Children make a gingerbread house at a shopping mall in Huaibei, China, on Dec. 18. Christian culture, though still unfamiliar to most Chinese, continues to spread. According to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, more than 23 million Christians now live in China – a significant jump over the past three decades that has helped to popularize the Christmas holiday. Li Xin/Newscom
A shopkeeper shows Christmas products to a customer at a market in Yiwu City, China, on Dec. 14. Zhang Jiancheng/Newscom
A Chinese pastor conducts mass on Christmas Eve at the Southern Cathedral, the oldest Catholic church in Beijing in 2008. Ng Han Guan/AP/FILE
Chinese families gather with their children to paint a giant Christmas tree at a shopping mall in Beijing on Dec. 19. Newscom
Christmas decorations adorn Xidan Commercial Street in Beijing on Dec. 18. Newscom
Visitors take photos in front of a lighting display at the SOLANA Shopping Park in Beijing on Dec. 19. More than 1,000 sets of light creations were presented at the third SOLANA Lights Festival. Imago/Xinhua/Newscom
A 75-foot Christmas tree, costing about $120,000, stands in front of a shopping mall on Hangzhou, China, on Dec. 17.
A woman walks past a Christmas tree decoration at a shopping mall in Shanghai, China, on Dec. 10. Jing Wei/ColorChinaPhoto/Newscom
A craftsman trims a reindeer made from grass in Linyi, China, on Dec. 18. Newscom
A woman inspects Christmas trees made of grass in Linyi, China, on Dec. 18. Newscom
The Costa Concordia cruise liner began its final voyage Wednesday, slowly being towed away from Giglio's port, where the luxury liner ended up on its side in Mediterranean waters, after being gashed by a reef it struck more than two years ago, killing 32 people.
ByPaolo Santalucia, Associated Press
The Costa Concordia cruise liner began its final voyage Wednesday, slowly being towed away from the tiny Italian island where it capsized more than two years ago, killing 32 people.