Don't you hate the way that every single thing you learned when you were a kid turned out to have been -- a lie. Even the simple stuff.
It turns out that even December 25, the celebration we call "Christmas," which is supposed to be the day on which Jesus was born, is just a bunch of hooey. (Sorry Christians). Jesus was not born on December 25. Apparently he was born in September. That's not my opinion, that's from religious scholars based upon descriptions in the Bible.
All over this country we've got people proclaiming that December 25 was the day Jesus was born. In a manger. And the 3 wisemen and the camel and gifts -- all a lie. Instead, in 350 a.d. the Pope selected December 25 as an arbitrary date on which to celebrate the birth of Jesus. He chose that day because he was trying to wean people away from their pagan holidays. So he hoped to substitute the "Jesus Birthday" new holiday he was creating for the various pagan holidays which were celebrated in December around the world.
For example, December 25 is the date on which the Feast of the Son of Isis (Goddess of Nature) was celebrated in ancient Babylon. On that day, people would have parties, feasts, drink, and exchange gifts.
In Rome, in December and January there were holidays and celebrations long before Jesus was born. These were celebrations of the winter solstice. Among other traditions of the Roman holiday were the singing groups who went from home to home, singing songs for their neighbors. These groups were called Mummers. Just like our caroling groups.
In northern Europe, long before Jesus was born, this period in the end of December was also celebrated for the winter solstice. They called that period "Yule." According to the people in northern Europe, the pagan sun God Mithras was born on the shortest day of the year (December 21), and that birth was celebrated by them. Among other traditions of the northern Europeans, they would kiss under the mistletoe during this time, because mistletoe was thought to be a fertility plant. In northern Europe, the people during this period would also often bring evergreen trees into their homes, as a reminder to them to wish for the crops to grow in the spring.
Now if we can re-examine this whole "Jesus' Birthday" story, maybe it's time to take a second look at the whole "virgin birth" issue. Anyway, if you hear some Bill O'Really fan whining about somebody saying "Happy Holidays," you can use this information to educate them as to the actual multi-cultural and pagan holidays all of which are celebrated at the end of December. Including Jesus' September birthday!
The official first celebration of Christmas (Christ Mass) was in Germany in the 1500s. Of course nowadays the celebration has been moved to the malls where people buy electronic gadgets and expensive clothes with credit cards, hoping that the one day of Christmas can solve all their problems. It usually doesn't, but may be fun anyway.