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Every year around the winter holiday season we run at least one editorial asking Evanstonians to keep local businesses in mind as they plan their holiday shopping, partying and dining plans.

This year the request comes earlier and perhaps more urgently but the message is the same. Take a look at what Evanston has to offer before you shop or dine elsewhere.

These businesses offer us unusual, delightful gifts as well as staples and necessities, provide entertainment and other cultural events, and cater to our varied tastes in food and drink.

They fix our cars and appliances, take care of out-of-town guests, clean our houses and clothes, fix our roofs, design or build or remodel our homes, hire our youth and keep our computers on line.

They support our local charities, fundraisers, school groups and sports teams throughout the year. Many of their owners and managers are civic leaders. The way to repay them is to patronize their businesses.

The frightening stagnation of the economy, free-falling markets and fear-driven actions and reactions worldwide reverberate at home (dare we say on Church Street, Dempster Street, Davis Street, Central Street and Howard Street, as well as Main Street?). We need these businesses to keep our community strong.

The RoundTable would like to publicly thank the many businesses that have supported us over the past 10 years. Our financial way of saying thank you is our pledge – made even before this latest meltdown – to keep our advertising rates the same for the upcoming year, rather than seek our annual modest increase.

We hope our loyal businesses will continue their support of us as we continue our support of the Evanston community.

So, as ever, whether you’re shopping or dining, think Evanston first.