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Drowning in empty boxes? This nonprofit's latest move helps you do good — and clear the clutter.

The holiday season can be a bit ... overwhelming. So here are some easy-peasy ways to spread some cheer.

Drowning in empty boxes? This nonprofit's latest move helps you do good — and clear the clutter.

They may not be playing "Frosty the Snowman" on the radio yet, but I'm already starting to feel the chill.

Am I the only one dreading the moment when "Let It Snow!" comes to life? *shudder*


That baby's expression perfectly sums up my feelings about being out in the cold. Photo by U.S. Army/Flickr.

As the holiday season rapidly approaches (when did December get here?), your wallet has probably already started getting thinner ... and thinner.

Luckily, there are some amazing opportunities for you to get into the holiday spirit without doing the "spending more money" or "going outside" thing.

AND no pants required! *\\o/*. Image via iStock.

1. It's a box revolution!

If your apartment looks anything like mine, you've got a growing city of cardboard boxes taking over a corner.

This is actually a selfie. You just can't see me. Because presents. Photo by PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay.

Sure, I did my holiday shopping early, which is great. But that stack of empty boxes from seemingly every website ever gets taller and taller.

No bueno.

Thankfully, there's an amazing service that lets you tackle the discarded-box problem overload all while giving back.

Goodwill teamed up with GiveBackBox.com to create a simple and genius solution:

Step 1: Take those empty boxes, throw in some household goods, clothing, or jewelry you've been meaning to get rid of.

Step 2: Go to GiveBackBox.com and print out a FREE shipping label.

Step 3: Someone will come pick up your package the next day and send your donation for processing!

Brilliant.

Goodbye clutter, helloooo organized closet! And you get an automated tax-deduction receipt, too!

GIF via "Sex and the City."

You get to recycle, get more space, and give back? It's a win-win-win situation!

Want to keep that giving-back high going (but, you know, still stay inside?) I got you:

2. Use this search engine to plant some trees while you're looking up holiday recipes.


Photo by Eleabarjavel/Pixabay.

3. Need to brush up on your vocabulary before those intense holiday party convos? Test yourself and help fight hunger.

Image via iStock.

Yay, Free Rice. Everyone will be so impressed at your vast lexicon!

4. Not feeling like being tested? Support autism research — or many other causes, including DONKEYS! — with a simple click.

I dunno about you, but I'm feeling pretty great that I got to help these cuties today. Photo by lanzeppelin0/Pixabay.

GreaterGood.com has a network of sites dedicated to various causes from hunger to animal welfare to literacy that lets anyone help raise money. Thanks to some generous sponsors, they make their donation to each cause a little bit bigger with each click they get.


5. Don't even want to look at a computer? You can donate your computer's downtime to help scientists do things like cure diseases.

Your computer will never feel lonely again! Photo by josecamoessilva/Flickr.

Projects like Folding@home, BOINC, the World Community Grid, and LHC@home harness unused computer power to help their orgs do tasks like understand proteins, analyze weather cycles, and even cure diseases! That's a pretty great thing to accomplish by doing, you know, nothing.

6. Need a break from the holiday hustle and bustle? Read a classic book that needs to be turned into an audiobook.

Photo by Darien Library/Flickr.

Use LibriVox to find public domain books you can read out loud while recording yourself. Donate your glorious reading to the site and voila! You just helped made a great literary classic available to folks who have difficulty reading.

7. And if you forgot someone on your list and have to buy a last-minute gift, make your purchase go further with iGive or Amazon Smile.

Photo by Simon/pixabay.

The first time you go to the site, you select the charity of your choice. Then a small percentage of every purchase made through that link is donated! Giving money without expending extra money? Love it.

Thanks to technology, we have more ways than ever to give back to our communities. You don't have to have a big bank account or a full gas tank to drive to the nearest soup kitchen. These small wins add up. Our collective power to change the world — even while we're in our pajamas — is kind of awesome.

So get out there stay right there and start doing some good!

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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