When you think of Christmas, seldom does Iran come to mind. But in the Islamic republic, Christmas is celebrated in public, unlike many countries in the region. Despite being a strictly Shi'ite Muslim country, there are church services in major cities, where some shops are decorated with banners, snow globes, candy canes, and Santa Claus figures. In Iran, celebrating Christmas has become gradually popular over the years, particularly among young people, regardless of religion. The Islamic republic has around 100,000 Christians, most of them ethnic Armenians.