2 020 felt like the longest year of our lives. In fact, we don’t think there have ever been more memes or gifs created around one subject more than what happened to us in 2020. But, hey, isn’t that in itself a show of our strength? That we were able to find, shed light on, and SHARE moments of humor even in our darkest hours as a nation, a world, a human race?
Being able to see the good among the bad is what separates survivors from the victims. And we refuse to see ourselves as victims in 2020. We want you to, too. That’s why we’re temporarily interrupting our regularly scheduled digital and content marketing posts to bring you this collection of our favorite feel-good fodder – under no particular theme, in no particular order – to fuel your 2021. Because 2020 was certainly unprecedented, but we like to think of it as unprecedented in the way we came together and cared for each other.
Pet Adoptions Soared When the Opposite Was Expected to Happen
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Once stay-at-home orders hit in early March, many rescue organizations and shelters braced themselves for an inundation of animals due to an increase of abandoned pets – the usual scenario when crises arise.
But, in fact, the complete opposite occurred: According to a report shared out by the ASPCA, animal welfare organizations across the country saw a spike in adoptions during the second half of March, with an estimated national adoption rate of 58% at the beginning of the month, jumping to 85% by the end of the month. By July, that initial sudden surge in demand had proven itself to be a bona-fide boom, with rescues still reporting dozens of applications for individual dogs.
“We’ve seen an incredibly compassionate response from people willing to open their homes to foster and adopt vulnerable shelter animals during this period of uncertainty,” said ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker. “This unprecedented compassionate response […] reflects widespread appreciation of the invaluable role pets play in our lives.” Read: Rescue dogs rock.
Crayola Colored Outside the Lines with the Launch of a Box of Multicultural Crayons
In July, the major art supply company launched a box of crayons called “Colors of the World,” featuring 24 new crayons designed to mirror and represent over 40 different skin tones. Wrapped in a gradient skin tone label with each color name – Light Golden, Deep Almond, and Medium Deep Rose to name a few – in multiple languages, the pallet intends to allow children with diverse skin colors to “accurately color and see themselves into the world.” We see something instrumental to raising our kids with a greater sense of belonging and acceptance.
We Spent More Time Appreciating our Momma – Mother Nature, That Is
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Admit it: How many times did you happily walk your dog to your local park during the shutdown? Or how many more people did you witness in your local greenspaces firsthand? While, for years, studies have shown the mental and physical benefits of spending time in nature, the amount of time people spend outdoors had still been declining all over the world. So, when stay-at-home orders hit, it made the act greatly missed – and feel like a necessity for our overall health. And hopefully, it sticks.
“Ironically, the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, as tragic as it is, has dramatically increased public awareness of the deep human need for nature connection, and is adding a greater sense of urgency to the movement to connect children, families, and communities to nature,” said Richard Louv, author of “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder” in a New York Times article.
A Single Dad Adopted Five Siblings to Keep Them Together
After becoming the foster father of three brothers in 2018 and learning that they had yet another two sisters in the system, Robert Carter of Cincinnati, Ohio, made it his personal mission to reunite the quintette. Having grown up in foster care himself, which separated him from his own siblings at a young age, Carter located the girls after six months of the group being apart and began fostering all five children together last summer. Then, in an emotional court ceremony this past October, he officially adopted all five kids, permanently ensuring that the siblings will grow up together.
“My boys never talked about mom, they never talked about dad, just [their sisters], so I knew I had to make that happen,” Carter said in an interview with People, as he recalled the reunion at the girls’ elementary school. “We cried the entire time and that was the moment I was like, ‘Okay, I have to adopt them and keep them together.’”
Women Made History in the 2020 Election & Will Continue to Do So
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As a woman-owned and predominately women-employed company, this one really resonated with us: A record number of women ran for office in 2020, surpassing the record set just two years prior. This has teed us up for these landmark stats for 2021:
- At least 117 women will be serving in the U.S. House (previous record: 102 set in 2019), including 48 women of color (previous record: 44 set in 2019).
- 24 women will serve in the U.S. Senate (current record: 26 set in 2020), including 3 women of color.
- We will see our first female, first black person, and first Asian-American, take office as the Vice President.
This all coming in the year that marked the 100th anniversary of the Women’s Suffrage Movement’s greatest victory: women achieving full voting rights following the ratification of the 19th Amendment.
The Nostalgia of Drive-In Movie Theaters Came Roaring Back into Style
The crackle of a radio coming to life, the smell of popcorn in the night air, blankets piled high in the bed of a truck – such is the scene of a classic drive-in movie theater. Depending on your age, though, you (or your kids) may not have ever had the opportunity to frequent one of these distinctive slices of Americana – until now. Originally designed for the suburbs of the 1950s, these open-air lots to take in films from the comfort of your car had just about all died out by 2020. But given their COVID-safe sites for collective entertainment, many of these dust-gathering meeting places were recently revitalized, leading to quite the comeback– selling out shows weeks in advance. Who knows, it may have just sparked the birth of a whole new generation of moviegoers.
A 102-Year-Old from New Hampshire Proved She is a Total Badass
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As a New Hampshire-based marketing, design, and creative agency, this one definitely made headlines in our neck of the woods in September, when a 102-years-young Mildred Geraldine “Gerri” Schappals of Nashua, New Hampshire, successfully beat COVID-19 after testing positive for the virus in May.
But get this: This wasn’t her first rodeo. Back in 1918, she – along with her mother – also caught and beat the Spanish Flu of 1918. “Her mother and her were basically given up for dead,” said her daughter, Julia, in an interview with USA Today. “When the doctor came back, he actually started crying and said, ‘We licked it, we licked it.’ Those were his exact words.”
As for what “Gerri” thinks of the whole thing? She jokes that Mother Nature must’ve gotten mixed up and marked her down as dead back in 1918, and that’s why she survived this most recent illness. We just think she’s more of a tough chick than she knows. And she should definitely buy a lottery ticket.
Air Pollution Was Down…Inspiring Us to Do Better
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With city streets eerily quiet as lockdowns shuttered businesses and people stayed home across the globe, pollution levels from traffic-related emissions naturally plummeted accordingly. In fact, in India, where air pollution is among the world’s worst, people reporting seeing the Himalayas for the first time from their homes. In the US, in early April, NASA published satellite images of pollution disappearing over New York City.
Although, with the lifted lockdown and cars once again returning to the road, the declines are sure to be only temporary. But it gave us a glimpse of something – a brief respite that may offer lessons for the kind of world we want to build after the pandemic. Not to mention, with more people still working from home – and potentially planning to do so for the foreseeable future – cleaner air in our future no longer seems like a hazy impossibility.
A 12-Year-Old Boy Used His Ingenuity to Raise Money for Victims of the Derecho Wind Storm
After a rare storm packing 100-mile-per-hour winds – similar to an inland hurricane – swept through The Midwest this past August, resulting in widespread property damage from downed trees and flipped vehicles, a 12-year-old Tommy Rhomberg of Iowa took it upon himself to make lemonade out of lemons. Well, actually, in this case, it was baseball bats out of downed wood – more than 200 30-inch long bats, that is, handmade from downed branches from the storm, using his grandfather’s whittling tools and sandpaper. Selling for $100 per piece, a portion of each of the gleaming sluggers’ sales go to helping his local community through the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund.
Generating a waitlist of more than 600 people looking to purchase the bats, he’s still hard at work lathing and, if you follow his journey on Facebook, has even enlisted the help of some classmates. As for those customers still waiting, Tommy’s reply has been steadfast: “I am 12 years old and my parents won’t let me drop out of the 6th grade.”
We Survived & Came Out Stronger, Pretty Much Proving We Can Do Anything
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Here’s the thing about 2020: Where many just see the face of a deadly pandemic, countless amazing things still happened. People still got married, babies were born, more dogs were adopted than ever, birthday parades gave kids the surprises of a lifetime, artists made some of the best work of their life, families spent more time together (even if, for some, it was through the screen of a computer) – the list goes on.
The bottom line is that care and compassion blossomed in 2020, unlike any other year. And while everyone wants to bury this “dumpster fire of a year” deep in the ground never to be found again, we hope this newfound care and compassion stays in the light as we embark into 2021 and beyond.
From all of us at Hawthorn Creative, here’s to a happy, healthy, and safe holiday with those who matter most.