Window cleaners dressed as Santa Claus and a reindeer during an event to celebrate Christmas at a shopping mall in Tokyo on Dec. 19.
A Bolivian squirrel monkey gets a special treat of sultanas and wax worms that were set out on a Christmas tree at London Zoo.
Around 6,000 people dressed as Santa Claus and his elves run a “mini-marathon” through the streets of Madrid on Dec. 14 to promote festive cheer as the country tries to emerge from a two-year recession.
Blind children wait to perform during Christmas celebrations at the Devnar School for the Blind in Hyderabad, India on Dec. 18.
Members of the school choir of the Terra Nova private school perform at a Christmas market at the Werdmuehleplatz square in Zurich on Dec. 19.
With a little help from elf Lauren Babashanian, right, Noah Golive, 5, tells Santa that he wants a Thomas Train (The Little Engine that Could) for Christmas during his live video chat with Santa via iPad on Dec. 19 at Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters in Norfolk, Va. Noah is waiting for his surgery. Children hospitalized during the holidays don’t have the opportunity to see Santa in-person at the malls, but are able to see Santa via iPads.
Pope Francis delivers his message during the Angelus noon prayer from his window overlooking St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Dec. 8.
A diver dressed as a Santa Claus gestures to visitors as part of upcoming Christmas celebrations at Aquaria KLCC underwater park in Kuala Lumpur.
A man portraying Santa Claus talks to six-month-old Aubree-Jane Halladay, of Scarborough, Maine at a mall on Dec. 19.
An amateur spider keeper, Yegor Konkin, 24, dressed as Santa Claus with a venomous Phormictopus antillensis spider placed on his face, prepares for Christmas and New Year performances at his parents’ apartment in the town of Minusinsk, Russia.
Penguins wearing Santa Claus and Christmas tree costumes during a promotional event for Christmas at an amusement park in Yongin, Seoul.
Children look at a wall of condolence after a Christmas Party celebrating the life of former South African president Nelson Mandela at a museum in Qunu, South Africa, on Dec. 12.
A Christmas tree with light decorations spelling the word “peace” in different languages is seen at the end of Rome’s Via del Corso.
Reports say that Rome’s Mayor Ignazio Marino announced that the rainbow lights, a symbol of peace, in Via del Corso are dedicated to Nelson Mandela who died in Johannesburg on Dec. 5.
The National Christmas Tree at the White House in the background, with the flag at half staff to honor the death of South Africa’s former President Nelson Mandela on Dec. 6.
A public bus driver dressed as Santa Claus gives a passenger directions on Dec. 18 in Taipei, Taiwan.
Dee Sinclair, portraying Santa Claus, reads a story to children in Atlanta. “Kids don’t see color. They see a fat guy in a red suit giving toys,” said Sinclair, 50.
A meerkat named Bob inspects a present left near a makeshift Christmas tree at Taronga Zoo in Sydney on Dec. 20.
Dressed as Santa Claus, Mark Tate pretends to sleep as he poses for photos with 4-week-old Leilani Mejico at a mall in Cerritos, Calif. on Dec. 17.
Baby penguins swim inside the SANCCOB - the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds - after they were abandoned by their parents on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa on Dec. 3.
During the Christmas time SANCCOB receives hundreds of African penguin chicks abandoned by molting parents. Over Christmas one can adopt a African penguin chick for $50, with the money paying for its rehabilitation and release back into the wild.
A shop worker decorates the street with red lanterns in celebration of Christmas in Shanghai on Dec. 19.
Christmas, while not traditionally celebrated, is gaining popularity in the communist country with retailers capitalizing on the holiday spirit to boost their end of the year sales
Children stand beside an improvised Christmas tree decorated with empty cans and bottles in the town of Tanuan in central Philippines which was ravaged by super typhoon Haiyan.
Children play in fake snow in front of the Dearing family home during Dearing Dazzle, a light show that is synchronized with Christmas music in Conroe, Texas.
This is the last year the Dearing family will host the light show consisting of 75,000 lights.
Troops eat lunch near a nativity scene at the Guantanamo Bay naval base on Dec. 18. Some troops have complained that nativity scenes and Christmas decorations at two dining facilities on the base improperly show a preference of one religion over others.
A folk singer and a man dressed as Santa Claus perform for underprivileged children during a sit-in demonstration demanding basic human rights in Kolkata on Dec. 19.
The first family, from left, Malia Obama, President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, and Sasha Obama, join children dressed like elves at the National Building Museum in Washington on Dec. 15.
The first family attended the taping of the annual 2013 Christmas in Washington, celebrating its 32nd year anniversary.
Samira, 6, looks for customers as she sells Christmas hats at a traffic intersection in Cairo, Egypt on Dec. 12.
Women take pictures in front of a Santa Claus figure outside a shopping mall ahead of Christmas in Taiyuan, Shanxi province.
Christmas decorations and lights at the home of the Duszenko family in Polkowice, southwestern Poland.
Since 1999, the Duszenko family has decorated their house and garden before Christmas. This year, they used around 52,000 lights for the decorations.
Pakistani Christian boys decorate a Christmas tree on the roof of their house in Islamabad on Dec. 16.
Santa Claus has his beard pulled during a visit to Del Norte Elementary in Roswell, New Mexico after being delivered to the school via a TriState CareFlight helicopter on Dec. 19.
A typhoon survivor decorates a Christmas tree amidst the rubble of houses destroyed by super typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban city in central Philippines.
Life-size cartoon characters, from L-R, Samsam, Pink Panther, Raving Rabbit (Lapin Cretin) and Smurfette on the stairs of the Elysee Palace after Christmas party in Paris on Dec. 18
Racy sex toys hang from the “Tree of Pleasure” in downtown Milan, Italy, before they were removed from the tree.
In an order to remove the provocative ornaments, city officials said that the Christmas season, “qualifying as a holiday for children and families, requires sobriety in urban decorations,’’ in particular when using “traditional symbols that distinguish Christmas.”
Buddhist children wearing Santa Claus costumes sing Christmas songs at the Chogye temple in Seoul, South Korea on Dec. 18.
Courtney Boe, left, Christina Perez, center, and Mandi Ridgell, members of the singing group “The Victory Belles,” modeled after the WWII era group The Andrew Sisters, get ready in their dressing room before rehearsing for their upcoming Christmas show, “A Swingin’ Christmas,” at the Stage Door Canteen at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans.
A pro-European Union activist puts up portraits of protesters beaten by riot police on a symbolic Christmas tree during an anti-government rally outside the office of the richest man of Ukraine Rinat Akhmetov, in Kiev, Ukraine on Dec. 18.
A man carries turkeys in a market selling poultry at the Ate district in Lima on Dec. 23. Peruvians traditionally cook turkey for Christmas Eve.
A Palestinian works on a wooden sculpture at his souvenirs workshop near the Church of the Nativity, traditionally believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Dec. 23.
FC Barcelona’s soccer Lionel Messi “caganers” figurines are seen in a pottery stall in Torroella de Montgri, near Girona.
Catalans hide “caganers” or defecators, in Christmas Nativity scenes to let friends hunt for them during Christmas celebrations. The “caganers”, which symbolize fertilization of the earth, are believed to bring prosperity and luck for the coming year.
Paul Moore, left, dressed as Santa Claus, looks over a bag of toys with Dante Wright, 5, as Moore hands out holiday gifts to children at the Philadelphia Police Department’s 12th district station on Dec. 18.
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 on Dec. 23.
People visit the Richards’ home illuminated with 502,165 miniature lights in Canberra.
The Australian family has reclaimed their Guinness World Record by stringing up more than half a million Christmas lights around their suburban home.
A man dressed as Santa Claus waits for guests to join him for a photograph during a Christmas party in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The extravagant city is embracing the trappings of Christmas in a way that would be unthinkable in more conservative parts of the Muslim world.
A Santa Claus is locked in an enclosure in Prague’s Zoo. Many Czechs consider the red-suited Santa an unwelcome species that threatens the infant Jesus, who is traditionally believed to bring presents on Christmas Eve.
A child who wanted an action figure-themed piñata stands upset, next to the traditional Christmas piñata his mother chose in Mexico City on Dec. 21.
The traditional Mexican Christmas piñata is a decorated clay pot that must have seven cones to represent the seven deadly sins.
An Orthodox priest walks inside the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Dec. 23.