Five thousand years of human history--maybe more--have enfolded this season in rich garb--many layers of celebration, folklore and tradition.
The winter solstice was greeted with festival long before anyone called it Christmas.
It is now the month of December, when the greatest part of the city is in a bustle. Loose reins are given to public dissipation; everywhere you may hear the sound of great preparations, as if there were some real difference between the days devoted to Saturn and those for transacting business....Were you here, I would willingly confer with you as to the plan of our conduct; whether we should eve in our usual way, or, to avoid singularity, both take a better supper and throw off the toga.
Seneca the younger., writing about Rome during Saturnalia, circa 50 A.D