black Friday

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 in the process help change the world!

1. It’s a box revolution!

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If your home looks anything like the average persons, 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.

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.

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!

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

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

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Meet the search engine that also plants trees: Ecosia. It might be one of the easiest ways to help out your neighbours.

Every search you make on Ecosia gives about .5 cent toward the planting of a tree in Burkina Faso, in Africa.

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

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Freerice has donated over 98 BILLION grains of rice since its start in 2007. Just by teaching people.

Freerice has two goals.

1. Provide education to everyone for free.

2. Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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About the Author

Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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