I got on Imgur's Best of 2011! →

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When the disaster at the Fukushima power plant in Japan happened this year, this image was created to help spread the word about all the incredible things people were doing to help out. It was viewed more than 1 million times and currently sits at the top spot in our gallery and on Reddit pics.

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in. -Unknown

The #SantaHat Tradition: What It Means to Me

If you ever get the chance to know me, you'll find that I am the most sentimental person you'll ever meet. I love remembering anniversaries and key dates. I love keeping a detailed journal and large albums of photos for memories. I love traditions and what they stand for. I love tweeting things like, "Exactly one year ago"¦"

If you've known me in the past four years, you'll know about my most favorite thing to do during the holiday season — the #SantaHat Tradition!

I can't take credit for the idea. I got the idea from a messageboard back in like 2004, where graphic designers volunteered to put Santa Hats on everyone's avatars. I thought it was the coolest idea ever so I held on to that #SantaHat image and tucked it away for a few years.

In December '08, when btvfam started growing together and Facebook took over Myspace, I thought to myself, "how cool would it be to wake up to a ton of Santa Hats all over Facebook?"

So that first holiday season, I made it happen"¦and it was a hit!

  • "Whoa, I thought that Santa Hat was real!!"

  • "Where the hell are all these Santa Hats coming from?!" —@DerekPortea

  • "I want a Santa Hat!" —@AndrewAGarcia

  • "I don't remember them wearing Santa Hats when I took that picture"¦Oh wait a minute, I see what you did there!" [email protected]

But there is one reaction in particular that I will always remember:

@micah_moo randomly broadcasting on BlogTV, wearing a Santa Hat (a real one), rocking out to the 'NSync Christmas album with the biggest freakin' smile on her face. "Mel totally got me excited for Christmas!!"

That right there, out of all the reactions I have ever gotten, is the one that I hold closest to my heart.

The tradition became more to me than just the novelty of seeing Santa Hats all over Facebook"¦it became about spreading Christmas cheer! And spreading it to as many freakin' people as possible. Not just to my friends, but my friends' friends/followers as well.

So with each passing holiday season, I would do more and more Santa Hats. The first year I did 79. The second year I did 190. Last year I did 446. This year I didn't double my previous record but I topped off at a new personal best of 532.

(In case you're wondering how I decide who gets a #SantaHat, I honestly just do it at complete random. I'll sit at the computer, see a name pop up on Twitter or the Facebook Ticker, and I'd slap a #SantaHat on it. I don't create a mega checklist of names or prioritize certain friends over others"¦I just make a butt load of 'em.)

Doing this over 1,000 times in the past two years alone, I realized a couple things:

  1. I am truly blessed to have had so many awesome people come into my life. Truly, truly blessed.

  2. There are so many people that I have slowly lost touch with over the years.

As much as I look forward to doing this every year, it's become a little bittersweet. Here I am, bouncing around Facebook looking for photos to use, smiling at each memory along the way"¦And then for many of you, it hits me, "Holy crap, I haven't seen you in over a year"¦"

Some of it is life getting in the way, throwing complicated priorities on us, pulling us in different directions. That's totally understandable.

But there are also faces I hadn't seen in a while, not because life pulled us apart, but because we pushed each other away. Some of us may have hurt each other, either intentionally or unintentionally. Or we picked different sides in our friends' dramas. Or we just flat out didn't get along. Whatever the reason may be — no matter how legitimate or irrational or petty it was — we decided to push each other away.

With something as simple as photoshopping Santa Hats, it'd be easy for me to be all passive-aggressive about it. "This fucker said I have fat ankles so no Santa Hat for this bitch ass!"

But then I see playing on TV, one of my all-time favorite childhood movies — Home Alone 2. That old creepy shovel man that saves Kevin's life at the end, finally makes amends with his family after so many years. That scene always brought me to tears as a kid"¦and its message still resonates with me today:

Christmas is a time for forgiveness.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that one point, we were all good friends. Some harsh words may have been said (to each other's faces or behind each other's backs), bridges may have been burned...but once upon a time, that bridge was there. And it was good! For a while, it was good.

Nothing should ever take that away.

We may never be able to get things back the way they were"¦but is it really worth holding on to those grudges so tightly?

Sometimes I have to remind myself that it's okay to let my guard down a bit. It's okay to lower those walls I've built. It's okay to cease fire and take a moment to just breathe. At least for a moment. At least long enough for me to be able to look the person in the eye, see past the hurt they once put me through, and say with absolutely sincerity, "I hope you have a Merry Christmas."

It's not an easy task though. I have a stubborn heart and sometimes it takes even years for me to forgive someone. I still have a list of people to truly forgive, and an even heavier list of people that I'm hoping to someday forgive me. Someday"¦

So that's what the #SantaHat Tradition means to me. It's about spreading Christmas cheer to as many people as possible. It's about letting people know I still value the time we share or once shared. It's about taking the time to look into myself, finding forgiveness, and expressing it in one of the simplest ways possible.

As much as I look forward to doing this every holiday season to spread Christmas cheer, the #SantaHat Tradition is very much a humbling experience for me too.

To all my friends that received a #SantaHat this year, whether we've stayed in touch or not, I just wanted to say thank you for being a part of my life. And to those of you who made your #SantaHat as your default picture, thank you so much for helping me spread Christmas cheer.

To each and every one of you out there"¦I know I've typed this over 500 times in the span of one week, but I've always meant it every single time, from the bottom of my heart"¦

Happy Holidays, everyone. <3

-Mel

My Lucky Stars

For all the times you see through my fake smiles.

For all the times I need you the most, deserve you the least, and give you all the reasons to walk out on me.

For all the times I am selfish, impatient, insecure, irrational, out of control and at my absolute worst"¦

Thank you, my closest friends, from the bottom of my heart"¦for never giving up on me and always supporting me no matter what.

All of the good times I have are only possible because you helped me get through the bad times.

It's only in darkness when we can truly appreciate our lucky stars. And for all my lucky stars that watch out for me"¦I owe you so much and trust you with my life.

Thank you. Again. For everything.

-Mel

Years ago, my closest homeboys and I made a pact...

If we're all still bachelors at the age of 35, we'll all quit our jobs and travel the world together. We'll all go to the same country, stay there until one of us finds a wife, and then move on to the next country. We'll do this until all of us are engaged.

We called it, The International Wives Tour.

Tonight I find out that one of my homeboys just proposed to his girlfriend. The first of our tight circle to take the plunge. The hardest partier of us all is finally settling down.

I'm absolutely mindblown right now but in the happiest way possible. I've attended several weddings already, but the happiness hits you so much harder when it's a close friend that you've grown up with for YEARS.

My boy is all growns up now.

Congratulations, Samir.

See you at the bachelor party. (;

What We Should Be Celebrating

"I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." -Martin Luther King Jr

To those that were giving me heat for my tweets last night, there's a difference between cheering "U-S-A! U-S-A!" and cheering "OSAMA'S DEAD!"

If you interpret that as me downplaying Osama's crimes, you're missing the point.

Yes, our country has forever changed because of him. Everyone knows that. Of all the tragedies that happen around the world that we tend to ignore, 9/11 opened our eyes. Nobody can deny that.

Should he have been killed? That doesn't matter because he's gone already; no point in bickering over something that cannot be changed.

Even though Al-Qaeda is a multi-headed monster and we may never be fully able to let our guard down like pre-9/11...the mastermind himself can no longer do us harm.

The point is, instead of rejoicing his death, let's focus on the lives that will be saved because of the events of yesterday. Let's remember those brave firefighters and soldiers that have made -- and continue to make -- great sacrifices for us. Let's realize that we are all still ALIVE, and being able to wake up to a new day, every day, is a blessing in itself.

Because life -- and everything that has successfully been done to protect it -- is what we should be celebrating.

—Mel

I am an ISFJ.

I took the Myers-Briggs Personality Test that @mpolinar tweeted today and HOLY CRAP, I'm just MINDBLOWN at how accurate the results are.

I actually took this personality test years ago and got the exact same result. But this time around, the results have a lot more meaning; the last few years have given me a much better understanding of what makes me tick.

Here are some of the results that really speak to me:

ISFJs are characterized above all by their desire to serve others, their "need to be needed."

...They are notoriously bad at delegating ("If you want it done right, do it yourself"). And although they're hurt by being treated like doormats, they are often unwilling to toot their own horns about their accomplishments because they feel that although they deserve more credit than they're getting, it's somehow wrong to want any sort of reward for doing work (which is supposed to be a virtue in itself).

In the workplace, ISFJs are methodical and accurate workers, often with very good memories and unexpected analytic abilities; they are also good with people in small-group or one-on-one situations because of their patient and genuinely sympathetic approach to dealing with others. ISFJs make pleasant and reliable co-workers and exemplary employees, but tend to be harried and uncomfortable in supervisory roles. They are capable of forming strong loyalties, but these are personal rather than institutional loyalties; if someone they've bonded with in this way leaves the company, the ISFJ will leave with them, if given the option.

Like most Is, ISFJs have a few, close friends. They are extremely loyal to these, and are ready to provide emotional and practical support at a moment's notice. (However, like most Fs they hate confrontation; if you get into a fight, don't expect them to jump in after you. You can count on them, however, run and get the nearest authority figure.)

Source: http://typelogic.com/isfj.html

...Their primary interest is in the safety and security of those they care about - their family, their circle of friends, their students, their patients, their boss, their fellow-workers, or their employees. Protectors have an extraordinary sense of loyalty and responsibility in their makeup, and seem fulfilled in the degree they can shield others from the dirt and dangers of the world.

Source: http://keirsey.com/4temps/protector.asp

Protectors value tradition, both in the culture and in their family.

This is the Guardian least likely to seek positions of leadership since they may feel uncomfortable in the lime-light. They are often seen as the people who do whatever is necessary to keep things running smoothly. They do their best to prevent problems.

Source: http://keirsey.com/personalityzone/wz19.asp

ISFJ will Love you by doing practical things and by saying "I love you", just don't expect them to initiate the verbal expression.

Is a natural for remembering and valuing birthdays, ceremonies, anniversaries, holidays, weddings, tradition, institutions.

Source: http://www.personality-power-for-everyday-living.com/Compatibility-test-isfj.html

What makes them feel best about themselves is when others show them their appreciation of the ISFJ. Consequently, the best gift that the partner of an ISFJ can give them is the expression of their love and appreciation.

ISFJs usually feel a strong need to talk problems and issues over with people before making decisions on their actions.

The love to observe people's reactions and emotions in situations, and so enjoy being around diverse types of people. The ISFJ usually remains reserved around others, and does not open up very much. However, since they have a need to talk things over with others in order to make decisions, they do really need some close confidantes in their life.

Source: http://www.personalitypage.com/html/ISFJ_rel.html

// thanks MP