Left: Ed Rode / Getty Images Right: Ammar Awad / Reuters
Left: Santa and Wynonna Judd performs for Make-A-Wish kids & their families at Belle Meade Plantation on Dec. 21, 2011 in Nashville, Tenn.
Right: A man dressed in a Santa Claus suit walks in the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on Dec. 22, 2011.
Santa Claus has been with us for quite some time. Many people believe he was derived from Dutch, Greek and Byzantine folklore tales about a mythical character who provides gifts to children during the darkest winter month. The modern North American version has been popularized by film, television, books and music. He might be the most recognizable character in the world. Seeing the portly, white-bearded, outrageously red-suited character can bring up a lot of deep feelings about family and home, and that is why people use his likeness for peaceful and sometimes not-so-peaceful purposes. Seeing Santa get a beatdown from the police can stop you in your tracks.
Ivan Alvarado / Reuters
A demonstrator dressed as Santa Claus is arrested by riot policemen during clashes with students who are demanding changes in the public state education system in Santiago, on Dec. 22, 2011. Chilean students have been protesting against what they say is the profiteering in the state education system.
Related stories about student protests in Chile
- PhotoBlog: Student protester gets punched in the face by Chilean riot police officer in Santiago
- PhotoBlog: Students protest education system with a pillow fight in Chile
- PhotoBlog: Protesting Chilean students get hammered by water cannons in Santiago
- PhotoBlog: Deadly protests turn romantic in Chile
Related Santa Claus and Christmas stories
- PhotoBlog: They like gifts, but Santa ... not so much
- US News: Arizona gun club offers Santa shoot
- PhotoBlog: SantaCon NYC: full of good cheer? Or just full of beer?
- Slideshow: Faces of Santa
- Slideshow: Christmas at the White House