This is the Christmas album sung by goats you never knew you needed.

We all know goats are musically gifted.

You may remember that viral video that really showed the goat's dedication to its craft with its take on Taylor Swift's "I Knew You Were Trouble." (And if you don't remember, please ... take a moment.)


GIF via TwoMagiicGamers/YouTube.

Breathtaking.

How could it get any better than this?

The Swedish branch of ActionAid has produced an album of popular Christmas songs — sung entirely by goats.

That's right, timeless classics from "White Christmas" to "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" are now available in goat form. The album is titled "All I Want for Christmas Is a Goat" and features eight tracks of festive bleating.

ActionAid hopes the hilarious album will bring more awareness to the organization and its work fighting poverty around the world.

This goat-y Christmas is actually related to Scandinavian tradition.

In the trailer for the album, a soothing Swedish voiceover begins by describing a lovely moment by the fire with "the Christmas goat." They're not just talking about the album here — it's a reference to a Yuletide tradition in Scandinavia and Northern Europe: the Yule goat.

Image via Trlkly/Wikimedia Commons.

The Yule goat is a tradition that's changed and morphed over time, but is generally thought to stem from Yuletide worship of the Norse god Thor and the two goats that pull his chariot through the sky. All kinds of traditions have stemmed from the Yule goat, including costumed wassailing, mischievous pranks, and decorative goat figures made out of bundled straw.

In the Swedish town of Gävle, a 13-meter-tall straw goat has been built in the town square every year since 1966.

Image by Tony Nordin/Wikimedia Commons.

The very first Gävle goat was mysteriously set on fire at midnight on New Year's Eve. Anonymous hooligans have burnt the giant goat roughly half of the years since.

So far this year's Gävle goat appears to be alive and well. Hang in there, buddy!

OK, but how do goats actually help fight poverty, again?

Farm animals like goats are incredibly useful to many people living in poverty. They can:

  • Produce food to eat like milk and meat
  • Provide milk to sell, adding income for other needs like medicine and school supplies
  • Improve the social status of women who own livestock
  • Act as loans or savings
  • Help fertilize crops with manure
  • Be used as a gift to create or strengthen social ties

Heifer International uses our friend the goat to give a specific example:

"In Nepal...the demand for goat meat significantly exceeds the country’s current production capacity [even] when it is supplemented by exports... So the key is to help Nepali farmers produce more and better goat meat, boosting supply and the market chain. [This] will help these farmers help their countrymen and women by...building their own economies as well as the country’s economy."

So, not only are goats a Scandinavian holiday icon, they're also mascots for an awesome approach to alleviating poverty. Kudos to you, goats.

Happy holidays, from the Yule goat to you and yours.

"All I Want for Christmas Is a Goat" is available on iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify.

All proceeds will go to ActionAid. Pretty worthwhile, if you ask me.

And for good measure, here's a great take on "Holy Night." Really take in those first few notes and enjoy:

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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