Happy Christmas/ Hanukkah/ Kwanzaa/Festivus/whatever holiday you choose to celebrate during this festive season! It’s the most wonderful time of the year, so we’ve curated a selection of heart-warming, cheer-inducing stories from the past week. Let’s take a look back at some good news:
A seven-year-old New Jersey girl had a rather endearing encounter with police after a minor Christmas crisis. Izzy LaPeruta accidentally threw a ball at her Elf on the Shelf doll, which — according to a book that accompanies the massively popular toy — loses its magic if it is touched. Believing that she had just ruined Christmas, Izzy tried to call her father, but dialed 911 instead. Fortunately, the responding officer was sympathetic. “Isabelle apologized,” he radioed back to headquarters. “She touched the Elf on a Shelf. She won’t call 911 again.” Who could blame Izzy for thinking she had gotten into trouble with Santa? As the famous jingle goes: “You better watch out, you better not cry, you better resist all your natural impulses and refrain from touching this elf toy.”
Archaeologists may have solved a long-standing mystery surrounding the identity of Tutankhamun’s wet nurse. It’s been known for many years that the Egyptian boy pharaoh had a wet nurse named Maia, but recent analysis of carvings in Maia’s tomb have lead archaeologists to believe that she was in fact his sister, Meritaten. Scholar Alain Zivie said the carvings depict King Tut and Maia — or Meritaten — as having similar eyes and chin. In one carving, she is shown sitting in a royal throne with Tutankhamun sitting on top of her. And you thought your family was weird.
Harry Potter fans got an unexpected surprise when it was revealed that the highly anticipated Harry Potter and the Cursed Child musical—co-written by J.K. Rowling and set to premiere in the summer of 2016 — has cast a black actor as Hermione. The musical tells the story of the original heroes 19 years after the last novel was set, and will see 45-year-old Noma Dumezweni take on the role of everyone’s favorite know-it-all. “Canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever,” Rowling wrote on Twitter. “White skin was never specified.” Some fans were disgruntled by the decision, but most celebrated it — presumably with glasses of butterbeer and heaps of chocolate frogs.
A 20-year-old engineering student named Shaima Qassem Abdulrahman was declared the winner of the first official Miss Iraq pageant since 1972. Organizers hoped the contest would “create life in Iraq” after decades of unrest, but at least two women received death threats for their participation and 15 contestants dropped out. Abdulrahman persevered in spite of the risks, and walked away as the pageant winner. “I am afraid of nothing,” she said, “because I am confident that what I am doing is not wrong.” Miss Iraq, we salute you. Just be sure to keep your crown away from Steve Harvey.