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In Pictures: Christmas gets under way around the world after year of trials

With travel, shopping and public events all affected by the pandemic, Christians were finding new ways of marking the birth of Jesus Christ.

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A Palestinian vendor sells balloons in Manger Square, adjacent to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem where events have been scaled down because of the pandemic (Nasser Nasser/AP)

A Palestinian vendor sells balloons in Manger Square, adjacent to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem where events have been scaled down because of the pandemic (Nasser Nasser/AP)

A Palestinian vendor sells balloons in Manger Square, adjacent to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem where events have been scaled down because of the pandemic (Nasser Nasser/AP)

Christmas celebrations were getting under way in some parts of the world, while others dashed home or did some last-minute shopping in a year blighted by coronavirus.

Midnight Mass in Indonesia was celebrated while a coronavirus-themed Christmas tree in Vietnam provided a reminder of what has been a difficult year for believers and non-believers alike.

Road blocks were in place in Italy to prevent large family gatherings while a scaled-down Midnight Mass was to be held at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, considered to be Jesus Christ’s birthplace, while the Vatican was also preparing to mark the feast.

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A staff member sweeps to clean the church compound on the eve of Christmas in Gauhati, India (Anupam Nath/AP)

A staff member sweeps to clean the church compound on the eve of Christmas in Gauhati, India (Anupam Nath/AP)

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A staff member sweeps to clean the church compound on the eve of Christmas in Gauhati, India (Anupam Nath/AP)

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A shop window adorned with Christmas decorations in Milan, Italy (Luca Bruno/AP)

A shop window adorned with Christmas decorations in Milan, Italy (Luca Bruno/AP)

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A shop window adorned with Christmas decorations in Milan, Italy (Luca Bruno/AP)

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Pedestrians pass a mural of Jesus in a market popular for Christmas shopping in Lima, Peru (Martin Mejia/AP)

Pedestrians pass a mural of Jesus in a market popular for Christmas shopping in Lima, Peru (Martin Mejia/AP)

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Pedestrians pass a mural of Jesus in a market popular for Christmas shopping in Lima, Peru (Martin Mejia/AP)

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Italian carabinieri officers check vehicles in front of St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on Christmas Eve (Cecilia Fabiano/AP)

Italian carabinieri officers check vehicles in front of St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on Christmas Eve (Cecilia Fabiano/AP)

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Italian carabinieri officers check vehicles in front of St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on Christmas Eve (Cecilia Fabiano/AP)

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Indonesian Catholics wearing face masks to protect against coronavirus attend a Christmas Mass service at a church in Bali, Indonesia (Firdia Lisnawati/AP)

Indonesian Catholics wearing face masks to protect against coronavirus attend a Christmas Mass service at a church in Bali, Indonesia (Firdia Lisnawati/AP)

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Indonesian Catholics wearing face masks to protect against coronavirus attend a Christmas Mass service at a church in Bali, Indonesia (Firdia Lisnawati/AP)

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A Christmas tree is on display on a street in the Shar-e-Naw ditrict of Kabul, Afghanistan (Mariam Zuhaib/AP)

A Christmas tree is on display on a street in the Shar-e-Naw ditrict of Kabul, Afghanistan (Mariam Zuhaib/AP)

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A Christmas tree is on display on a street in the Shar-e-Naw ditrict of Kabul, Afghanistan (Mariam Zuhaib/AP)

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A coronavirus-themed Christmas tree decorated with masks and rubber gloves is displayed in Hanoi, Vietnam (Hau Dinh/AP)

A coronavirus-themed Christmas tree decorated with masks and rubber gloves is displayed in Hanoi, Vietnam (Hau Dinh/AP)

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A coronavirus-themed Christmas tree decorated with masks and rubber gloves is displayed in Hanoi, Vietnam (Hau Dinh/AP)

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Children play near a Christmas Nativity scene, with the national Christmas tree standing in the background, in Cathedral Square in Vilnius, Lithuania (Mindaugas Kulbis/AP)

Children play near a Christmas Nativity scene, with the national Christmas tree standing in the background, in Cathedral Square in Vilnius, Lithuania (Mindaugas Kulbis/AP)

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Children play near a Christmas Nativity scene, with the national Christmas tree standing in the background, in Cathedral Square in Vilnius, Lithuania (Mindaugas Kulbis/AP)

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People wearing Santa Claus hats take part in a Christmas Eve swim in Lake Leman at Bains des Paquis, in Geneva, Switzerland (Martial Trezzini/AP)

People wearing Santa Claus hats take part in a Christmas Eve swim in Lake Leman at Bains des Paquis, in Geneva, Switzerland (Martial Trezzini/AP)

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People wearing Santa Claus hats take part in a Christmas Eve swim in Lake Leman at Bains des Paquis, in Geneva, Switzerland (Martial Trezzini/AP)

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A woman wears a Christmas-patterned mask to protect against the spread of the coronavirus in Taipei, Taiwan (Chiang Ying-ying/AP)

A woman wears a Christmas-patterned mask to protect against the spread of the coronavirus in Taipei, Taiwan (Chiang Ying-ying/AP)

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A woman wears a Christmas-patterned mask to protect against the spread of the coronavirus in Taipei, Taiwan (Chiang Ying-ying/AP)

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A festively decorated Christmas tree stands at the harbour of Greetsiel, in Germany, next to the illuminated crab cutters (Sina Schuldt/AP)

A festively decorated Christmas tree stands at the harbour of Greetsiel, in Germany, next to the illuminated crab cutters (Sina Schuldt/AP)

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A festively decorated Christmas tree stands at the harbour of Greetsiel, in Germany, next to the illuminated crab cutters (Sina Schuldt/AP)

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Pakistani Christians wear Santa Claus suits during a celebrations for Christmas, in Lahore, Pakistan (KM Chudary/AP)

Pakistani Christians wear Santa Claus suits during a celebrations for Christmas, in Lahore, Pakistan (KM Chudary/AP)

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Pakistani Christians wear Santa Claus suits during a celebrations for Christmas, in Lahore, Pakistan (KM Chudary/AP)

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