Time to get in the holiday spirit! Although 2020 was undoubtedly a year to forget, thanks largely to the
ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, racial inequality and a divisive presidential election, not everything that happened was bad.
The first year of the decade started off on a high note for
and Prince Harry , who shocked the world when they announced their plans to Meghan Markle step back as senior members of the British royal family less than two years after marrying. Although the move created waves behind castle doors, it allowed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to create a new life for themselves and their son, Archie, thousands of miles away in the former actress’ native California.
“Montecito is only just over an hour’s drive from L.A., which is where a majority of their work is based, yet far enough away to
escape the crowds, paparazzi and tourism in Hollywood,” a source exclusively told Us Weekly in August after the couple purchased a $14.7 million mansion in the ritzy Santa Barbara neighborhood.
As Harry and Meghan settled into their new digs, millions of other people stayed locked down in their houses while the novel coronavirus continued to spread.
made the best of her time in quarantine, recording not one but two albums: Taylor Swift and Folklore , which she surprise-released in July and December, respectively. Evermore
“I’ve never done this before. In the past I’ve always treated albums as one-off eras and moved onto planning the next one after an album was released,” she wrote via Instagram as the year came to an end. “There was something different with folklore. In making it, I felt less like I was departing and more like I was returning. I loved the escapism I found in these imaginary/not imaginary tales. I loved the ways you welcomed the dreamscapes and tragedies and epic tales of love lost and found into your lives. So I just kept writing them.”
Scroll down for more things that brought smiles to our faces in an otherwise grim year!
‘The Bachelor’ Finally Cast Its 1st Black Male Lead
After 24 seasons without a Black Bachelor, the ABC franchise announced
’ Matt James historic casting in June. “[I’m] honored [to be] in the position I’m in and have this opportunity to just represent what it’s going to look like to have diverse relationships and tell those love stories,” the real estate broker, whose journey begins in January 2021, said on The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons — Ever!
TikTok Helped Make Quarantine More Bearable
Although the video-sharing app launched back in 2016, its
popularity soared at the beginning of the pandemic as people began to look for something that would keep their minds off the sad and scary state of the world. In addition to trendy dance, cooking and prank videos, TikTok introduced the world to influencers like Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae as well as up-and-coming rappers such as , Megan Thee Stallion SAINt JHN and Jack Harlow.
Courtesy Charli D'Amelio/Instagram; Courtesy Dixie D'Amelio/Instagram
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Paved Their Own Path
On their now-defunct Instagram account, Harry and Meghan revealed in January that they decided to divide their time between the U.K. and the U.S. in hopes of raising their son “with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing [their] family with the space to focus on the next chapter.” Later that month,
stripped her grandson and his wife of Queen Elizabeth II their royal titles but assured fans that “Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much-loved members of the family.”
Machine Gun Kelly Made Emo Cool Again
After ditching his signature rap sound, the artist born Colson Baker released the best pop-punk album in years,
Tickets to My Downfall, in September. Blink-182 drummer produced the entire record, which featured collaborations with Travis Barker , Halsey Trippie Redd, Blackbear and Iann Dior as well as spoken interludes with MGK’s best friend, , and girlfriend, Pete Davidson . Megan Fox
Taylor Swift Blessed Us With 2 Albums
The singer-songwriter nearly broke the internet in July when she dropped
Folklore, an indie folk album recorded in secret with and Jack Antonoff Aaron Dessner. It quickly became the bestselling album of the year, but Swift wasn’t done yet. She released Folklore’s “sister album,” Evermore, less than five months later.
Beth Garrabrant (2)
Drive-In Theaters Came Back
After the pandemic forced many movie theaters to temporarily (or, in some cases, permanently) close, drive-ins became all the rage again, allowing film buffs to catch the latest blockbusters from the comfort of their socially distanced vehicles.
Zendaya and ‘Parasite’ Made History at Awards Shows
became the Zendaya youngest-ever recipient of the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Rue Bennett in HBO’s Euphoria. “This is pretty crazy,” the 24-year-old said while virtually accepting the trophy at home with her family. Her win came seven months after Oscars history was made when Parasite became the first non-English-language film to win Best Picture.
ABC/Shutterstock; Courtesy of NEON CJ Entertainment
‘Hamilton’ Made Its Way to TV Screens
Scoring tickets to
’s hit musical was nearly impossible. Fortunately, five years after its Off-Broadway premiere, Disney+ released a Lin-Manuel Miranda Hamilton film in July, bringing songs like “My Shot” and “The Story of Tonight” from stage to screen after New York City’s theaters were forced to shut their doors.
Wearing Sweats Every Day Became the New Normal
Sweatshirt and sweatpant sales were surely through the roof in 2020 as most people began working from home amid the pandemic. Fortunately, stars including
and Scott Disick continued to pump out quarantine-friendly merch throughout the year — perfect for when Zoom cameras were off. David Dobrik
Beyoncé Slayed With ‘Black Is King’
As the visual companion to her 2019 album
The Lion King: The Gift, debuted a Beyoncé stunning Disney+ musical film titled Black Is King, which she filmed across three continents with a diverse cast and crew. Like anything Queen Bey drops, the July release received critical acclaim and ultimately two Grammy nominations.
Walt Disney Pictures/Kobal/Shutterstock