The holiday season is a great time to look back at the year, and for those with the means to do so, to express gratitude with charitable gifts.

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Nearly full employment for much of the state. A thriving business climate. Growing median household income. And record low business vacancy rates. Yes, 2017 was a good year for many in the Puget Sound region. But certainly not for all.

Area housing costs continue to rise far beyond the reach of too many. Emergency shelters are opening their doors to a steady stream of people in need. Food banks struggle to keep up with demand.

Today, Christmas, and the rest of the holiday season is a great time to look back at the year, and for those with the means, to express gratitude through charitable giving.

Many nonprofits depend on the money they raise during December to fuel their organizations for the rest of the year. Lucky for them, Puget Sound donors are among the nation’s most generous.

Donors in the Seattle metropolitan area who itemize their taxes gave a total of $3.1 billion to charity anywhere in 2015, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, using the latest national data available. Those givers donated an average of 3 percent of their income, or about $5,825 in 2015.

All in all, people who live in the Pacific Northwest are known for their generosity. Among those who give generously are the readers of The Seattle Times. Last year, Times readers donated $1.67 million through the Fund For The Needy. Donations are coming in at a pace this year that could set another record in the fund’s 39th year.

Every dollar donated to the fund goes directly to 12 local nonprofits, which help people in the community with everything from food to housing to early learning and job training. The group of charities help thousands of children, families and senior citizens each year. Since 1979, Seattle Times readers have donated more than $22 million to the fund.

If you haven’t completed your holiday giving, or have been too busy to think about it, please consider making a late-December gift to charity.

While holiday lights are still filling the dark night with hope, pull out your credit card or wallet, and share whatever you can with the community.