Evanston is getting ready for the holidays. Over the next few weeks Fountain Square will be graced with a Christmas (or, euphemistically, a “holiday”) tree, a menorah and a Kwanzaa kinara. Whether these are religious symbols is not the subject here – they are simply reminders that the season to celebrate light, love and humanity will soon be upon us.

Since the season of giving is also the season of buying, we again urge Evanston residents to patronize local businesses. These shop owners, restaurateurs, musicians, actors, painters, photographers, singers, ceramicists, wood-workers, jewelry-makers and other crafts-persons spend their time, money and passion to offer their works and services to  the public. Evanston may not have everything that everyone wants to buy, give or receive. But we owe it to our local merchants, artists and business people to look here first. From Central Street on the north to Howard Street on the south – and the Noyes Street, downtown, Chicago/Dempster, West Village (Church/Dodge) and Main/Chicago shopping districts in between, there is a lot to see.  Shop here first. Dine and celebrate here first. We’ll all be glad you did.