Christmas around the world

(AP) - There are many traditions we can expect during Christmas. A message from the U.S. President is one. Barack Obama's weekly internet address, in which he and First Lady Michelle wished families across the country a Merry Christmas, reminded Americans to think of the troops overseas.

"Merry Christmas, everybody. Michelle and I just wanted to take a moment today to send greetings from our family to yours."

A message from the Pope is another. The head of the Catholic church, Pope Benedict the Sixteenth, wished for lasting peace in Somalia, and the Ivory Coast and urged Palestinians and Israelis to live - side by side - and in peace.

"May the light of Christmas shine forth anew in the Land where Jesus was born, and inspire Israelis and Palestinians to strive for a just and peaceful coexistence."

Pope Benedict's message was delivered in 65 languages.

However, some took a less predictable approach to Christmas. Members of the Berlin Seals swimming club gave up the warmth of their living rooms and hacked a hole in the icy Orankesee Lake in the German capital.

The club has around 70 winter swimmers, and Christmas won't get in the way of their routine.

In Australia, Christmas is equally unconventional. Beachgoers wearing reindeer antlers or even dressing up in Santa outfits, admired a decorated Christmas tree planted in the sand or enjoyed the warm sea.

No matter the weather, people the world over are celebrating Christ's birthday in their own way.

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