Cities all over the world share the tradition of the Christmas village. Sure, not every street sparkles with blinking lights and colorful streamers, and not every country glows with the whiteness of snow.
In the southern hemisphere, of course, 25 December falls at the start of summer, so much of the world can celebrate Christmas by the sea.
As in Brazil, for example, where Santa Claus comes to Rio de Janeiro beach in Bermudas, and youngsters have fun making Christmas sculptures in the sand. Or in Singapore, where the mercury can hit 30 degrees in late December, and people escape the heat with seasonal shopping in air-conditioned malls.
At the Giant Lantern Festival in the Philippines just before Christmas, meanwhile, the play of light creates a magical mood that draws visitors from all over the world.
And in Austria, Christmas gives a knowing nod to Halloween, as Santa Claus’ wicked sidekick, Krampus, combs the streets for naughty children to punish. The tradition may seem a tad eccentric, but really it’s not far from the Italian Befana, the witch who gives coal – instead of presents – to those who have not behaved themselves.