There’s been a lot to not like about 2020, but I’ve had several things that have brought me joy this year too. They’re simple things, like robes or books I’ve read. Or even simple routines I’ve added that have made a significant difference for me this year.
So, I wanted to share them! No affiliate links or attempts to get you to buy…unless they look dreamy to you too. I’m hoping 2021 will be an improvement over 2020, but it may take us some time to get there. These things might help.
More like this: Everything that entertained us in 2019
Let’s just say, we’ve watched a fair amount of TV this year. Schitt’s Creek. Doctor Who. The Masked Singer. The Crown. The Repair Shop. Every season of The Office, twice. But the show that was a total delight this year, the show that made me just happy every week, is Ted Lasso. The positivity that radiates from this show is what I needed in 2020.
When I first put on this robe I told my husband, “I’m never taking this off.” It came in a size smaller than I would have ordered, but was roomy and comfortable. Bonus points for making me feel like I didn’t earn my quaran-fifteen. But the real magic is the heaviness of the fabric that gives me the calm of being at a spa, even if my kids are banging on the bathroom door while I’m “relaxing.”
coffee and Bible study in the mornings
I started out 2020 with the goal of reading through the Bible in a year, and then this fall I joined some fellow homeschool moms to do some deep, inductive studies on books of the Bible. Our kids study and meet too, and it’s been a real delight. If you’ve gotten out of the habit of meeting together, I highly recommend finding a way to get back into it.
You might like: You’re more prepared for Christmas than you think.
The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
My son and I read this delightfully weird novel at the very beginning of the year. It follows a young protagonist, Boy, on his pilgrimage with a strange guide through Europe in the Middle Ages. All around them, they see the destruction of the Black Plague, but the story has a hopeful, if bizarre, twist that had us turning pages as fast as we could.
Is it weird for a piece of cookware to bring me so much joy? My mother-in-law snagged this for me last Christmas, when it was marked down from $400—$400 for a pot!—to $99 on Black Friday. I’ve used it at least once a week. I love the color. I love the size. I love the finish. I love how easy it is to clean. I love everything about it.
The Burning Edge of Dawn by Andrew Peterson
Although I’m way too excited about Taylor Swift’s two surprise albums this year, the record that has brought me real comfort is Andrew Peterson’s The Burning Edge of Dawn. “Oh God, I am furrowed like the field, torn open like the dirt. And I know that to be healed, that I must be broken first…” This album is a lament for lost things, and Andrew’s ability to express his sorrow while still brimming with hope for the glory ahead of us is mastered here.
You might like: Why you don’t have to reframe the narrative.
I bought a chef’s torch at a neighbor’s garage sale this year, and it’s the best decision I ever made. Because then I found The Hungry Bites simple, 5-step creme brûlée recipe, and I’ll never make another dessert ever. I made this in tiny, cupcake-sized ramekins and my kids and I would pull one out each night, top it with sugar, and make a perfect crispy caramel top. The experience was as special as the custard, which was so good my youngest daughter literally covered her entire body with it when I wasn’t looking.
Overwatch tournaments on TV
Stay with me here. My son plays Overwatch. He loves it. He’s good at it. And over the quarantine, it’s been a way for him to safely spend time with friends. He’s gotten good enough to be invited to join a team, and recently some of their matches have been broadcast. The rest of us watch from the living room, and I’ve found joy in supporting him in something that many of his friends don’t feel supported in.
BIPOC voices on Instagram
This year I’ve realized how far I have to go in being an ally to marginalized people, but writers like Marcie Alvis-Walker at Black Coffee with White Friends on Instagram have helped lead me. Many of these feeds are run by people of faith, and their desire for the kingdom of God to be present here on earth as it is in heaven is beautiful and inspiring…and I want to be part of it. Others that have opened up my perspective (though not all are necessarily faith-based): Morgan Harper Nichols, Jen Kinney, Mockingbird History Lessons, Kitchen Curandera, Austin Channing Brown…
And while she isn’t a BIPOC voice, Oaxacaborn grew up behind the Iron Curtain and sheds light on much of the injustice happening in Eastern Europe in her Stories right now.
Zoom trivia nights
Pre-quarantine, we were regulars at the trivia night at our local Mexican restaurant, and when the event company posted their questions online for families to use at home we jumped on the chance. That morphed into us creating our own quizzes, and connecting face-to-face (sort of) with family and friends across the country once a week was something we looked forward to, a lot.
$10 intensive courses from Memoria Press
After two years of homeschooling totally solo, we had signed up for a co-op this year that I was really looking forward to. But, like everything else, it was cancelled. But Memoria Press’s intensive courses—at just $10 each!—have taken some of the pressure off this homeschool mama.
You guys, this movie. I’m a huge fan of Cartoon Saloon and Thomm Moore’s movies, and their newest film went straight to Apple TV this month. It tells the legend of the wolfwalkers in north Ireland during the time of Oliver Cromwell’s reign as Lord Protector of England. True story: the wolves of Ireland were hunted to extinction then. But this movie tells a charming tale of trying to understand people who are different from you, the need to protect our environment, and not being afraid to be who you really are. It’s lovely and we’ve already watched it several times.
We occasionally receive sample products from publicists for review, but we never promise a positive review in exchange for samples and receive no compensation for including them in our posts. Everything included here were things I honestly loved this year.