With Christmas just around the corner for the Western hemisphere and its arrival in the Eastern Hemisphere, people are spreading joy and cheer globally as Santa starts making his rounds. But how is Christmas celebrated around the world with the different depictions of Santa?
In the mix of all regional Christmas celebrations are traditions both new and old that reflect the culture of particular areas.
While some regional cultures maintain iconic ways of celebrating Christmas such as taking a picture with Santa at the mall, wearing “ugly” Christmas sweaters and going overboard with holiday lights and decorations, others have taken their own spin on Christmas with their own traditions such as jumping into a cold body of water dressed as Santa, drunkenly stumbling through city streets during SantaCon and even running dressed as Santa during a marathon.
Whether you want to call him Santa, or Father Christmas, celebrators of the Christmas holiday have clearly found many ways of breaking Santa out of the mold of merely dropping off presents under the Christmas tree and eating cookies and milk.
Take a look at Christmas celebrated in many different ways around the world in pictures below.
Revelers dressed as Santa Claus walk on the street during SantaCon in New York December 14, 2013. Pub crawlers dressed like Santa Claus took part in New York's annual SantaCon. The revelers wore Santa suits or red minidresses with white trim and nearly all had Kris Kringle hats topped with a white pom-pom. Reuters/Eduardo Munoz
Window cleaners dressed as Santa Claus and a reindeer pose for photographers during an event to celebrate Christmas at a shopping mall in Tokyo December 19, 2013. Reuters/Yuya Shino
Israeli-Arab Issa Kassissieh holds a Christmas tree distributed by the Jerusalem municipality while he poses for the media wearing a Santa Claus costume in Jerusalem's Old City December 22, 2013. Reuters/Baz Ratner
A man dressed as Santa Claus greets children and families waiting for holiday gifts and toys to be distributed to underprivileged children at the Fred Jordan Mission in Los Angeles December 21, 2013. Reuters/Phil McCarten
Virginie and Jessy Kazmierski pose in front of their decked-out home in Paillencourt, near Cambrai, northern France, December 21, 2013. For the past 14 years, from December 6 to January 2, the Kazmierskis have decorated their house for the festive season using 5,000 bulbs, 1,001 Christmas balls and 30 Santa Claus figurines. Reuters/Pascal Rossignol
People dressed in Santa Claus costumes row boats on the Venice canal December 21, 2013. Reuters/Manuel Silvestri
Inmates dressed as Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus prepare to participate in an event ahead of Christmas celebrations at Santa Monica female prison in Lima, December 20, 2013. Reuters/Enrique Castro-Mendivil
French politician Christian Estrosi (C), Mayor of Nice, takes part with people dressed in Santa Claus costumes in the traditional Christmas season swim in Nice, southeastern France, December 15, 2013. A hundred swimmers took part in the yearly event in the Mediterranean Sea waters which measured 16 degrees Celsius (60 degrees Fahrenheit). Reuters/Eric Gaillard
Revellers dressed in Santa outfits attend a parade in the southern Russia's city of Krasnodar, December 21, 2013. Reuters/Eduard Korniyenko
Hector Chacon, a Guatemalan firefighter dressed as Santa Claus, hugs a girl living under the Belize bridge, in Guatemala City December 22, 2013. Chacon has arranged every year for firefighters to dress as Santa Claus and give out toys during Christmas to children living in the poor neighborhood under the bridge, for 16 years. Reuters/William Gularte
Winter swimmers wearing Santa Claus hats swim in a partially frozen lake as others (back) line up to get into the icy water to celebrate Christmas at a park in Shenyang, Liaoning province December 24, 2013. Reuters
Children dressed in Santa Claus costumes pose in front of a sand sculpture featuring Jesus Christ (top) and Santa Claus created by Indian artist Sudarshan Pattnaik as part of Christmas celebrations on a beach in Puri, located in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, December 24, 2013. Reuters
Children dressed in Santa Claus costumes gather around a girl dressed up as Virgin Mary during Christmas celebrations at a church in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh December 23, 2013. Reuters/Ajay Verma
Lebanese Christians dressed as Santa Claus celebrate Christmas in Jiyeh village, south of Beirut December 24, 2013. Reuters/Sharif Karim