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Monaco's royals, Michelle Obama among famous figures spreading Christmas cheer

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Princess Caroline and daughter Princess Alexandra distribute presents to children attending Monaco's annual holiday ceremonies
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 Photo: © Getty Images

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Carla Bruni brings out a shiny, special package at a party in Paris
 Photo: © PA

17 DECEMBER 2009

As the winter holidays approach, people everywhere are decorating trees, singing carols and wrapping presents.

And the world's royal families and statesmen, it seems, are also getting into the Christmas spirit.

Monaco's Princess Caroline joined her siblings, Princess Stephanie and Prince Albert, for the principality's annual gift giving ceremony on Wednesday.

Despite her rumoured separation from husband Ernst of Hanover and his continued absence at important events, Caroline was all smiles as she and her family passed out presents to young children.

Her daughter, ten-year-old Princess Alexandra, donned a Santa hat and lent a helping hand to the big man himself.

On the same day, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni also caught the Christmas bug.

The couple hosted a traditional holiday party at the Elysee Palace in Paris, looking every bit content in each other's company, as well as that of the children.

Carla was seen chatting with some of the tots and later she and Nicolas presented them with a selection of big, shiny boxes.

Across the Pond, US First Lady Michelle Obama also played Father Christmas, delivering six giant, red-and-green sacks of toys to the charity Toys for Tots, a US Marines programme.

White House staff donated more than 500 gifts, but the generous first lady said that she planned to use the remaining days before Christmas to shop for more toys for the charity.

In Jordan, the always elegant Queen Rania - who over the years has worked to promote intercultural relations - attended a Christmas tree lighting ceremony that included festive carols.

She later served as Santa's helper by joining him in handing out gifts to children at a local interfaith centre.

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