This morning, my dog nosed under the tree until she found a present with her name on it. She pulled it out and tore a corner of the wrapping paper before I explained that Christmas was still a few days away. I swear she rolled her eyes at me.
I can’t blame her for wanting to get a head start on the holidays. It’s been a long, weird year. And though it would be easy to focus on the avalanche of terrible news, there were some bright spots. For example:
- Alabama elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate. Alabama!
- Jesmyn Ward, a Mississippi native, became the first woman to win the National Book Award twice.
- In Virginia, Danica Roem became the first transgender person elected to the state legislature. It was a victory made sweeter by the fact that she took the seat from a well-known bigot who’d spent his career working to deny rights (and bathroom privileges) to members of the LGBTQ community.
- In New Jersey in January, a male state representative tweeted a sexist joke. In November, he lost his seat to one of the women he’d offended.
- And speaking of offending women, we’re now talking openly about sexual harassment and assault in all sorts of workplaces. It’s not the first time we’ve had this conversation and I’m sure it won’t be the last, but even small steps are progress.
- Kazuo Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize for Literature and gave this stunning speech which, thanks to the internet, we can all watch in its entirety.
- We learned this weekend about a Pentagon program devoted to studying UFOs. Not on your wish list? Well, as a former X-Files junkie, I was thrilled. I want to believe.
The fact is, we can almost always find something worth celebrating and I’m going to focus on doing just that over the next few weeks. I won’t be spending much time online. Instead, I’ll be spending time IRL with my family, my dog, my cat, my friends, and the pile of books I want to read.
However you celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.