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25 things to do during the inauguration if you're afraid of the Trump presidency.

Inauguration Day is upon us. Soon, President Barack Obama will sail off into the sunset, and Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as our new commander in chief.

Yup. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

There's no stopping this. As of Jan. 20, Trump will be your president and mine. If you're feeling lost or hopeless, it's OK. A lot of people are feeling the same. It may be too late to undo the results of the election, but it's never too late to do whatever you can to stand up for what you believe in. What better time to turn your feelings into action than during the inauguration itself?


Here are 25 things you can do during Trump's inauguration ceremony to make the world a slightly less scary place:

1. Make donations to organizations whose work will be more important than ever in the next four years.

Lots of important and life-saving organizations are going to need your help to survive a Trump administration, and they rely heavily on donations like yours.

If you have some cash to spare, consider a one-time or recurring donation to Planned Parenthood, (which is hosting a $20 donation drive  on Jan. 20), the NRDC, the International Refugee Assistance Project, or the Trevor Project for LGBTQ Youth. There's also the NAACP, the National Network of Abortion Funds, Black Girls Code, the ACLU, National Women's Law Center, NARAL, Girls Write Now, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Purple Purse. That's just to name a few.

2. Call or write to your representatives to let them know you want them to stand against attacks on civil rights.

I know, you've probably heard that suggestion about a thousand times. Well there's a reason: It works!

It's also a lot easier than you think. Look up who your representative is and find their publicly available contact information. Then you can call or write a message to them saying that, as their constituent, you hope they will stand by the issues that make a difference to you.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

Don't be silent; the government is there for you.

3. Going to one of the protests the day after the inauguration? Have a sign-making party!

If you plan to attend the Women's March on Washington or any of the other marches being planned around the country on Jan. 21, why not spend the day making a totally badass sign?

Gather your friends, get some craft supplies, and go for it! Squeeze all that frustration out of a tube of glitter glue and let your feelings be known in the form of a pithy slogan. Or feel free to download and print one of Upworthy's Women's March signs.

Who says the First Amendment can't be fun as hell?

4. Find some local organizations that need your support.

Donating to nationwide groups is great but a lot of those organizations also have local chapters that need help. Find out which ones are in your area and learn more about how you can support them directly.

Which reminds me...

5. Volunteer!  

Money is one thing, and showing up to help is another. There's no shortage of places that need actual physical help and would be thrilled to have someone donate their valuable time. While the 45th president is being sworn into office on Friday (and also not planning to actually start work until Monday), why not use that time to give back?

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Volunteering will also show you how easy it is to make a difference, which is a feeling that you're going to need in spades for the next four years.

6. Support real, credible journalism. With money.

I know, I know. Paying for news? Crazy concept. The thing is, journalism is in big trouble right now. In Trump's first press conference, he openly yelled at CNN anchor Jim Acosta. That's just one example of the president-elect publicly denouncing the credibility of a free press. Trump's chief adviser is Stephen Bannon, the former head of Breitbart — a platform that regularly publishes messages of hate and intolerance.

Trump has also promised to "open up the libel laws" in order to sue organizations that criticize his actions as president.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

Now more than ever is the time to start financially supporting real news like The New York Times or The Washington Post or donating to ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom.

As a pro tip: The Washington Post has lifted its paywall through Saturday for the inauguration.

Don't just get your news through Facebook. Now is the time to get out of your echo chamber and learn about the world through actual reporting and fact-based journalism.

7. Shut off inauguration coverage and watch the Love-A-Thon instead.

Tune in to Upworthy's Facebook page at 12:30 p.m. EST on Friday, Jan. 20, just as the inauguration is starting, to watch the Love-A-Thon, the first ever Facebook Live telethon. Its goal is to raise $500,000 for organizations like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood that stand up for marginalized communities.

That not enough for you? Did we mention that the Love-A-Thon will feature celebrities like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jane Fonda, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and more, joining together to stand up for love? It's gonna be great.

Be sure to RSVP to the event on Facebook to let all your friends know.

8. Use the #Inauguration hashtag to make your voice heard.

As usual during big events, Twitter and Facebook will be lit up with people sharing their thoughts using an official inauguration hashtag. You can jump in on the action and share your thoughts too.

Imagine if the majority of tweets were about standing up for the rights of minorities or fighting to stop climate change. That would send a pretty clear and powerful message.

9. Check out some of the protest hashtags as well.

As Trump is being sworn in, lots of people will be using Twitter to protest and send a message.

For example, the sexual assault advocacy group Force: Upsetting Rape Culture will be starting #WeWillNotBeSilent. Sexual assault survivors will be tweeting with that hashtag to stand up to the rape culture Trump represents. They'll also be tweeting with #InThisMan — to represent the ways in which Trump reminds them of their abusers.

10. Write "This is not normal" on a note and stick it somewhere you'll see it every day.

In a year or two you might forget how weird it is that a populist demagogue surrounded by hate-mongers is the president of the United States. That might lead to complacency, and complacency is dangerous.

So make a note that this is not OK. Stick it on your fridge or above your bed or on your coffee machine. For the next four years, it will serve as a reminder of what you're fighting for.

11. Reach out to someone who's also feeling anxious.

I know, right? Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images.

If you're feeling bad, chances are you know someone else who is also feeling that way too. Now is the time to reach out to them. We're all going to need each other's help and support.

You can even start planning to take real action together. Everything's easier when you have a friend.

12. Go visit a museum.

Museums are great, aren't they? You get to learn stuff, you get to see amazing artifacts and artwork, and you get to carry around an empty water bottle all day because, seriously, is there a recycling bin anywhere in the building?

On Inauguration Day, a lot of museums are offering free admission. New York City will be opening the doors to nearly a dozen museums, and many museums in the D.C. area will be hosting events.

Find out what's around you, and soak in some culture!

13. Join an online movement and start being active in it.

If you don't live in a major city or can't travel around easily, there are lots of online social justice movements you can be a part of. Pantsuit Nation got a ton of coverage during the election, but there a lot of other smaller groups on a range of issues from body positivity to immigration reform to workers' rights that you can join.

Being active and supportive in movements is essential if you want the causes you care about to stay in the conversation.

14. Give that whole meditation thing a try.

Meditation! You've heard of it. Your one vegan friend probably does it. You have an app for it that you haven't even opened yet. Why not give it a try today?

Meditation has been shown to help ease stress and promote relaxation, and at the very least, it's nice to just take a couple minutes to breathe and be peaceful.

Photo by Niklas Halle'N/AFP/Getty Images.

15. Take the #PeoplesOath with the ACLU.

While Trump takes the oath of office, the ACLU has offered a way for citizens to take an oath of their own.

The People's Oath is for people who want to make a promise — to themselves and the world — to uphold the Constitution and stand up for the rights of everyone, especially including those whom Trump has directly threatened.

16. Write about how you're feeling.

Chances are that your thoughts are complicated, conflicted, and not easy to talk about. One great way to work it all out is to sit down and write about it. If you're comfortable doing so, share your writing on social media so that friends and family know where you stand. It might help someone you know process their own feelings, and that's a powerful thing.

There are no rules, really. Write what you're thinking. It'll help you process it and make it clearer in your head — which will make it easier to figure out what you want to do next.

"Dear diary. What the f***." Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty images.

17. Watch a movie or read a book about someone overcoming incredible obstacles to remind yourself that together, we can do anything.

"Remember the Titans," "Selma," "Hidden Figures," "Spice World," "Harry Potter" — there's no shortage of on-theme stories about people overcoming insurmountable odds. That's what the next four years are going to feel like.

Based on true stories or not, they might just give you the juice you need to make it through the day.

18. Listen to something better than the inauguration speech. Like the "I Have a Dream" speech, for example.

Maybe you're stuck at work during the inauguration with a bunch of people who want to watch it on the office TV. Maybe you're a groundskeeper at the National Mall and there's no option to ignore what's happening right in front of you.

No biggie! Just pop in your headphones and listen to something that makes you feel better, like your favorite album or podcast. Or you can listen to Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Hearing it might give you a glimmer of hope in the goodness of people despite what they're up against.

19. Set a reminder for the 2018 midterm elections.

Mark this date on your calendar: Nov. 6, 2018.

Everyone has their eyes set on 2020, but if you want to, you can change the government in just two short years.

On Nov. 6, 2018, at least 33 Senate seats will be up for grabs. That's a huge deal if you don't like the way the government is operating, but you can't just sit around and hope for the best. You have to spend as much time as you can learning about your candidates and their policies, and then you have to get out and vote. Try to get as many people as you can to do the same.

Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images.

You have two years — make the most of it.

20. Donate to a food bank.

It's easy, it'll make you feel good, and it'll help some of the millions of hungry people in the United States. Plus, it'll get you out of the house and away from social media if you want to disconnect from inauguration coverage. There's really no good reason not to.

21. Form or join a book club.

Now is the perfect time to start reading again. I know, the inauguration is at noon Eastern time on a Friday, so it's probably not the best time to hold your first book club meeting, but it is the perfect time to send an email to your friends asking them to join you in starting a book club.

Read books that will motivate you, or at least entertain you, through the next four years.

22. Consider running for office yourself or get involved in a political campaign.

If there's one thing this election has taught us, it's that literally anyone — regardless of qualifications — can become president or end up in politics.

There's lots of great information available on how to run for office. The rules tend to differ by state, district, and position, so read up on it. If you're a woman, check out Emily's List. If you're a person of color, check out LaunchProgress. We need more diversity and representation in government, and there's no reason that can't start with you.

Even if you don't decide to run, you might know someone who would make the perfect candidate. You can be their campaign manager! Sounds fun, doesn't it?

They started somewhere. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

23. Learn about how to become part of the resistance to the Trump administration's policies.

The power is in your hands to resist the hateful and harmful administration Trump has promised to lead, and there's no better time to start learning how than as he's being sworn into office. The Resistance Manual, which was put out by several prominent Black Lives Matter activists and racial justice organization Stay Woke, is a good place to start.

Once you know what your role can be in a Trump world, help spread that message to others. And after you've done that...

24. Read up on conflict resolution and how to have difficult conversations.

The 2016 election revealed a sobering truth about the American people: We disagree fundamentally on a lot of key issues. Remember how terrified you were to have Thanksgiving dinner with your conservative cousins? Yeah, well, get used to that.

There's going to be a lot of hard conversations in our future. You're pretty much guaranteed to have a run-in with someone you disagree with. Instead of going on the defensive though, why not take some time to learn about conflict resolution and how to have productive conversations?

Yelling and screaming and fighting aren't really going to get us anywhere. Instead of watching the inauguration, pick up a book that will teach you how to engage people on a human level and work out your differences with civility.

25. Take care of yourself.

It's OK to feel what you're feeling. Existential dread isn't a sign of weakness nor does it mean you're a special snowflake. It means you're paying attention.

This election did something pretty remarkable: It made people actually grieve. That means that people are experiencing the actual process of mourning, and emotions are raw and vulnerable. Yes, even two months later.

If you care about the world, you're going to need to work hard, but you're also going to need to take care of yourself. Whatever your self-care involves — bubble baths, yoga, spa days, burying yourself in your work, laying on the floor and crying — double down on it, and don't feel bad about it.

Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images.

You need to put on your own oxygen mask before you help others, if you know what I mean.

Most importantly, try to remember that this isn't the end of the world; it's the beginning of a hard and worthy challenge.

It may seem impossible to get through the next four years, but never forget that there are always things that you can do yourself to take a stand for the things you believe in and to make the world a better place in ways big and small.

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Family

I told a kid a riddle my dad told me when I was 7. His answer proves how far we've come.

This classic riddle takes on new meaning as our world changes for the better.




When I was 7, my dad told me a riddle.

"A man and his son are driving in their car when they are hit by a tractor-trailer.

Photo via iStock.

(We were driving at the time, so of course this was the riddle he decided to tell.)

The father dies instantly.

The son is badly injured. Paramedics rush him to the hospital.

Photo via iStock.

As he is being wheeled into the operating room, the surgeon takes one look the boy and says:

'I can't operate on him. He's my son.'

How is that possible?!"

Without missing a beat, I answered:


"The doctor is his mom!"

Photo via iStock.

My dad first heard the riddle when he was a child in the '60s.

Back then, most women didn't work outside of the home.

Few of those who did had college degrees, much less professional degrees.

Female doctors were few and far between.

Back then, it was a hard riddle. A very hard riddle.

By 1993, when I first heard it, the notion that women could be highly skilled, highly trained professionals wasn't so absurd.

To me, it was normal.

I knew women who were lawyers. Bankers. Politicians. My own doctor was a woman.

To be sure, women still faced challenges and discrimination in the workplace. And even 20 years later, they still do.

But at its core, the riddle is about how a family can work. And that had changed. Long-overdue progress had rendered the big, sexist assumption that underpinned the whole thing moot.

A very hard riddle was suddenly not a riddle at all.

I never forgot it.

Now, I'm 30 — almost as old as my dad was he first told me that riddle.

My dad at 30 (left) and me at 30. Photos by Eric March/Upworthy and Mary March, used with permission.

I don't have kids, but I mentor a child through a volunteer program.

Once a week, we get together and hang out for an hour. We play ping pong, do science experiments, and write songs. Neither of us like to go outside.

It's a good match.

One day, we decided to try to stump each other with riddles.

He rattled off about five or six.

I could only remember one: The one about the man, his son, and the surgeon.

Photo via iStock.

I thought it would be silly to tell it.

I was sure that, if it was easy in 1993, it would be even easier in 2014. Kind of ridiculous, even.

But a part of me was curious.

It had been 21 years — almost as long as it had been between when my dad first heard the riddle and when he shared it with me.

Maybe it wouldn't be so easy.

Maybe I was missing something obvious, making my own flawed assumptions about how a family could work.

Maybe the world had changed in ways that would be second nature to a 13-year-old but not to me.

So I began:

"A man and his son are driving in their car, when they are hit by a tractor-trailer. The father dies instantly. The son is badly injured and is rushed to the hospital by paramedics. As he is being wheeled into the operating room, the surgeon takes one look at the boy and says:

'I can't operate on him. He's my son.'

How is that possible?!"

Without missing a beat, he answered: "it's his other dad"

Photo via iStock.

Times change. Progress isn't perfect. But no matter what shape a family takes, at the end of the day, #LoveWins.


This article was written by Eric March and originally appeared on 06.21.16

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Family

Mom finds brilliant way to tell her kids the 'truth' about Santa and other parents take notes

If you're a parent struggling how to break the news, this might help.

Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

How to tell your kids the truth about Santa.

"It's the mooost wonderful tiiiiime of the — OH NO, did Charlie just ask if Santa is real?!"

If you're a parent in a household that celebrates Christmas, you can likely relate to the dreaded Santa Claus conversation. It may come with tears, it may come with tantrums, and it may even be worse for you, seeing that heart-wrenching look of disappointment spread across your child's once-merry face.


It's a dilemma Charity Hutchinson of British Columbia was pondering, as a mom to two young boys and the two nephews she cares for as well.

family, advice, truth for kids

Hutchinson family and the truth about Santa.

Photo by Theresa Easter Photography.

One of Hutchinson's nephews raised the notorious question, telling her he no longer believed in Santa Claus.

"I felt sad because he seemed disappointed telling me his news," she explained in a message. "And in that moment I didn't know what to say to him."

Hutchinson soon stumbled upon some advice online, finding what she described as “by far the best idea I’ve seen about telling your kids about Santa."

The idea of Santa may seem frivolous to many adults, but to believe in something much bigger than yourself, only to learn you've been lied to by the people you trust most in the world? That can be a really big deal to a kid (and can possibly even create long-term trust issues for them, as one study found). The Santa conversation is one many parents understandably want to get right.

So when Hutchinson saw one of her friends on Facebook share an anonymous post detailing a strategy for breaking the news to your kids without disappointing them, she was thrilled.

Hutchinson loved the idea so much, she shared it on Facebook as well:

This is by far the best idea I've seen about telling your kids about Santa. Had to share! *********"In our family, we...
Posted by Charity Hutchinson on Tuesday, November 29, 2016

This is how it works:

1. Find a time to take your kid out, one-on-one, to a favorite spot and deliver the great news: The time has come for them to become a Santa.

"When they are 6 or 7, whenever you see that dawning suspicion that Santa may not be a material being, that means the child is ready. I take them out 'for coffee' at the local wherever. We get a booth, order our drinks, and the following pronouncement is made: 'You sure have grown an awful lot this year. Not only are you taller, but I can see that your heart has grown, too.'"

The post suggests pointing to a few different examples of how your kid has shown empathy or done something nice for another person throughout the past year. Let them know it was in those moments they proved themselves worthy of finally "becoming a Santa" themselves.

2. Assure your kid that they're ready to become a Santa because they understand the true meaning of giving (it's not just about the milk and cookies).

"You probably have noticed that most of the Santas you see are people dressed up like him. Some of your friends might have even told you that there is no Santa. A lot of children think that because they aren't ready to BE a Santa yet, but YOU ARE."

Get them talking about all the reasons they think Santa's the best. They may start out by pointing to his sleigh-riding skills or the fact he can go around the whole world in just one night. But move the conversation toward Santa being not so much of a cool person, but a cool concept that's focused on giving. Handing out presents makes the spirit of Santa a spectacular thing. Because your kid understands why giving back matters too, it's time they become a Santa themselves.

Also, "make sure you maintain the proper conspiratorial tone," the post notes.

3. Now that they're in on the secret, have them choose someone who could really use a great gift and devise a plan to give it away — secretly, of course.

"We then have the child choose someone they know — a neighbor, usually. The child's mission is to secretly, deviously, find out something that the person needs, and then provide it, wrap it, deliver it — and never reveal to the target where it came from. Being a Santa isn't about getting credit, you see. It's unselfish giving."

In the original post, the writer explains that their oldest child decided to buy a gift for a neighbor who always walked out to get the newspaper without her shoes on. Their son spied on the neighbor one day from the bushes to estimate her shoe size — he predicted she wore mediums — and then slipped a pair of slippers under her driveway gate one evening with a note "from Santa." The following morning, the neighbor was spotted wearing the slippers. Their son was ecstatic.

4. Remind them that being a Santa is top-secret business. And that, next year, they can carry on with their selfless Santa duties once again.

"I had to remind him that NO ONE could ever know what he did or he wouldn't be a Santa. Over the years, he chose a good number of targets, always coming up with a unique present just for them."

One year, for instance, he polished up a bike for a family friend's daughters. The writer's son was just as over the moon about giving the gift as the daughters were about receiving it.

In a little over a week, Hutchinson's post has racked up thousands of Likes and shares, with plenty of thankful parents chiming in in the comments.

"I never imagined it would be so popular!" Hutchinson explains. "I mean, it felt special when I read it and completely gave me goosebumps, but I didn't realize it would go this far."

Where the original post came from is still somewhat of a mystery. As The Huffington Post reported, it seems to have first cropped up in 2007 in an online forum. Ever since, the idea has floated around the web here and there, but has only made waves recently with Hutchinson's post going viral.

The secret of being a Santa, so to speak, has already worked its holiday magic on Hutchinson's once-suspicious nephew.

Filling him in on becoming a Santa was an instant game-changer, she says.

"His eyes lit right up," she writes. "That excitement and joy returned to him and he couldn't stop asking me questions! ... Instantly I could see the wheels were turning and he started planning who his special target would be and what he would get them and how he'd pull it off."

Hutchinson is happy her simple Facebook post has turned into something so special. "It isn't just a nice way to break the news to your kids," she writes. "But it really teaches them about the true meaning of Christmas and how you should always give to others."


This article originally appeared on 12.09.16

Pop Culture

Alan Tudyk creates Reddit account just to connect with fan who missed out on talking to him

The 'Resident Alien' star sent the sweetest message to a fan who lamented not telling him how important the show was to her.

This is how you treat a fan.

Even if you don’t typically get star struck, odds are there’s one celebrity that would send you into a nervous fit should you ever come face-to-face. Especially if that celebrity was part of a project that meant a great deal to you.

Like, how do you tell them that a movie or TV show they starred in changed your entire outlook on life in the 30 seconds that you’re probably allowed to interact with them? You can’t. So instead you say something lame alá “Gee, I’m your biggest fan,” as they politely sign some memorabilia, and then your time is up. Opportunity for connection with someone who greatly impacted your life: gone.

This is what happened when a fan of the sci-fi comedy “Resident Alien” got a chance to meet the show’s star, Alan Tudyk, at a convention.


Unfortunately, nerves got the best of her, and she “blew” her chance to share how meaningful the show has been during a particularly dark period of her life. Filled with anguish and embarrassment, she created a throwaway Reddit account just to vent about the experience.

“I went to Fan Fest Boston and met Alan on Saturday,” her post began. “I wanted to tell him that ‘Resident Alien’ was the first show that made me laugh after my husband died this winter, that it helped me to feel human again, and I wanted to thank him for that.”

via GIPHY

However, the OP was very aware of how “exhausted” Tudyk appeared, and the long lines of people still waiting to see him. Plus she knew they couldn’t say their piece “without crying.”

So instead, she “stood there awkward and stupid,” and made a joke about “Firefly,” the show that launched Tudyk’s career.

The entire debacle left the OP regretting that she never got a chance to let Tudyk know “that his work really affected someone and helped them through a hard time.”

“I know he probably wouldn’t care and he would forget by the end of the day so I’m not sure why it’s bothering me so much, but I just really wanted to say thank you.” the post concluded.

Well, through the almighty power of the internet, Tudyk found out about this post. And he responded in such a thoughtful way.

resident alien, alan tudyk

A photo of Tudyk's response

preview.redd.it

Here’s what he wrote:

“My friend sent me this. Sorry you feel like you missed your opportunity. I have read your message. I love that you have such a beautiful connection with the show. I’m so sorry to hear about your husband. I’m glad you’re finding your laugh again and honored that I’m a part of that. Your story and similar stories I’ve heard are so touching. It makes me feel like my work, which I appreciate getting to do, has worth beyond the Hollywood hustle of it all and the BS business of show business.”

Tudyk even gave the OP another opportunity to meet, inviting her to come by the following day before he hopped on a plane so that he could also say “thank you in person.”

Though the OP wasn’t able to meet Tudyk that day (she explained in a follow-up post that it would be her kids’ first Father’s Day without dad, and they had to “come first”), she noted that she would return to the same convection next year, and tell it to him again—this time in person.

She also ended her heartwarming post with a very appropo “Resident Alien” quote, in which Tudyk’s non-human character Harry reflects:

“Everyone needs to belong to something bigger than themselves. Yes, there is strength in numbers, but maybe it's simpler. Maybe humans just feel better when they know they are not alone on this earth.”

Kevin Parry / Twitter

Toronto-based animator and video wizard Kevin Parry has gone mega-viral for his mind-boggling collection of videos where he turns himself into random objects.

In a series of quick clips he changes into everything from a pumpkin to a bright yellow banana and in most of the videos, he appears to suffer a ridiculous death. The videos combine studio trickery with a magician's flair.


Parry is a self-taught stop-motion animation expert who cut his teeth working at Laika, the animation studio best known for films such as "Coraline," "ParaNorman," and "The Boxtrolls." But he's had so much success on social media he moved back to his hometown of Toronto to "do the YouTube/Instagram thing."

Parry told Newsweek that the secret to his videos is speed.

"The inspiration for these transformations was to create the shortest possible videos with the most impact," he said. "I specifically made the balloon one to be 4-5 seconds long but to be as shocking and surprising as possible. That's why it starts with me falling—I thought what could be more scroll-stopping than someone falling face-first into the floor."


This article originally appeared on 2.15.22

Family

What to do when you're the child of an alcoholic

My dad was an addict, and growing up with him taught me a lot.

Photo with permission from writer Ashley Tieperman.

Ashley Tieperman and her father.


There was never just one moment in my family when we “found out" that my dad was an addict.

I think I always knew, but I never saw him actually drinking. Usually, he downed a fifth of vodka before he came home from work or hid tiny bottles in the garage and bathroom cabinets.


My name is Ashley, and I am the child of an addict. As a kid, I cried when our family dinner reservation shrunk from four to three after a man with glassy eyes stumbled through the door. I didn't guzzle the vodka, but I felt the heartbreak of missed birthdays. I feel like I should weigh 500 pounds from all the “I'm sorry" chocolate donuts. I had to grow up quicker, but it made me into the person I am today.

addiction, coping, 12 step programs, recovery

Me and my dad.

Photo with permission from writer Ashley Tieperman.

I spent many years shouting into journals about why this was happening to me. But this is the thing that no one will tell you about loving someone who has an addiction: it will force you to see the world through different eyes.

Here are some things I've learned:

1. When your family's yelling about burnt toast, they're probably also yelling about something else.

My family yelled about everything — and nothing — to avoid the messy stuff. We all handled my dad's addiction differently. My brother devoured sports. My mom took bubble baths. I slammed doors and slammed boyfriends for not understanding my family's secrets.

Regardless of the preferred coping mechanism, everyone feels pain differently.

2. Your "knight in shining armor" can't fix this.

Boyfriends became my great escape when I was young. But when I expected them to rescue me from the pain I grew up with, it never worked out. No matter how strapping they looked galloping in on those white horses, they couldn't save me or fix anything.

In the end, I realized that I had to find healing on my own before I could build a strong relationship.

3. “Don't tell anyone" is a normal phase.

When my dad punched holes in the wall, my mom covered them up with artwork. I wanted to rip the artwork down to expose all the holes, especially as a bratty teenager. But eventually I realized that it wasn't my choice. My parents had bills to pay and jobs to keep. I've learned it's common to cover up for dysfunction in your family, especially when it feels like the world expects perfection.

4. Friends probably won't get it, but you'll need them anyway.

Bulldozed by broken promises, I remember collapsing on a friend's couch from the crippling pain of unmet expectations. I hyperventilated. Things felt uncontrollable and hopeless. My friend rubbed my back and just listened.

These are the kinds of friends I will keep forever, the ones who crawled down into the dark places with me and didn't make me get back up until I was ready.

5. You can't fix addiction, but you can help.

When I was a teenager, I called a family meeting. I started by playing a Switchfoot song: “This is your life. Are you who you want to be?"

Let's skip to the punchline: It didn't work.

It wasn't just me. Nothing anyone did worked. My dad had to lose a lot — mostly himself — before he hit that place they call “rock bottom." And, in all honesty, I hate that label because “rock bottom" isn't just a one-and-done kind of place.

What can you do while you wait for someone to actually want to get help? Sometimes, you just wait. And you hope. And you pray. And you love. And you mostly just wait.

6. Recovery is awkward.

When a counselor gave me scripted lines to follow if my dad relapsed, I wanted to shred those “1-2-3 easy steps" into a million pieces.

For me, there was nothing easy about my dad's recovery. My whole family had to learn steps to a new dance when my dad went into recovery. The healing dance felt like shuffling and awkwardly stepping on toes. It was uncomfortable; new words, like trust and respect, take time to sink in. And that awkwardness is also OK.

7. I still can't talk about addiction in the past tense.

Nothing about an addict's life happens linearly. I learned that early on. My dad cycled through 12-step programs again and again, to the point where I just wanted to hurl whenever anyone tried to talk about it. And then we finally reached a point where it felt like recovery stuck.

But even now, I'll never say, “My dad used to deal with addiction." My whole family continues to wrestle with the highs and lows of life with an addict every single day.

8. Happy hours and wedding receptions aren't easy to attend.

My family will also probably never clink glasses of red wine or stock the fridge full of beer. I'm convinced happy hours and wedding receptions will get easier, but they might not. People get offended when my dad orders a Diet Coke instead of their fine whisky.

Plus, there's the paranoia factor. Surrounded by flowing liquor, I hate watching my dad crawl out of his skin, tempted to look “normal" and tackle small talk with people we barely know. I've learned that this fear will probably last for a while, and it's because I care.

9. If you close your eyes, the world doesn't just “get prettier."

With constant fear of the unknown, sometimes our world is not a pretty place. I remember watching the breaking news on 9/11 and feeling the terror of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers as if I was there.

My dad numbed the anxiety of these dark days with vodka, but this didn't paint a prettier world for him when he woke up the next day. I've dealt with the fear of the unknown with the help of boys, booze, and bad dancing on pool tables. Life hurts for everyone, and I think we all have to decide how we're going to handle the darkness.

10. Rip off the sign on your back that reads: “KICK ME. MY LIFE SUCKS."

Sometimes I look in the mirror and I see only my broken journey. In some twisted way, I'm comforted by the dysfunction because it's kept me company for so long. It's easy to let the shadow of my family's past follow me around and choose to drown in the darkness.

But every day, I'm learning to turn on the light. I have to write the next chapter in my recovery story, but I can't climb that mountain with all this crap weighing me down.

11. It's OK to forgive, too.

Some people have given me sucky advice about how I should write an anthem on daddy bashing, or how to hit the delete button on the things that shaped my story.

Instead, my dad and I are both learning to celebrate the little things, like the day that he could change my flat tire. On that day, I didn't have to wonder if he was too drunk to come help me.

I can't forget all the dark nights of my childhood.

But I've learned that for my own well-being, I can't harbor bitterness until I explode.

Instead, I can love my dad, day by day, and learn to trust in the New Dad — the one with clearer eyes and a full heart. The one who rescues me when I call.


This article was written by Ashley Tieperman and originally appeared on 04.27.16