The TRUTH about Christmas
Here is a link to an article titled The History of Christmas
Christmas began about 4000 years ago, despite the fact it's only been about 2000 years since the birth of Jesus.
For those who complain that America is trying to take the "Christ" out of Christmas, remember that the Christians borrowed the holiday from the pagans, and they seemed plenty willing to share.
The first known Christmas can be blamed on the early Mesopotamians who celebrated a 12 day new year around the winter solstice (the 12 Days of Christmas). Their chief god, Marduk, was set for his annual battle against the forces of chaos (the forces that were making the sunlight dwindle), and the Mesopotamian King was supposed to be killed to go fight at Marduk's side.
Seeing how hard it is to get a good king, however, they tried to pull a fast one on their god; they found a prisoner already condemned to death, and let him spend a day as the king. He got all the king's treats, clothes, and respect. Then at the end of the day he was stripped and slain so he could go fight at the shoulder of god.
This worked out well for the king, who got to live, and the prisoner, who at least had a nice day out of the dungeons before he was killed...