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To help others is something that is important all year round, but the holiday season is as good a time as any to kick your generosity into high gear, and there are many ways to give. Whether you’re always a generous person or the holiday season has sparked something in you that makes you want to do your part, you have numerous options for helping those in need — both at home in Düsseldorf and all around the world.

Whether you’re ready to jump out and help people in person or you’re looking to contribute resources and funds to those in need, helping your fellow citizens — of both Germany and the whole world — is a great way to spend your time and effort this holiday season. 

While you may find one method that works best for you, you might also fall in love with many. Here are a few things you can try to help others this year:


1. Donate your time to helping others

Various charities and organizations at the local and global level continually need support. Organizations like Anera are great — they’re German-funded, but work on a global scale to help people all around the world. You can also find specific goals or projects to donate to and spread out your donations so you can help various causes, both at home and abroad. It’s all about finding causes that speak to you and helping them make a difference. 

If you’re looking to do something small, why not start by emptying out your closets and donating some of your used goods to a local charity shop here around Düsseldorf.


2. Buy those holiday gifts here in Düsseldorf

During the holiday season, people shop and spend money at higher rates due to gift-giving and spreading love to people around them. Gifts for your loved ones aren’t the only thing to keep in mind this holiday season — you can spread joy by taking your shopping to local businesses, there are tons of local brands and products worth buying here in Düsseldorf alone!

Especially during the pandemic, where you spend your money matters — supporting small businesses and ethical business practices can ensure you’re voting for positive ethics with your euros.


3. Eat local and support restaurants

Just like shopping from small businesses in your community, thinking about where you buy your festive meals is especially important this season. Going to small, local grocery stores and markets can support the local economy, as can ordering festive meals from local restaurants (here’s a list of restaurants in the city that offer take away and delivery options).

The pandemic has hit restaurants in Germany especially hard, and extra orders over the holidays might be what keeps them afloat. Local businesses could use the support, so why not turn to them instead of larger chains or corporations?

Your holiday meal will taste even better when you know it’s helping your community.


4. Volunteering your time to help others

Maybe you’d like to spend your time volunteering and helping others this holiday season in addition to giving your euros and donating resources. In that case, you’re in luck, because you have multiple ways to use your time and efforts effectively to give back to your community.

You can start by considering what kind of organization or cause you’d like to give back to, there are a ton of local places you can do this (even as an English speaker). You can choose anything from churches and church-led programs to soup kitchens and youth services. You can truly let your passions guide you. You can even volunteer with multiple organizations or volunteer on a global scale if you’re looking to make a difference both abroad and at home.

Volunteering during the holiday season can also turn into a lifelong habit that sticks with you. Organizations and charities need people year-round, not just during the winter months. If you truly love it, you can make a difference as a sustained part of your life.


5. Spread that holiday cheer far and wide

One of the simplest yet most effective ways to bring joy to others and help people during the holidays is spreading kindness. Wave hello, offer a smile, and extend a holiday greeting. This also goes for those you may not see in person this year. For those friends and loved ones you’ll miss, you can send virtual holiday greetings to lift their spirits. A video or video chat can go a long way. For those who you’re able to still visit (within lockdown regulations), why not book a bus or train ticket to send them your love in person? 


The holiday season is all about giving back and being generous — no matter what that looks like for you. You can choose from many methods for how to help others, too. Whether you volunteer, vote with your money for a more ethical world, donate to causes you care about, or send a warm virtual greeting, you can give back to others this holiday season — in your own life and all around the world.

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