I am going to go off on a little atheist rant for a moment. First, I love Christmas. Who doesn't like gifts, and cookies, and eggnog, and Santa? All kinds of awesome there. However, DO NOT say that I don't have a right to celebrate the holiday if I am not Christian. The holiday itself has become a cultural celebration. If you choose to put religious significance fine, but don't harsh my groove with your religious indignation. Just to throw my pot of piss in to your campfire let us look at the Christmas holiday and figure out what is truth and what is fabricated myth.
First and foremost, it is unknown when and where Jesus of Nazareth was born. There is no record of his birth. Being born 2,000 years ago in to a peasant Jewish family in a time where only the wealthy and royal had their births recorded, this is not surprising. The origins of Christmas trace back to, like most things in Christianity, Roman Emperor Constantine. Constantine was a pagan. He worshiped the old Roman gods. However he found religious tolerance of the new Christian religion would be to his benefit. So, after a while he held a council at Nicaea to bring the different sects of Christianity in to a cohesive whole. From this council most of Christian tradition propagates.
Constantine wanted to unite his empire under one religion, to give the people a sense of shared culture. It also solidified his rule, as kings rule under divine providence. If you say you received the right of rule from one set of gods, the followers of the other set of gods say those gods are false, therefore we don't recognize your rule. Thus the incompatibility of religious tolerance and monarchy. Anyway...
Constantine wanted to blend the two religions as closely as he could. And the pagans had a winter solstice celebration every year. How can you celebrate an old religious holiday, while practicing another? You just say that your new holiday happened on the exact time as your old one! SWEET! You can have your cake and Santa too.
So, in actuality Christians, you are celebrating the Pagan holiday of the winter solstice, not the birth of Christ.
As an added note, the only record of Jesus being born in Bethlehem, the slaughter of the innocents, the exodus to Egypt, the Magi, and all of the other things that were supposed to have happened at that time are only found in the Bible, and conflict with one another. The simple fact is that, at the time Jesus could have been just another peasant religious nut who had delusions of grandeur. The only historical record we think we have on him is... was.... well... There aren't any historical records. Conveniently the Christians say all of the Roman records were burned up in Nero's fire. Understandable you say, it was a long time a go. BUT the Romans were perhaps the best record keepers in the ancient world. We know EVERYTHING about them, because they wrote EVERYTHING down. Seriously, they did. Yet no record survives about the hugely influential person of Jesus? You know who didn't get recorded? Unimportant people. Normal people. If Jesus existed at all, and was as influential as the Christian accounts say he was, there would have been something down on paper about him. There simply is not.
So, is it better to Celebrate the birth of a man that may or may not have existed, or to celebrate a time where we look to the best in people and express a desire for peace and freedom for all people?