Germany's sky-scraping Santa and monsters top unusual Christmas celebrations

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A man dressed as a Santa Claus poses on top of the Kollhoff Tower at Potsdamer Platz square in Berlin, Germany, December 13, 2015 REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
A man dressed as a Santa Claus poses on top of the Kollhoff Tower at Potsdamer Platz square in Berlin, Germany, December 13, 2015 REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
A man dressed as Father Christmas aka Santa Claus climbs down the Kollhoff tower on December 13, 2015 as part of a yearly stunt before the festive season. AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL / AFP / JOHN MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
A man dressed as a Santa Claus climbs down from the Kollhoff Tower at Potsdamer Platz square in Berlin, Germany, December 13, 2015 REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
A man dressed as a Santa Claus climbs down from the Kollhoff Tower at Potsdamer Platz square in Berlin, Germany, December 13, 2015 REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
A man dressed as a Santa Claus climbs down from the Kollhoff Tower at Potsdamer Platz square in Berlin, Germany, December 13, 2015 REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
Costumed participants attend a traditional Perchtenlauf (Perchten parade) in Osterseeon near Munich, Germany, December 17, 2016. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
Costumed participants perform during a traditional Perchtenlauf (Perchten parade) in Osterseeon near Munich, Germany, December 17, 2016. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
KAPLICE, CZECH REPUBLIC - DECEMBER 12: Participants dressed as the Krampus creatures walk the streets during Krampus gathering on December 12, 2015 in Kaplice, Czech Republic. Krampus, also called Tuifl or Perchten, is a demon-like creature represented by a fearsome, hand-carved wooden mask with animal horns, a suit made from sheep or goat skin and large cow bells attached to the waist that the wearer rings by running or shaking his hips up and down. Krampus has been a part of Central European, alpine folklore going back at least a millennium, and since the 17th-century Krampus traditionally accompanies St. Nicholas and angels on the evening of December 5 to visit households to reward children that have been good while reprimanding those who have not. However, in the last few decades the western Austrian region of Tyrol in particular has seen the founding of numerous village Krampus associations with up to 100 members each and who parade without St. Nicholas at Krampus events throughout November and early December. In the last few years, Czech towns, placed on the border with Austria, invite Austrian Krampus groups into towns for parades as a new tradition during Advent. (Photo by Matej Divizna/Getty Images)
A krampus mask is laid on the street ahead the start of the traditional Krampus run in Munich, southern Germany, on December 11, 2016. A Krampus is a half-demon, half goat figure who punishes children who misbehaved during the Christmas season. / AFP / dpa / Andreas Gebert / Germany OUT (Photo credit should read ANDREAS GEBERT/AFP/Getty Images)
People dressed as Krampus and a woman dressed as an angel pose ahead the start of the traditional Krampus run in Munich, southern Germany, on December 11, 2016. A Krampus is a half-demon, half goat figure who punishes children who misbehaved during the Christmas season. / AFP / dpa / Andreas Gebert / Germany OUT (Photo credit should read ANDREAS GEBERT/AFP/Getty Images)
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BERLIN, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Santa Claus climbing down a skyscraper in Berlin. A parade of terrifying monsters in Bavaria.

The run-up to Christmas in Germany this year has included the usual displays of dazzling lights and festive markets, but also some unusual celebrations.

In Berlin on Sunday, a Santa Claus shunned the traditional chimney and used a rope ladder to climb 100 meters (328 feet) down the side of the famous Kollhoff Tower to deliver presents to surprised children inside a 24th-floor cafe.

The children watched in awe as Santa greeted them through the windows before making his way inside to distribute presents.

"He climbed through here, then he was at the door, he opened it and came in," said Konstantin, a young boy who received a beach ball, ninja toy and cuddly reindeer.

In the Bavarian town of Kirchseeon, residents dressed as hairy, masked monsters marched through the streets in a traditional "Perchten" parade on Sunday.

The processions are usually held over the shortest and darkest days of the year when "Perchten" monsters sing and dance to ward off the darkness and call nature back to life.

"The 12 nights after Christmas are the struggle of light against dark. The light will win with the help of the Perchten, and nature will wake up again," parade leader Wolfgang Uebelacker told Reuters. "People used to say that the corn next year will grow as high as the Perchten jump."

He said the tradition dated back to the pre-Christian era, though experts disagree on exactly where and when it began. (Reporting by Reuters Television; writing by Darren Schuettler; editing by Mark Heinrich)

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