Milad-un-Nabi: November 9th-10th is Muhammad's Birthday celebration. A bit too early for this post, but it's also a winter holiday and needs mention along with all the others. The holiday is celebrated by exchanging gifts and giving to the poor.
Saturnalia: The Romans liked mid-winter to celebrate something, so Saturn got the festival. This one was usurped for the Christmas myth. Don't get all twisted. Christmas is not a celebration for Jesus. It's a way to get the Pagans to sign up.
Besides Saturn, other pagan dieties are celebrated for much the same reason. Mithra, Horus, Zeus, even Hercules. Christians didn't steal the celebration until 400 AD. Historical accounts have Christ born in the spring, but that would have interfered with the theft of Oestra, the spring festival of fertility.
Pancha Ganapati: The Hindu solstice celebration lasts five days - December 21st to 25th (the Hindus really know how to party). The celebration is in honor of the elephant god Ganesha, who is the patron of arts and guardian of culture. Each day is celebrated by a different color which have special meanings for Ganesha. Golden Yellow creates a vibration of love and harmony within the family, Royal Blue for love and harmony between neighbors and friends, Ruby Red for harmony with business associates, Emerald Green celebrates art and culture, and the last day (which happens to be December 25th) is Brilliant Orange for love and harmony for all. The holiday is celebrated with lights and tinsel, but with a nice picture of Lord Ganesh rather than a tree.
Hanakkuh: This year, the beginning of Hanakkuh falls on December 22nd. What a perfect time for the Festival of Lights for those of the Judaic persuasion. Since the Jewish calendar is based on different dates than the western one, liberal Jews can have their Hanakkuh, and still celebrate Christmas and Kwanzaa with their friends. Anyone want a convertible hanakkuh bush? Everybody can party like it's 5775.
Kwanzaa: Created in 1966, Kwanzaa was made up by a California
guy to highlight African-american culture is on December 26th (like the British Boxing Day). Cool thought, but I'd just as soon we'd say: "What? Obama is black? Wow, I didn't know that." Keeping separate ensures separateness. Hey! Doesn't that look like a Menorah?
More recently, Kwanzaa is celebrated in conjunction with Christmas since many African-Americans are Christian. I suppose those of the Muslim faith can also celebrate Kwanzaa since the major winter holy day for Muslims was way back in November.
Christmas: A usurpation of the mid-winter Saturnalia Festival and Jule. St. Patrick was big on keeping the frolicking holidays, but bending them to his own purpose. Historical records seem to place the actual birth of Jesus in March or April. Facts don't get in the way of the commercial spending binge. All hail the Almighty (dollar/euro/pound/yen).
The big bruhaha every year in the US was all the stores who decided that Thanksgiving was a great day for their employees to not be with their family in a celebration of thanksgiving. So, they opened their doors and let the crowds rush in. Christians don't have to worry about atheists having some pretend war on Christmas. Christians are their own worst enemies. Ask the Pope.
So, whatever you celebrate around this time of year, enjoy, be happy, and don't drink too much then drive around endangering others. Stay home and get smashed.