I have no particular theory about Christmas and its meaning. As a student of history, I recognize the not so un-coincidental congruence of holidays that coincide with the winter solstice. Some of the first US Christians, the Puritans, did not celebrate Christmas at all. They thought the German settlers with their yule logs and fir trees were more concerned with pagan rites than Christian practices.
The customs and practices of Christmas are rooted in many cultures and practices including Roman, Jewish, Germanic-paganism and Zoroastrianism. I prefer the Christmas times of my youth that were much less commercial, simpler and less filled with anxious expectation. I recognize January 2nd as one of the happier days of the year for me because the burdens and obligation, the hysteria and frantic worries of Christmas are over. The days get a little longer. Everything is less crowded and people do not have to pretend to be nice or happy or grateful. They can be themselves again.
Expectations are back to normal and the insanity of excess is put back into hibernation. I never did care about the daily countdown as to how the retailers are doing.
Do not confuse my lack of enthusiasm as Scrooge-like. It is all just not as important to me as it seems to be for most everyone else. There are important parts to Christmas that I treasure, the great Church music of Handel’s Messiah and the honest stated desire of peace on earth are two of my favorites. They both can bring a tear to my eye. I decorate my own ancient house in traditional Christmas pagan boughs of holly and red and gold garlands. I will take comfort in the joys and blessings of my own life and express them as a wish for all of you, whether you deserve them or not. Merry Christmas.