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Christmas around the world

Capitals around the world have lit up for Christmas, as the pictures above show.

Dresden, Saxony, GERMANY: The 576th so-called Striezelmarkt Christmas market in Dresden, eastern Germany. Until December 24, 2010, visitors of the Christmas market can buy the traditional Striezel or Stollen fruit loaf, hot punch, gingerbread and craftwork at around 240 market stands. Striezel (or Stollen), a fruit loaf made of yeast dough, almonds, raisins and other ingredients, is a culinary speciality of the eastern German town. Photo: Oliver Killig/Germany Out/AFP

Madrid, SPAIN: Cars drive under Christmas lights hanging above a street of Madrid. Streets of the capital are decked out in lights every year ahead of Christmas celebrations. Photo: Dominique Faget/AFP

Prague, CZECH REPUBLIC: A traditional dressed man playing trumpet on from the Old Town tower of Prague, above the traditional Christmas market set in front of the Tyn Church at Old Town Square. Photo: Michal Cizek/AFP

Washington, US: National Forestry personnel from Wyoming who escorted the Capitol Christmas tree to Washington DC, watching as it is was hoisted into place on the West Lawn on Tuesday in Washington, DC. The 2010 Capitol Christmas Tree is an Englemann spruce and was harvested from Bridger-Teton National Forest in the State of Wyoming. Schoolchildren from Wyoming will make 5,000 ornaments reflecting the theme of Wyoming- Forever West that will be used to decorate the tree. Photo: Tim Sloan/AFP

Strasbourg, FRANCE: Picture of Strasbourg cathedral and of a snow covered giant Christmas tree taken on November 29, 2010 in Strasbourg, eastern France. Photo: Frederick/AFP

Berlin, GERMANY: Shopkeepers arranging Christmas decorations in their lampstore window in Friedrichshain, an eastern neighbourhood of Berlin. The first Sunday in Advent saw many Berlin stores having extended opening hours for Christmas shoppers. Photo: Odd Andersen/AFP

London, UNITED KINGDOM: A family looking in the window of a store along Oxford Street in central London, as Christmas shopping increases. Retail sales in Britain rose by 0.5 per cent in October from September, snapping two months of falls, official data showed. Photo: Carl Court/AFP

Tokyo, JAPAN: Some 70 Santas recently graduated from a Santa Claus academy waving their hands as they march along a street in Tokyo's fashion district of Harajuku to research toys for the upcoming Christmas. Participants at the academy learn how to speak and walk like a "real" Santa Claus in preparation for Christmas Day. Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP

Sydney, New South Wales, AUSTRALIA: A family dressed up as Santa Claus sits on the edge of Darling harbour before taking part in the annual Santa Fun Run for charity in Sydney. More than 1,500 Santas were expected to suit up and take part in the race around Sydney Harbour to raise money for disabled and disadvantaged children. Photo: Drina Thurston/AFP

AUSTRALIA (2) People dressed up as Santa Claus stretch before the start of the annual Santa Fun Run for charity in Sydney. Photo: Drina Thurston/AFP

Naples, ITALY: Christmas figurines created by Italian artist Genny Di Virgilio, wearing masks referring to malodorous garbage accumulated in the streets of Naples, are displayed in a shop in downtown Naples. Italy faces EU legal action and massive fines failing waste management improvement around Naples amid an ongoing garbage crisis aggravated by the closure of regional dumps after fierce protests from local residents. Photo: Carlo Hermann/AFP

Strasbourg, Bas-Rhin, FRANCE: A giant Christmas tree during the opening of the Strasbourg Christmas market, which is the largest and one of the oldest French Christmas markets. With over 300 market chalets, Strasbourg attracts over 1.6 million visitors during the Christmas season. Beginning in 1570, Strasbourg opened its Christmas Market around its prestigious Cathedral. Since that time, its reputation in Europe has only increased, thanks to its merchant tradition as well as its spirit of tolerance and humanism that constitute its history and identity. Photo: Frederick Florin/AFP

Stockholm, Stockholms län, SWEDEN: A Christmas tree, claimed to be the tallest in the world by the organisers, is pictured in the Old Town of Stockholm, for a lighting test ceremony. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/AFP

Dresden, GERMANY: An illuminated ferris wheel spins at the Christmas markets next to the golden statue of Frederick Augustus, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, known as Augustus the Strong in Dresden, eastern Germany. Photo: Robert Michael/AFP

New York, US: Singer Kylie Minogue performs on stage at the Rockefeller Centre Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Centre yesterday in New York City. Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images/AFP

New York, US: The Rockefeller Centre Christmas Tree was lit yesterday in New York. Originally from Mahopac, New York, the 12-ton, 74-foot Norway Spruce is adorned with 30,000 environmentally friendly LED lights on more than five miles of electrical wire, and topped with a Swarovski crystal star. Photo: Stan Honda/AFP

Berlin, GERMANY: A woman taking a photograph of the illuminated trees on Berlin's Unter der Linden boulevard for the Christmas season. Photo: John MacDougall/AFP

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