It’s December! The holidays are approaching (or encroaching, or looming, depending on where you are in your preparations). It’s also the time of year when many of us like to show our gratitude or give back to our communities however we can. As a busy 2011 draws to a close, I  feel so grateful to my family and friends for all their support of my writing career, as well as to everyone on my publishing team who has been working so hard on behalf of my forthcoming book. I wouldn’t be where I am right now without all these fantastic people.

If you’re feeling as grateful and sentimental as I am this season, here are a couple of writerly “giving back” opportunities that you might want to check out. I’m participating in both of these.

This month, my favorite group writing blog, Beyond the Margins, is sponsoring their first annual Above & Beyond Award. This is your chance to nominate anyone in the writing community who has gone out of their way to help fellow writers. Between now and December 31st 2011, you can send in a 250-word description of how you know this person and how he or she has gone above and beyond the call of duty. The winner will be profiled on Beyond the Margins for all the world to see, and also win some sort of snazzy award.

Another organization I’d like to highlight this season is Boston GLOW (Girls Leadership and Organized Women). This phenomenally energetic group runs an initiative called IGNITE CHANGE. IGNITE CHANGE gives teen girls in underfunded Boston schools the opportunities to learn leadership and communication skills, and to use their voices to  promote local change. They raise thousands of dollars in scholarship money and run an annual essay contest for teen girls (I’ll be a panelist for this contest in 2012). They’ll be holding their fundraiser, IGNITE THE NITE, on January 12, 2012. I encourage local folks to come out and attend, and encourage anyone to check out the group’s website and consider donating funds or auction items for this important cause.

Do you know of other organizations or events where writers and readers can give back this season? I’d love to hear of more and add them to the list!