Around the globe people prepare for the Christmas holiday season with Pope Frances at the Vatican offering wishes for a truly Christian Christmas of joy, hope and fraternity.
In war-torn Syria, Christians in Damascus prepare treats for the holiday, while in Russia parts of Moscow's Red Square are decked out for the season as children enjoy festive merry-go-round rides.
In Europe, Germany's famous Dresden Christmas Market is up and running for the season with children enjoying the traditional German holiday cake Stolen.
The ceremonially launch of the Christmas season came late last month, when Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custodian of the Holy Land, arrived at the Nativity Church revered as Jesus' birthplace, to offer prayers and support.
In Krakow, Poland, ingenious and intricate towers and cathedrals fill the central square as the annual nativity scene competition takes place.
A very different scene in Guatemala as residents in the colonial city of Antigua in the central highlands came out in droves to begin their holiday season with Satan on parade with devil figures later set ablaze as part of a tradition to dispel evil.
In Madrid, tickets are on sale for the traditional Christmas Lottery known as the "Fat One," with people buying tickets with the hope of starting the New Year a bit richer.
Earlier this month, thousands of Christians lined the streets of Nazareth to watch the lighting of a Christmas tree in the city revered as the home town of Jesus and the Virgin Mary.
In Mexico, families gather to smash colorful pinatas to ward off sins and scoop up rewards as part of their Christmas traditions.
In Germany, the Nuremberg Christmas market, one of Germany's oldest, has kicked off the advent season in traditional Bavarian style.
In Bolivia, Christmas in on parade where even the Grinch is getting into the holiday spirit. And finally, in Athens, Greece, the naughty and the nice are hoping Santa will make their Christmas wishes come true.