This week, your best highly specific best-ofs of the year.
Last week, I told you about my wish that everyone I know would send me superspecific best-of-2022 lists. I dreamed of lists that would go beyond the usual cultural highlights like “best movie” or “best book” and include people’s best changes in their routines, the best seltzers they tried, the best ideas they had.
I’ve spent the past week delightedly awash in a tide of your very subjective favorite things. Today, I’ll share your picks for what to do, buy, watch, eat and more — the best of the action verbs. Next week, in time for the new year, I’ll devote the newsletter to the best advice you received.
The best stuff you did
A few readers happened on methods for dealing with insomnia. Mariana Scott of Dublin, Calif., advised a light workout in the middle of the night. “Then if you’re too exhausted to exercise during the day,” she said, “at least you already did something.” Alice Casella in Rockland, Maine, recommended getting up, making a cup of tea and doing a small chore, like cleaning the silverware organizer.
The best German phrase Lauren Oster in New York City learned via Duolingo this year was “Und für meinen Anwalt eine Apfelschorle” (“And for my lawyer, a sparkling apple juice”). The best phrase Kelly Nichols of Highland Park, Ill., learned (in English) was “weaponized incompetence.”
Elaine Chiodi in Berkeley Township, N.J., gave us her best bowling tip: to make sure that your thumb is pointing up when you’re holding the ball. It raised her scores from the 60s-80s to the high 90s-120s. Gaayathri Binoj of Chesterfield, Mo., offered her best chess opening: “the Scotch Gambit — sacrificing a pawn for a wild battle.”
Tara Barranco in Worcester, Mass., reported that the best way to rake leaves was to simply mulch them with a lawn mower. The best thing Wendy Ames in Brookline, Mass., did for holidays was to buy gifts throughout the year, then wrap them in the first week of December so she’d feel calm in the weeks before Christmas. (Let’s all start in January!)
Your best in culture
Even though there’s no end to traditional best-of lists, it’s still a thrill to hear what you loved. We had recommendations for the film “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” and more than one person’s top book was “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow,” by Gabrielle Zevin. Other favorites:
Best television episode: The “New Jazz” episode of “Atlanta.” — J.P. Hoornstra, Los Angeles
Best opera for those who think they don’t like opera: Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amore.” — Marilyn Perrin, Medford, Ore.
Best kids’ shows that won’t make you want to jump off a cliff: “Bluey,” “Gabby’s Dollhouse,” “The Snoopy Show.” — Janie Slavens, Brooklyn
Best song for your workout playlist: “Tommy,” by Ralph. — Clare Nauman, Tampere, Finland
Best murder mystery novel series: Louise Penny’s “Three Pines.” — Janice Gasker, Fleetwood, Pa.
The best smells
You recommended the scent of seedless blackberry jam on the stovetop, Sur la Table’s white peppercorn (best holiday scent, in multiple products) and “my dogs’ breath after brushing with their favorite poultry-flavored toothpaste. Their breath just smells clean, and (thank god) not at all like poultry.” (Thanks, Sue Sternberg of Moab, Utah.)
The best changes to routines
After a rough start to the year, Martha Johnson of Maryland Heights, Mo., had the idea to create a jar labeled “Good Stuff in 2022.” All year, she and her husband tucked notes inside: activities, something funny someone said, a loved one’s success. On New Year’s Eve, they plan to read them and be reminded of the wonders of the past year.
Anna Squires in Golden, Colo., gave herself “low-dopamine mornings” this year, a trend she discovered on TikTok. She doesn’t permit any “digital stimulus” until she begins work at 8. (“It means I’ve been getting to The Morning later,” she noted, “but that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.” We’ll allow it.)
Rebecca Hoover, a first-grade teacher in Reading, Pa., keeps a daily haiku journal. Here’s one of her favorites, from the day she checked her students’ work with a banana-scented marker: “‘It smells like heaven!’/Who knew eternity smells/like fake bananas?”
The best thing Greg DeCamp in Kansas City, Mo., did in 2022 was to set up weekly electronic donations to a charitable organization. “If giving is most important,” he said, “then making it automatic before I can spend on anything else seemed like a good idea.”
Your best purchases
Readers’ favorites from the supermarket were as varied and alluring as I’d hoped. The best scalloped potatoes: Good and Gather cheesy scalloped potatoes with chives from Target. Best grocery store find: Aldi “red bag” frozen chicken. Best ice cream: Kirkland Signature super premium vanilla from Costco. Best condiment: Swad coriander chutney. Best rice: Nishiki.
On the coffee front, Tim Sherwood of Boca Raton, Fla., said Kirkland Signature medium-roast ground coffee in a 2.5-pound bag was best for brewing at home. Kasia Maroney in Trumansburg, N.Y., thought there was no such thing as good decaffeinated dark roast until she found the decaf dark-roast K-Cups by Peet’s Coffee.
Best seltzers: Sanzo lychee sparkling water, Kroger’s watermelon flavor, Polar pink apple & lemon. If you prefer soda, Addison Schwamb of St. Louis likes Sprecher’s Fire-Brewed Ginger Ale “because it’s spicy rather than sweet.”
The best chocolate-chip cookies that Howard Kravitz in Westford, Mass., tried this year were made by his neighbor, Lorraine. She added dried cherries to the mix.
Your favorite board games included Sequence (“Just about everyone I’ve introduced to the game has bought their own board,” Debra Felix of Wellfleet, Mass., said) and Spirit Island.
Your best toothpastes
I was mostly joking when I said I’d be interested in hearing the best toothpaste you tried this year, but I wasn’t sorry to receive your favorites. Based on the impassioned emails, I plan to try Marvis’s Amarelli Licorice, Crest 3D White Charcoal and Unpaste tooth tabs, which have the bonus of minimal packaging.
By my colleague Katherine Rosman, from 2012: “The Beltway’s Most Exclusive End-of-Year List.” A group email! So retro! (From her personal list: “Best book I listened to that I previously could never get through in print: the 1974 Pulitzer-winning Civil War novel, ‘The Killer Angels,’ by Michael Shaara.”)
Here are all of The Times’s best-of-2022 lists.
THE WEEK IN CULTURE
The rapper Tory Lanez was found guilty of shooting Megan Thee Stallion in her feet after an argument in 2020.
Volodymyr Zelensky’s green sweatshirt and cargo pants reminded Congress that the Ukraine war was far from over, our chief fashion critic, Vanessa Friedman, writes.
Madison Square Garden used facial recognition to ban its owner’s perceived enemies.
Vulture’s flowchart of “nepo babies” shows how the children of famous people have taken over Hollywood.
The Oscar for best actress will be this awards season’s most dynamic race, Kyle Buchanan writes.
Quebec’s younger generation showered Celine Dion in support after she announced a rare neurological condition.
Paramount Pictures spent “wads of cash” to flatter itself in “Babylon,” starring Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie, Manohla Dargis writes. (Their characters drew on real people.)
THE LATEST NEWS
A frigid storm pummeled the U.S. with wind, snow and plummeting temperatures for a third day, cutting off power to over a million customers and disrupting holiday plans.
A sports reporter in Iowa was sent to cover the storm. He did not like it.
The Jan. 6 report revealed new details, including Donald Trump’s push for National Guard troops to protect his supporters at the Capitol.
Congress cleared a roughly $1.7 trillion government spending package, sending it to President Biden to sign into law.
The I.R.S. delayed a new policy that will require users of digital wallets like Venmo to start reporting small transactions.
The Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin scored twice against Winnipeg to move into second place on the N.H.L.’s career goal-scoring list, behind only Wayne Gretzky.
RECIPE OF THE WEEK
Panettone Bread Pudding
Did someone give you a panettone for the holidays this year? I received three of them, ate two and a half and have plans for the remainder: the bread pudding of my dreams. It’s a recipe that Tejal Rao adapted from Elisabeth Prueitt of Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, and it couldn’t be easier. Just whisk together some eggs and milk, pour the custard over slices of toasted panettone and bake until soft on the inside and browned on top. (If you don’t happen to have leftover panettone, you can use sweet brioche, babka or raisin bread.) Dusted with powdered sugar, it makes a lovely winter dessert. Or think of it as a fancy French toast casserole and serve it for breakfast or brunch, maybe even tomorrow. It would be a most merry way to start the day.
A selection of New York Times recipes is available to all readers. Please consider a Cooking subscription for full access.
What you get for $1.8 million: A Mediterranean-style house in West Palm Beach, Fla.; an 1836 farmhouse in Knoxville, Tenn.; or an adobe home in Santa Fe, N.M.
Queen of Christmas: She writes holiday hits from Battery Park City.
Meltable home décor: We’re in a golden age of candle making.
Gen Z problems: A 25-year-old elected to Congress is struggling to rent an apartment.
Lots of glitz: How Miami does Christmas.
Holiday meal: Are “meat sweats” a real thing?
Party outfit: Still searching for one? “Casual sequins” may be the answer.
Hope and uncertainty: Seven women described the process of freezing their eggs.
Two infections: You can get Covid and the flu at the same time.
ADVICE FROM WIRECUTTER
A hosting survival guide
Waking up to a house full of guests this morning? After playing host at the holidays for almost 20 years, my family has collected techniques to help everyone feel at home. Put up a sign with the Wi-Fi password, leave out a stash of charging cables and add guest profiles for streaming services on your TV. Stock up on your guests’ favorite snacks, and provide plenty of clean towels, like the ones Wirecutter recommends. My favorite holiday hosting suggestion: a personalized family mug for each of your guests. They’ll feel included, and no one will unknowingly use your favorite coffee cup. — Jackie Reeve
GAME OF THE WEEKEND
Philadelphia 76ers vs. New York Knicks, N.B.A.: Seventy-five years ago, the N.B.A. played its first Christmas Day game. The New York Knickerbockers topped the Providence Steam Rollers, 89-75, after trailing in the first half. This “stirring comeback” delighted “a crowd of 15,427, which set a season’s high for professional basketball at Madison Square Garden,” Joseph M. Sheehan wrote in The Times the next day. The Knicks are back this Christmas, and they have been hot, recently winning eight games in a row. If they can handle the Sixers’ all-star center Joel Embiid, they might once again delight the Garden crowd. Noon Eastern tomorrow on ESPN.
For more: Whip up some eggnog or hot cocoa for The Athletic’s N.B.A. Christmas drinking game.
NOW TIME TO PLAY
The pangram from yesterday’s Spelling Bee was annihilate. Here is today’s puzzle.
Test your knowledge of the faces that defined 2022.
Here’s today’s Wordle.
Thanks for spending part of your weekend with The Times. — Melissa
Lauren Hard, Lauren Jackson, Ian Prasad Philbrick and Tom Wright-Piersanti contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at email@example.com.