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That’s 7.761 square miles of holiday.

Again this year, we urge everyone to avail themselves of all Evanston has to offer for the holidays. Snowflakes and wreaths adorn many light poles. The Christmas tree in Fountain Square has been lighted; next Thursday, Dec. 10, the menorah will also be lighted there, and, for Kwanzaa, which begins Dec. 26, the kinara. Concerts and plays, art exhibits, holiday markets, retail shops and restaurants and bars abound. Many shops are offering discounts, refreshments and other enticements.

Grocery stores are stocking up on holiday staples, bakers and candy-makers stand by to sweeten the season.

Free evening and weekend parking in the downtown garages should attract shoppers, diners, movie-goers and others. With the bustling downtown and the charming and unique shopping districts- Howard Street, Main/Chicago, Chicago/Dempster, Noyes Street, Central Street and West End – Evanston combines the feel of a small town, with personal service and friendly establishments, and the sophistication of a city, with distinctive gifts and cuisine.

Shopping and dining in Evanston offer a respite from the blaring music and annoying crowds of a shopping mall. And the money stays here, not just helping the business owners but adding to the sales, liquor and home-rule tax revenues.

Giving Tuesday is not the only time to donate to social service, arts, medical, religious, educational or other charities. Those who missed or skipped it will surely find their contributions welcome. Without a state budget, many of these organizations are already pared down to essentials – or worse, having to do without.

Rampant commercialism and saccharine television specials have become hallmarks of the season, and  sometimes it seems to be all getting and spending. But moderation is preferable to “Bah! Humbug!”

Most of us want to be a part of the end of the year festivities.

We want to spend money on stuff.

We want to pick out meaningful gifts for friends and family; we want to host or go to a party, attend a play or concert, have dinner at a restaurant.

We want to beat back the Christmas overload, the holiday blahs and the wintertime blues with candles, wine, good food and good conversation.

We want our town to be festive and thriving.

We want to support our local businesses by shopping here as much as we can.

We want to donate to our excellent social service, educational and arts organizations, our churches and synagogues and hospitals.

We want everyone to be safe and warm.

That’s not asking too much, is it?