’Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free, or so the song goes. But here at Us Weekly we find gifts in the most unlikely of places (like the elevators at The Standard Hotel). So as you enjoy your second (or third or fourth) helping of mashed potatoes, take some time to appreciate the finer things in life. Here are (in no particular order) 14 things Us Weekly is thankful for in 2014:
1. Stars Hollow Hits Netflix
If you’re out on the road feeling lonely and so cold, you can always turn on Gilmore Girls on Netflix! Lorelai, Rory, and all of Stars Hollow had a major comeback in 2014 when every single season was featured on Netflix, thus allowing Us the opportunity to debate the Jess vs. Dean love triangle all throughout the holidays.
2. Simpson’s Stems
With the help of Weight Watchers and her personal trainer Harley Pasternak, Jessica Simpson dropped all of her baby weight, prepared for her summer wedding to Eric Johnson, and started showing off her best feature — her muscular legs. So how did she get those gams? Walking lunges and constant inspiration from her Daisy Dukes!
3. United States of Blue Ivy
After years of only getting to know the back of Blue Ivy’s head on Instagram, Beyonce and Jay Z finally debuted their adorable daughter to the world at the 2014 MTV VMAs in August. The flawless goddess, 2, took her rightful place on the VMA stage, congratulating her mom on her Video Vanguard Award, dancing in the audience, and resting in her rapper daddy’s arms. Katy Perry said it best when she tweeted, “OMG BLUE IVY JUST PERSONALLY WAVED AT ME. MY LIFE IS OVER.” Understandable.
4. Leo’s Post-Oscars DNGAF Attitude
In March 2014, a hopeful Leonardo DiCaprio walked the red carpet at the Oscars, no doubt, secretly praying that his buzzed-about role in The Wolf of Wall Street would finally earn him his first Oscar. But alas, he went home empty-handed when Matthew McConaughey scored the golden trophy for his part in Dallas Buyers Club. In that moment, DiCaprio made a pivotal decision that would alter the course of his next few months — he decided to no longer care. He grew his hair out, wore man buns, went shirtless letting his gut hang free, and did karate while wearing skinny jeans on the deck of a yacht. No f—ks Leo is the best Leo.
5. Dumbo’s Revenge
Kim Kardashian may break the Internet on occasion, but hidden in the hills of Thailand is an elephant who knows how to break her. While the K-obsessed family visited the Asian country on Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Kim decided to use the opportunity to take as many selfies as her photo data plan would allow. But she got more than she bargained for when she sidled up to a local elephant. The animal lifted its trunk behind an unsuspecting Kardashian and blew air onto the back of her head. The facial reaction that followed tops all Kim-crying GIFs for the rest of time.
6. Unlikely Hotties
Hotness can come from the most unexpected of places. Though we’re used to praising the greatness of Zac Efron’s abs and Bradley Cooper’s scruffy facial hair, some unanticipated studs revealed themselves this awards season. When director Cary Fukunaga won an Emmy for his work on HBO’s True Detective, who didn’t imagine hanging off those studly braids? And Julianna Margulies proved that she must, in fact, be a seriously Good Wife when she brought her sexy lawyer hubby Keith Lieberthal to the Emmys. Redheaded stunner Jessica Chastain showed off her Interstellar love life when she brought boyfriend Gian Luca Passi de Preposulo to the Cannes Film Festival in May.
7. J. Lo’s Age-Defying Body
Two kids, numerous splits, and 45 years on this earth haven’t slowed down Jennifer Lopez one bit! The hottie from the block had a banner year promoting her new album A.K.A., and showing off her sick abs, toned legs, and beloved booty. From opening the 2014 World Cup in Brazil to grinding on Iggy Azalea in her “Booty” music video, Lopez proved that age is really just a number.
8. The Selfie to End All Selfies
In a year of endless selfies (Kim Kardashian made an entire book out of hers), one selfie ruled them all. In March, Ellen DeGeneres hosted the Oscars and in addition to getting pizza delivered to the A-list audience, she managed to pack an insane amount of A-listers into a history-making selfie. In the photo were Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyong’o, Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep, Bradley Cooper, and the host herself. In other news, Lupita’s brother got the best profile picture of all time.
9. Elevator Security Cameras
‘Course sometimes s—t goes down when there’s a billion dollars in the elevator! In addition to proving she knows how to rock a cape, Solange Knowles was also a force to be reckoned with when elevator security cameras captured her giving brother-in-law Jay Z more than 99 problems at a Met Gala after party at The Standard Hotel. The event caused countless Internet memes, dozens of Knowles/Carter-family theories, and a newfound respect for the New Orleans DJ. It also gave a whole new meaning to “Pretty Hurts.”
10. Prince George, Master Shade Thrower
Though his parents took up the spotlight in previous years with their epic Royal Wedding in 2011 and Kate Middleton’s pregnancy in early 2013, it was Prince George who captured our hearts in 2014. Starting off the year with his Royal Tour of New Zealand and Australia in April, the third in line to the throne became the King of Shade after sporting some hilariously grumpy looks. His hunky uncle Prince Harry even compared the tot to a “young Winston Churchill.” Bye, Felicia.
11. Sexy Bachelors Settling Down
2014 was the year modelizers and playboys gave up their wild ways in favor of marriage and babies! George Clooney married British lawyer Amal Alamuddin in Venice, Italy in September, rocker Adam Levine married Behati Prinsloo in Mexico in July, Brad Pitt finally sealed the deal with longtime love Angelina Jolie in the South of France in August, and Ryan Gosling welcomed daughter Esmeralda with girlfriend Eva Mendes in September. Our boys are growing up!
12. Jess’ Bombshell Babies
If there’s one thing Jessica Simpson and hubby Eric Johnson know how to do, it’s make some seriously adorable kids. The couple are parents to daughter Maxwell, 2, whose golden blonde locks and precious pout make her the spitting image of her famous mom. Seriously, someone needs to get that kid a modeling contract. Pair that with her little goofball brother Ace, 16 months, and you’ve got a team of tots to be reckoned with.
13. Reunion Mania
Most celebs didn’t wait until the holidays to get together with loved ones. 2014 saw endless cast reunions from hit TV shows and movies. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants foursome’s outings were especially sweet once Blake Lively announced her first pregnancy. And Regina, Gretchen, Karen, and Cady shared a special Mean Girls moment (not to mention the run-in with too-gay-to-function Damien earlier in the year) for the film’s 10-year anniversary. Add to that the reunions shared by the casts of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Mighty Ducks, The Little Rascals, Friends, and Dawson’s Creek, and you’ll find yourself questioning what year it actually is.
14. Beer Bros
Beer me, Brad! In May there was an A-list exchange we shan’t soon forget. While hanging out in New Orleans, Brad Pitt tossed pal Matthew McConaughey a beer from across a balcony. The recent Oscar winner happily accepted the brew as locals delighted in the candid moment. May we all be as generous as Brad Pitt this holiday season.
Tell Us: What are you thankful for this year?