What does Christmas mean to you? Ask that question to 100 people around the world and you may get 100 different answers.

From Chile to China, one-third of the global population celebrated the religious holiday Tuesday, while countless others enjoyed its secular charms in unique ways.

Of note in 2012: Pope Benedict led a sacred Christmas mass at Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, where he asked his 1.2 billion followers to pray for peace in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Christians gathered at the place where Jesus Christ is said to have been born in the Palestinian West Bank town of Bethlehem, while in Kabul, NATO-led troops ate a Christmas meal, sang carols and held a candle-lit service.

Millions of Christian families congregated at churches around the world, caught up with loved ones at home and awoke early to open presents under a tree. While many in the northern hemisphere hunkered down for a white Christmas, others south of the equator gathered outside under a blazing summer sun.

Here’s a look at some of the best moments captured on film this Christmas Day: