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.