flight attendants moved her from economy to first class — not a bad trade — and we have to say the song was a perfect choice for the season and this year.
A silver lining to the year that was 2020: We were kind
It turns out 2020 was not all bad. According to new research released this week, 90% of Americans supported others this year by doing things like calling, texting, sending a care package or helping with errands.
Another 62% said they gave more of these kinds of support to others than they did in previous years, and 80% said they received support from others this year, and many said the kindness came from people they hadn't expected to reach out.
The research also revealed that 39% of those surveyed said the most meaningful thing someone could do for them is just to reach out — a good thing to keep in mind this holiday season.
... and these acts of kindness were everywhere this week
In videos around the internet, these small acts of kindness are not hard to find.
TikTok user @photogdeb778 posted a video of a staffer at Arkansas Children's Hospital rocking her distressed baby while his blood pressure was taken. "Kind people make a big difference," she wrote in the caption.
Meanwhile, @fitxander proudly posted a video of his dad supporting his newly-out neighbor with a backyard full of rainbow gay pride flags.
"My dad's neighbour just came out as gay at 73!" he wrote. "His family aren't supportive, so Dad did this to show him he is not alone.
"I don't think my dad realises how great this makes me feel. #gay #comingout #lgbtq"
And we love this son, TikTok user @jgreatent, who appreciates his mom and said so.
"You know what's fantastic about moms out there? It don't matter how old you get, it don't matter how independent you are, real moms never stop being moms."
Keep up the good work, moms. Hang in there.