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December 28, 2009

Christmas 2009

Friday, the 25th, was Christmas Day, the Christian commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ, celebrated in many places around the world with prayers, singing, gift-giving and charity. Modern Christmas traditions originate from many backgrounds, combining several historic holidays and celebrations into one, the most well-known traditional story being Santa Claus, a jolly old elf who brings gifts to good children all over the world. Collected here are a handful of photographs of people observing the Christmas season this year. (34 photos total)

An Indonesian Christian holds a candle during a Christmas Mass at the Bethany Church in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia on December 24, 2009. (REUTERS/Sigit Pamungkas)

People light candles during a Christmas Eve mass in Alexander Nevski cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria on December 24, 2009. Bulgaria, unlike some other Orthodox countries, celebrates Christmas on December 25. (REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov) #

Henry Adamucci, 9 months, meets Santa Claus for the first time on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009, in New York. (AP Photo/Mike Adamucci) #

Workers install a Christmas tree in downtown Santiago, Chile on December 4, 2009. (REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado) #

Parliament Hill is lit up with snowflakes and festive colors in celebration of the holiday season in Ottawa, Ontario on Tuesday Dec. 15, 2009. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick) #

A choir member from the protestant Nanjing Christian Church reads her hymnal during a Christmas function in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, China on December 19, 2009. (REUTERS/Aly Song) #

A worker paints a New Year glass bauble at a factory in the village of Klavdiyevo, Ukraine December 16, 2009. (REUTERS/Gleb Garanich) #

The 2009 Christmas Tree displayed on St. Peter's square in front of St. Peter's Basilica at The Vatican and adorned with white and gold ornaments, is lit for the first time on December 18, 2009. The 90 year-old, 30-meter high tree weighing some 14 tons was offered by the Belgian region of Wallonie. A life-size nativity scene, displayed near the tree, was be unveiled on Christmas eve. (ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images) #

An L.A. Dream Center volunteer helps a boy choose his new bike at the L.A. Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California, December 20, 2009. Thousands of bicycles and toys were given away to families in need during The Dream Center Christmas in the City event. (REUTERS/Danny Moloshok) #

The sun rises behind trees at the Dartmoor Christmas Tree Farm on December 1 2009, near Ashburton, England. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images) #

A girl decorates a Christmas tree at her house in Baghdad, Iraq on December 22, 2009. (REUTERS/Saad Shalash) #

A Palestinian craftsman puts olive wood figurines into nativity scenes at a factory in the biblical West Bank town of Bethlehem, Monday, Dec. 21, 2009. Olive wood carving came to Bethlehem in the 4th century with the building of the Church of the Nativity, which is built around the grotto where tradition holds Jesus was born. Monks taught the locals the trade, and now many of the residents of Bethlehem and its surrounding areas either carve olive wood or sell wood carvings. (AP Photo/ Tara Todras-Whitehill) #

Nigerian pilgrims pray in the Grotto, where Christians believe the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus, at the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem December 24, 2009. (REUTERS/Ammar Awad) #

A boy sits on the ground holding a Santa Claus balloon at the Church of the Nativity, as Christians gather for Christmas celebrations on December 24, 2009 in Bethlehem, West Bank. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

Children dressed in Santa Claus outfits line up before a Christmas celebration at a kindergarten in Hanoi, Vietnam on December 24, 2009. (REUTERS/Kham) #

Homes in suburban Sydney, Australia are decorated with Christmas lights and illuminations in Matraville on December 21, 2009. (Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images) #

A pair of penguins investigate Christmas gifts at the zoo in the northern German city of Hanover on December 23, 2009. The zoo-keepers had wrapped the animal's food inside. (STEFAN SIMONSEN/AFP/Getty Images) #

A young boy looks at the website ( to check on the progress of Santa Claus on December 24, 2009 in Washington, DC. The North American Aerospace Defense Command, which monitors the North American airspace, on Thursday set up an official "Santa Tracker" on its website in seven languages to find the current location and upcoming stops of Santa and his storied reindeer. (KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images) #

Choristers from the Salisbury Cathedral Choir practice ahead of the services that will be held tomorrow in the Cathedral marking Christmas Eve on December 23, 2009 in Salisbury, England. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images) #

A man dressed as Santa Claus donates blood at an American Red Cross center Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (AP Photo/Tulsa World, Mike Simons) #

A Catholic worshiper from Zhujiajiao Catholic Church prays during a Christmas eve mass on the outskirts of Shanghai, China on December 24, 2009. (REUTERS/Aly Song) #

South Koreans wearing Santa Claus outfits pack and wrap Christmas gifts at the "Santa factory" on December 23, 2009 in Seoul, South Korea. The Santa Factory is a charity that prepares and delivers gifts to poor people. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images) #

Francisco Amador, a 58-year-old dentist, dressed as Santa Claus visits with a sick child at Hospital Escuela in Tegucigalpa, Honduras on December 23, 2009. (REUTERS/Edgard Garrido) #

A girl dressed as an angel smiles during the Christmas Eve mass inside a church in Valparaiso City, Chile on December 25, 2009. (REUTERS/Eliseo Fernandez) #

Faithful from Zhujiajiao Catholic Church pray during a Christmas eve mass on the outskirts of Shanghai, China on December 24, 2009. (REUTERS/Aly Song) #

A man dressed as Santa Claus plays with school children during Christmas celebrations at a school in Ahmadabad, India on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2009. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki) #

At the Pine Street Inn in Boston, Massachusetts, Cardinal Sean O'Malley serves a Christmas Eve luncheon to homeless men and women. (Boston Globe/John Tlumacki) #

Indonesian men in Santa Claus costumed pause together during a Christmas celebration in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia on Thursday, Dec. 24, 2009. (AP Photo/Trisnadi) #

Churchgoers attend a Christmas Eve mass at Berlin's Cathedral in Germany on December 24, 2009. (MICHAEL GOTTSCHALK/AFP/Getty Images) #

Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 22 crew members wearing festive holiday hats are pictured while speaking with officials from Russia, Japan and the United States from the Zvezda Service Module on Tuesday Dec. 22, 2009. In the front row, are NASA astronaut Jeffrey Williams (r), commander; and Russian cosmonaut Maxim Suraev, flight engineer. Pictured on the back row (l-r) are Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov, NASA astronaut T.J. Creamer and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi, all flight engineers. (AP photo/NASA) #

Snow falls on a British police officer back-dropped by a Christmas tree, outside 10 Downing Street, the official residence of Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in London, England on Monday, Dec. 21, 2009. (AP Photo/Akira Suemori) #

The center of the Dutch city of Gouda is lit by many candles during the 54th edition of Candlenight on December 15, 2009. Every year, Kaarsjesavond (night of candles) is celebrated on the second Tuesday of December at the Gouda marketplace and around the City Hall. (VALERIE KUYPERS/AFP/Getty Images) #

Romuald Madrakiewicz, 76, dressed as Santa Claus, plays with a curious child at a primary school in Kostowiec, Poland on December 15, 2009. (JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images) #

A tree decorated with festive lights glows at dusk, near Arosa, Switzerland on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009. (AP Photo/Keystone, Alessandro Della Bella) #