NPR

In Bethlehem, 'Baba Noel' Delivers Christmas Gifts To Palestinian Children

In the Holy Land, Santa doesn't come down the chimney or wait till kids are asleep to deliver presents. "Baba Noel" or Father Christmas hops out of a red van and makes house calls while they're awake.
Sabri Canaan, 30, dons a Santa suit to deliver presents as Baba Noel (Father Christmas) on Christmas Eve in Bethlehem. His driver Mohammed Battah (left) briefs him on the list of children receiving gifts. Source: Daniel Estrin/NPR

In the little town of Bethlehem, Santa hops out of a red minivan, adjusts his round, gold-rimmed glasses and is briefed by his chauffeur, Mohammed Battah.

"Martin and Christina," the driver says, handing him two wrapped boxes.

"Martin!" Santa calls out, rapping his cane and ringing a golden bell as he ascends a stone staircase.

Four-year-old Martin cries at first, scared of the stranger with the white beard. Then, when he

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