This year my son's school raised more than ever before with its Christmas raffle.
Usually the school fair is the big fundraiser, but it had to be scrapped this year and yet the tally was more than last year's fair and raffle combined.
I'm not saying this out of any sense of personal pride - I'm something of a lapsed PTA member - but it stunned me, that at a time when so many families are struggling financially, people felt more compelled than ever to donate to the running of the school.
Local businesses, many of them facing an uncertain future, donated prizes with unfettered generosity, the whole community pulled together.
The same story has played out across the region over recent weeks and months.
St Oliver Plunkett School in Belfast sits in an area of high socio-economic deprivation and every year the school community collects food for Christmas hampers for those in need in the surrounding area.
Usually they collect enough for around 60 hampers - this year enough was donated for nearly 200.
It's been a bleak year, but in the darkness, it's been the kindness and generosity of people that has shone brightest.
The principal in Ballymena lending his own laptop to the dad-of-four struggling to home-school his kids, the out-of-work taxi driver in Tyrone volunteering to do deliveries free-of-charge to those self-isolating, Belfast bus driver Alec Bailey taking a detour to a nursing home so his passenger Jacqueline Mason (who'd got on the wrong bus by mistake) could see her elderly mum Eileen.
When a County Down woman left an emotional post on Twitter about new restrictions meaning she wouldn't be able to get home from Scotland to see her 82-year-old father this Christmas, she was instantly inundated with replies from people offering to do her dad's shopping or to drop a Christmas dinner round for him.
And earlier in the year, the public showed their appreciation of NHS heroes in the frontline of the coronavirus battle with the Thursday night clap for carers, which was a huge success.
And in recent days, members of the Sikh community (below) have been cooking up meals for stranded lorry drivers in Kent.
These stories have been the beautiful silver lining to a heartbreaking year. The dialled wrong numbers that turned into socially distanced friendships, the gifts left on doorsteps and the desire to help those in need. It was recently revealed that searches online for 'random acts of kindness' have more than tripled since this time last year.
It has been an unspeakable stressful year for those in our hospitality trade, but when it looked like disadvantaged kids could be left without hot meals, a wave of restaurateurs rushed to offer their assistance, no questions asked.
Throughout the year, local take-aways have sent much-needed care packages of food to over-stretched and under-resourced hospital workers.
In Belfast there's a white van man who has spent the year picking up the tab for other people's Happy Meals in the queue for the Drive-thru.
These stories don't always make the headlines but they have been as much a part of the year as the grim statistics, anger and fear.
It's undeniably been a hard year. Many of us are ending it without loved ones, people are ill, anxious and depleted. There is understandable rage at what could have been done differently and we're all worried about what might lie ahead. Hopes have repeatedly been raised and dashed.
But it's all the more reason why we need to remind ourselves of the goodness in people. A video was doing the rounds online this past week of a couple in Belfast taking a moment to dance in the streets serenaded by a busker, and it made me smile.
It was a little reminder of how here, perhaps more than many places, we have a resilience and an ability to dance through the dark. That it's often our worst of times that brings out the best in people.