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November 28, 2011

Christmas approaches

The Christian religious holiday may not arrive until December 25, but secular and commercial festivities have been in full swing for almost a month already. Increasingly the non-religious aspects of the holiday are celebrated even in countries without a strong Christian tradition. Gathered here are images of preparations from around the world as it begins to look a lot like Christmas. -- Lane Turner (42 photos total)

Christmas angels and a Santa Claus ride on Segways in Berlin on November 3, 2011. Santa opened his job agency for students who want to work as Santa Claus or a Christmas Angels in the upcoming christmas season. (Wolfgang Kumm/AFP/Getty Images)

Jason and Emily Gray hold their two-year-old twins Lacey and Ashley under the the holiday lights at the annual Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in Boise, Idaho. (Darin OswaldIdaho Statesman/AP) #

A trumpeter plays during the traditional Christmas tree illuminating and opening of the traditional Christmas market in front of the Tyn Church at the Old Town Square on November 26, 2011 in Prague. (Michal Cizek/AFP/Getty Images) #

Shoppers enter a department store at midnight in Covington, La. Early signs point to bigger crowds at the nation's malls and stores as retailers like Macy's and Target opened their doors at midnight. (David Grunfeld/The Times-Picayune/AP) #

Balloons at an Oakland, Calif. retailer advertise sale prices to shoppers on November 24, 2011. The store opened before midnight to encourage early shopping. (Noah Berger/AP) #

Windy LaFerney (right) checks her e-mail while her son Caisen LaFerney, 4, plays an electronic game and Windy's mother Nicki Lawrence hangs out in their tent in front of a department store in Mesquite, Texas on November 21, 2011. They set up their tent late Sunday night so they could be the first people in the store early Friday morning for Black Friday shopping. (David Woo/The Dallas Morning News/AP) #

Father Christmas waves to the crowds during Harrods 26th Annual Christmas Parade on November 5 in London. (Steve Finn/Harrods via Getty Images) #

A 65-foot white fir tree is loaded onto a truck for its 20-day journey to Washington on November 5, 2011 after the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree was cut from the Stanislaus National Forest near Sonora, Calif. The tradition of "The People's Tree" began in 1964, and the job of providing it rotates among national forests. Come January, when the tree has served its purpose, it will be ground into mulch and spread across the Capitol gardens. (Jerry Snyder/Stanislaus National Forest/AP) #

German bicycle designer Didi Senft, also known as 'El Diablo', poses in front of a giant Christmas candle arch in the town of Storkow, Germany on November 24, 2011. (Thomas Peter/Reuters) #

In this image taken with a fish-eye lens, the traditional Regent Street Christmas Lights 2011 in central London's main shopping area are switched on as fireworks explode overhead on November 8, 2011. (David Parry/PA/AP) #

Forest worker Peter Otto carries two fir trees during the official opening of Christmas tree season in Stolpe, Germany on November 9, 2011. (Carsten Rehder/AFP/Getty Images) #

Workers paint Christmas trees made of twigs along a street in Manila November 10, 2011. (Romeo Ranoco/Reuters) #

A man dressed as Santa Claus is surrounded by local children giving him their Christmas wish lists as he arrives at the Santa Claus post office in Himmelpfort, Germany on November 10, 2011. Children can send their Christmas wish lists to Himmelpfort from around the world and receive a reply from Santa. (John Macdougall/AFP/Getty Images) #

Women reply to letters addressed to Father Christmas at a special Christmas post office in Himmelpfort, Germany on November 10, 2011. The post office has a special Christmas service, replying to mail addressed to Santa Claus that were sent by children from all over the world. Organizers expect to receive some 280,000 letters and wish lists from children writing in 17 languages. (Thomas Peter/Reuters) #

People use their mobile phones to take pictures of a Christmas tree during the annual Festival Arbol Gallo in Guatemala City November 12, 2011. During the festival Christmas trees are lit in Guatemala City and 32 other locations around the country. (Jorge Dan Lopez/Reuters) #

A Santa diver feeds whale shark "Hachibei" at the Hakkeijima Sea Paradise aquarium in Yokohama, on November 13, 2011. (Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images) #

Parents take pictures of children posing at a shopping mall in Hong Kong on November 19, 2011. (Laurent Fievet/AFP/Getty Images) #

Lebanese workers are hoisted by a crane as they decorate a Christmas tree with the slogan of "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" in English, French and Arabic in Beirut on November 21, 2011. (Hussein Malla/AP) #

Radio City Rockettes present s'mores frozen hot chocolate, their annual holiday season dessert in New York on November 21, 2011. The dessert is served in a goblet dripping in marshmallow fluff and filled with a blend of 14 cocoas, topped with honey graham cracker crumbs, mini marshmallows, swirls of chocolate sauce, whipped cream and garnished with a graham cracker cookie topped with a toasted marshmallow, chocolate shavings, a drizzle of chocolate sauce and a Radio City light-up stirrer. (Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images) #

People queue up to buy "El Gordo" Christmas lottery tickets in downtown Madrid November 22, 2011. (Andrea Comas/Reuters) #

Christmas shop windows are on display during the launch of the Christmas Illuminations at Le Printemps on November 9, 2011 in Paris. (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images) #

A shop window attracts customers in New York on November 21, 2011. Midtown retailers are known for splashy displays that have become as much a holiday tradition as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree or sidewalk Santas. (Bebeto Matthews/AP) #

People pass by the display of Gaga's Workshop at luxury department store Barneys in New York November 22, 2011. Barneys is teaming up with pop singer Lady Gaga for a Christmas holiday campaign. (Kena Betancur/Reuters) #

People take part in a ceremony to send a Christmas tree to the Vatican near Rakhiv, Ukrain on November 23, 2011. Each year a country from different parts of Europe donates a tree to be erected in St. Peter's Square. (Lozhef Kish/Reuters) #

A sheep wears a Christmas costume during a promotional event at the Everland amusement park in Yongin, South Korea on November 24, 2011. (Jo Yong-Hak/Reuters) #

Stands are illuminated at the Christmas Market in Frankfurt, Germany on November 23, 2011. Organisers expect around three million visitors. (Frank Rumpenhorst/AFP/Getty Images) #

Christmas lights illuminate Vienna's city center Am Graben on November 24, 2011. (Lisi Niesner/Reuters) #

A worker installs a steel Christmas tree outside a shopping mall in Beijing on November 25, 2011. (Andy Wong/AP) #

Michelle Obama walks with daughters Sasha and Malia (right) to receive the 2011 White House Christmas Tree at the White House in Washington, D.C. on November 25, 2011. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters) #

Fishermen pull a net early in the morning on November 7, 2011, during the annual fishing season at the Bosilecky pond near Trebon, Czech Republic in preparation for the domestic and European Christmas season sales. (Michal Cizek/AFP/Getty Images) #

Workers load Christmas trees into a lorry on the Duncombe Park Estate in Helmsley, England on November 25, 2011. (Nigel Roddis/Reuters) #

Christmas snow domes on display at the traditional Christmas market at the Old Town in Nuremberg, Germany on November 25, 2011. (Matthias Schrader/AP) #

A tourist looks at a reindeer display for Christmas celebrations in front of the skyline of the financial district in Singapore on November 26, 2011. (Joel Boh/Reuters) #

Franciscan monks take part in a ritual mass ceremony of the Franciscan Fathers at Santa Cathrina Church at the compound of the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank City of Bethlehem on November 26, 2011. (Musa Al-Shaer/AFP/Getty Images) #

Visitors look at an unusual Christmas crib in a mall by architect Fernando Martinez on November 26, 2011 in Tegucigalpa. The crib depicts the violence wave in the country - Honduras suffers the highest murder rate in the world - as well as the deaths of Osama Bin Laden and Muamar Gaddafi. (Orlando Sierra/AFP/Getty Images) #

Fireworks explode around a Christmas tree during the lighting ceremony at Rodrigo de Freitas Lake in Rio de Janeiro on November 26, 2011. (Andre Durao/Reuters)#

Santa Claus trainees learn how to speak and walk in preparation for Christmas Day at the "Santa Claus Academy" in Tokyo on November 27, 2011. (Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images)#

A vendor serves hot wine at the traditional Christ Child market near Strasbourg Cathedral in Strasbourg, France on November 27, 2011. The oldest French Christmas market has been held annually since 1570. (Vincent Kessler/Reuters) #

Cameron Ganno gets a greeting from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer while being held by Kim Werth during the 59th Annual Quincy Christmas Parade in Quincy, Mass. on November 27, 2011. (Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff)#

Santa Claus waves from the roof of Sydney's Queen Victoria Building on November 28, 2011. (Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images)#

Brothers Beckman, Preston, and Westley Giang are transfixed by holiday lights on November 27, 2011 at their house in Brea, Calif. (Mindy Schauer/Orange County Register/AP)#

Penguins take a walk at the Hakkeijima Sea Paradise aquarium-amusement park complex in Yokohama, Japan on November 13, 2011. (Itsuo Inouye/AP)#


 
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