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Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

From preschool philosophers to peek-a-boo parrots to dancing daddies, here's this week's roundup of joy.

kids, wedding, dancing, reading

Upworthy's weekly roundup of joy.

Here we are at the end of another year on this beautiful rock hurtling through space and, as always, it's been an eventful one.

We started the year with everyone obsessed with Wordle, then congratulated the guy who created it for his million-dollar deal with The New York Times. Russia invaded Ukraine and we witnessed the world rally behind the Ukrainian people. We said goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II, the world's second-longest reigning monarch. We said hello to galaxies we'd never seen before, thanks to the James Webb telescope.

As we head into 2023, let's remind ourselves that, no matter what the people who profit off of polarization try to sell us, there is far more that unites us than divides us. Our human family may have hard problems to solve, but look how far we've come. There's so much we can do when we recognize our oneness and work together to make our world a better place.


One thing that makes the world a better place is joy. That's why we pull together these weekly roundups—there's positive power in a smile spreading from person to person.

So enjoy and share your favorites, whether it's with a stranger, a friend or a grumpy uncle. Everyone can use a little shot of wholesome joy.


1. 3-year-old Emi teaches us the real meaning of friendship.

A person you can run to who makes you laugh and makes everything better and better? That's true friendship right there. Preschoolers seriously make the best philosophers. Read the whole story and catch more of Emi's commentary about friendship here.

2. Iceland's lovely tradition of Jólabókaflóð is like holiday heaven for introverts and book lovers.

Iceland, Christmas, books, reading

The Icelandic tradition of gifting and reading books on Christmas Eve is an introvert's dream.

studioroman/Canva

Literally translating to "Christmas book flood," this Icelandic tradition dating from WWII involves everyone gifting books and then cozying up to read them together on Christmas Eve. With hot cocoa, no less. Sign me up. Read more about Jólabókaflóð here.

3. Andrés Cantor calling the winning goal for his home country of Argentina is pure joy.

The Argentine-American sports announcer has been waiting for this moment for decades. He conveyed the emotion of an entire nation and it couldn't be sweeter. Read about Andrés Cantor and the incredible World Cup final here.

4. Young Lionel Messi fan dancing before World Cup is the energy we all need.

Smooth, little man. Smooth.

5. Daughter 'pranked' her dad during their wedding dance, then he surprised everyone.

@nancylestock

When everyone thinks you’re pranking your dad….and then he joins in 🕺💃🏻 #wedding #fatherdaughter #surprisefatherdaughterdance #fatherdaughterdance #surprise

Noice. Love a fun daddy.

6. Parrot plays peek-a-boo with neighbor's cat and it's hilarious (sound up).

@tyla

This is way too cute 🥹 But we all know the cat’s real intentions 😅 #funny #petsoftiktok #parrot #cat #cattok #cosy #cutie #foryoupage #cuteanimals #fypシ

What do we think the cat is thinking here?

7. Mariah Carey celebrated a boy's joyful performance of her iconic Christmas song.

Knox is autistic and his mom shared the video with the caption "#AutisticJoy on full display! My kid is everything! I hope Mariah sees this!!" And she actually did. Read the full story here.

8. This 'Little Drummer Boy' performance is probably unlike any you've ever seen, but definitely worth watching.

Big sound. Big drums. Epic, epic version of an old classic from For King & Country. Read more about it here.

9. Check out this doggo who loves looking at Christmas lights.

Upworthy on Instagram: "Look at that face 😍😍😍🎄⠀ ⠀ (Via u/pacmaneatsfruit on Reddit) ⠀ ⠀"

Seriously, that face though.

10. Let's get ready to roll into 2023 like…

(Always helpful to have a friend to give us a nudge. :))

Hope that brought some smiles to your face and joy to your heart!

If you'd like to have these roundups and other highlights of humanity delivered right to you, sign up for our free newsletter, The Upworthiest, here.

Have a wonderful holiday!

Planet

Easy (and free!) ways to save the ocean

The ocean is the heart of our planet. It needs our help to be healthy.

Ocean Wise

Volunteers at a local shoreline cleanup

True

The ocean covers over 71% of the Earth’s surface and serves as our planet’s heart. Ocean currents circulate vital heat, moisture, and nutrients around the globe to influence and regulate our climate, similar to the human circulatory system. Cool, right?

Our ocean systems provide us with everything from fresh oxygen to fresh food. We need it to survive and thrive—and when the ocean struggles to function healthfully, the whole world is affected.

Pollution, overfishing, and climate change are the three biggest challenges preventing the ocean from doing its job, and it needs our help now more than ever. Humans created the problem; now humans are responsible for solving it.

#BeOceanWise is a global rallying cry to do what you can for the ocean, because we need the ocean and the ocean needs us. If you’re wondering how—or if—you can make a difference, the answer is a resounding YES. There are a myriad of ways you can help, even if you don’t live near a body of water. For example, you can focus on reducing the amount of plastic you purchase for yourself or your family.

Another easy way to help clean up our oceans is to be aware of what’s known as the “dirty dozen.” Every year, scientists release an updated list of the most-found litter scattered along shorelines. The biggest culprit? Single-use beverage and food items such as foam cups, straws, bottle caps, and cigarette butts. If you can’t cut single-use plastic out of your life completely, we understand. Just make sure to correctly recycle plastic when you are finished using it. A staggering 3 million tons of plastic ends up in our oceans annually. Imagine the difference we could make if everyone recycled!

The 2022 "Dirty Dozen" ListOcean Wise

If you live near a shoreline, help clean it up! Organize or join an effort to take action and make a positive impact in your community alongside your friends, family, or colleagues. You can also tag @oceanwise on social if you spot a beach that needs some love. The location will be added to Ocean Wise’s system so you can submit data on the litter found during future Shoreline Cleanups. This data helps Ocean Wise work with businesses and governments to stop plastic pollution at its source. In Canada, Ocean Wise data helped inform a federal ban on unnecessary single-use plastics. Small but important actions like these greatly help reduce the litter that ends up in our ocean.

Ocean Wise, a conservation organization on a mission to restore and protect our oceans, is focused on empowering and educating everyone from individuals to governments on how to protect our waters. They are making conservation happen through five big initiatives: monitoring and protecting whales, fighting climate change and restoring biodiversity, innovating for a plastic-free ocean, protecting and restoring fish stocks, and finally, educating and empowering youth. The non-profit believes that in order to rebuild a resilient and vibrant ocean within the next ten years, everyone needs to take action.

Become an Ocean Wise ally and share your knowledge with others. The more people who know how badly the ocean needs our help, the better! Now is a great time to commit to being a part of something bigger and get our oceans healthy again.

It's incredible what a double-sided magnet can do.


A new trend in treasure hunting called magnet fishing has blown up over the past two years, evidenced by an explosion of YouTube channels covering the hobby. Magnet fishing is a pretty simple activity. Hobbyists attach high-powered magnets to strong ropes, drop them into waterways and see what they attract.

The hobby has caught the attention of law enforcement and government agencies because urban waterways are a popular place for criminals to drop weapons and stolen items after committing a crime. In 2019, a magnet fisherman in Michigan pulled up an antique World War I mortar grenade and the bomb squad had to be called out to investigate.


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Pets

Family brings home the wrong dog from daycare until their cats saved the day

A quick trip to the vet confirmed the cats' and family's suspicions.

Family accidentally brings wrong dog home but their cats knew

It's not a secret that nearly all golden retrievers are identical. Honestly, magic has to be involved for owners to know which one belongs to them when more than one golden retriever is around. Seriously, how do they all seem have the same face? It's like someone fell asleep on the copy machine when they were being created.

Outside of collars, harnesses and bandanas, immediately identifying the dog that belongs to you has to be a secret skill because at first glance, their personalities are also super similar. That's why it's not surprising when one family dropped off their sweet golden pooch at daycare and to be groomed, they didn't notice the daycare sent out the wrong dog.

See, not even their human parents can tell them apart because when the swapped dog got home, nothing seemed odd to the owners at first. She was freshly groomed so any small differences were quickly brushed off. But this accidental doppelgänger wasn't fooling her feline siblings.

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You can't not sing this song.

The music of Queen has a profound visceral effect on everyone. Few pieces of art can cause complete strangers to put aside their differences and come together in song, but by golly, “Bohemian Rhapsody” is one of them. It would be cheesy if it weren’t so absolutely beautiful.

This pertains even to non-English-speaking countries, it appears. Recently, thousands of Harry Styles concertgoers in Warsaw, Poland, began cheering as those iconic beginning piano notes penetrated the air.
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Joy

Video of sisters trying to fix a DIY haircut perfectly captures the chaos of sisterhood

“This is THE sisters experience…you captured the whole thing."

@palmview956oficial/TikTok

Sisterhood in a nutshell

Ask any group of sisters what it was like growing up with each other, and they will undoubtedly use the word chaos. Girlhood in itself is a bit of a delightfully feral time. Add yet another wild child (or more) into the mix, and you never know what’s going to happen.

But there’s also a beautiful loyalty. Sure, sisters can turn from friends to enemies on a dime, but in those purer moments, you’ll see them stop at nothing to help one another.

And it’s all these aspects, and everywhere in between, that were captured in a hilarious TikTok as three sisters banded together to fix a DIY haircut gone wrong…the day before school picture day, no less.
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Joy

Mom tells wild story of how her daughter kidnapped a 'chocolate baby' while out grocery shopping

People have a sneaking suspicion that the little girl has seen 'Corina, Corina' one too many times.

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Sometimes we hear a story that makes us collectively confused. Should we be offended? Laugh? Donate to a parents future bail fund for their children? It's really a toss up but the consensus on this mom's eyebrow raising story is that laughter and bail money are both appropriate responses.

Maranda Arbogast, a mom that runs the TikTok page, momma.chaos, shared a hilariously mortifying story of a time she took her three daughters grocery shopping and somehow wound up in a, "one of these things is not like the others" moment. The mom of three leads into the story by explaining that she is raising children that will likely have run ins with the law.

"Some families gotta save money for medical expenses or college funds. We gotta save money for bail because we are raising criminals, especially my middle daughter. It's always the middle child," Arbogast jokes. "She's gotta be frisked before we leave anywhere."

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What a unique bonding experience

Period simulators gave cis-gendered men a painful glimpse of what women go through on a monthly basis. But what about going through life with an actual human growing in their belly?

That’s where the watermelon challenge comes in.

TikTok’s watermelon challenge is a simple concept, where dads-to-be strap watermelons, weighing somewhere around 14 pounds, onto their bellies in order to simulate what it’s like for pregnant moms. Bonus point for taping mangos onto the chest because #lactation.

The results are both hilarious and illuminating.

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