Before the Winter Solstice was taken over by Christians and rebranded a celebration of Christ’s birth, it was a purely secular affair.
Actually, even more than that: it was an atheistic celebration of nature for nature’s sake. A joyful recognition of the abundance of our world and the importance of looking after it.
A lot of the symbols of the original festival have survived its Christianisation, most notably the Christmas tree, which for some reason few Christians even attempt to try to fit into their story.
Given the atheistic origins of the season, it’s endlessly amusing when Christians (particularly in the US) concoct arguments against a mythical “War on Christmas” supposedly being waged by those who would have religion turfed out of public life. Most probably don’t even know that they are the invaders here.
To illustrate the point, a plaque was erected in Olympia, Washington reading:
“At this season of the Winter Solstice, may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”
Of course it was torn down after an hour after it was erected.
Freedom of religious expression is a decidedly one-sided affair in the Land of the Free.