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Holiday Best Bets: Why a Christmas tree?

Explore the origins of one of the most cherished symbols of the season at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, when local historian Jon Anderson presents 17th Century New World Mission Christmas Traditions at Liverpool Public Library.

Anderson, the former volunteer operations committee chairman at Sainte Marie Among the Iroquois, provides a glimpse into French traditions including the Réveillon, the Tree of Peace and the Christmas Tree.

In 1656, the French-Jesuit Missionaries ventured into the New World as ambassadors, promoting the peace and trade interests of France while advancing the ideals of the Christian faith, and established Sainte Marie among the Iroquois, a mission along the shores of Onondaga Lake.

Anderson, who often portrays a French missionary and sometimes Father Christmas himself, is the former president of Friends of Historic Onondaga Lake and was site manager at Ste. Marie in 1985.

The Dec. 8 program is free and open to the public. Liverpool Public Library is located at 310 Tulip St, Liverpool; 457-0310; lpl.org.

Singing to feed all

The Syracuse men’s a cappella barbershop singers, the Harmony Katz, will host a benefit concert for Food Bank of Central New York at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, at the West Genesee High School Auditorium, in Camillus. The show is titled “We Sing to Feed Them All.”

Tickets cost $10 per person for adults and $5 for children. An afterglow cast party in the school’s cafeteria follows the concert. Admission for the cast party costs $8 and includes pizza, wings, ziti, antipasto and beverages.

The 42-member Harmony Katz raised hunger awareness during last year’s show and entertained a full auditorium with 12 songs while raising $4,000 for the Food Bank.

Food Bank of Central New York serves as the primary supplier for 273 emergency food programs in 11 counties of New York state, distributing 11,550,177 pounds of food last year; foodbankcny.org.

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