Advent is a fun and exciting time to be in Berlin. The shopping districts are ablaze with Christmas lights, and local residents and tourists alike fill up on mulled wine and bratwurst.
Christmas begins in Rome with the inauguration of a giant Christmas tree and a larger-than-life Nativity scene in St Peter's Square, as part of the Vatican's seasonal traditions.
'Tis the season to be careful. From now until Christmas, Germans can get daily lessons on how to protect themselves online by opening the doors of a virtual Advent calendar provided by anti-surveillance advocates.
By the time Advent begins, Christmas trees are already set up in German city centers. Every year, however, public Christmas trees are at the center of a heated debate: Who has the biggest one?
Thousands of visitors caused chaos as they flocked to the idyllic forest market in Velen near the Dutch border, a village of only 75 people. Some 85 million people visit Germany's Christmas markets every year.
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