Good Monday morning, Evanston.

The weekend’s Christmas celebrations are over – in Richard Cahan’s photo above, the faithful sing Silent Night at the First Congregational Church of Evanston’s Christmas Eve service – and today is the end of Hanukkah and the start of Kwanzaa. Both holidays will be honored at an 11 a.m. ceremony at Fountain Square.

Author, columnist and Evanstonian Maudlyne Ihejirika, who also serves on the RoundTable’s advisory board, writes about her family’s Kwanzaa traditions and why they take this moment to celebrate African American heritage, storytelling and values. And a reminder that the city’s annual Kwanzaa Festival is from 1 to 4 p.m. today at the Robert Crown Community Center.

Credit: Tamima Itani

Also today, you might hear some unusual bird calls: “Two chickadees on that bush!” “Blue jay flying over!” “A flock of robins!” The Evanston North Shore Bird Club’s annual Christmas Bird Count, part of the National Audubon Society’s nationwide effort, takes place Dec. 26, no matter the weather. Libby Hill explains how the count is performed and why its data is so important.

What does it mean to be a member of the RoundTable?

We get that question often – and it’s especially relevant during our fall NewsMatch fundraising drive, when we ask Evanstonians to support our work.

The RoundTable has put its trust in the community to sustain our work. In return, we promise to work every day to earn your trust through our journalism. We’re in this together.

Time’s running out to become a member during the RoundTable’s NewsMatch campaign, where every dollar you contribute is doubled by generous local and national funders. There are just a few days left – chip in now!

Contribute $150 or more to the campaign, and you’ll receive Evanston Scenes, a special collection of 10 greeting cards featuring the award-winning photography of RoundTable photographers Richard Cahan and Joerg Metzner!

Congratulations to last week’s raffle winner. Maribeth will be receiving a pound of chocolate from Belgian Chocolatier Piron, Inc.!

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