The week before the winter solstice was known as Saturnalia in Ancient Rome. A week of complete relaxation, parties, food, pleasure, happiness. The winter solstice was the 25th of December according to the Julian Calendar, the day with the least sunlight in the whole year. The day prior to the solstice, toys were given to the kids in what it was called the Sigillaria. So, the solstice marked the moment of the rebirth of the Sun, Apollo and Mithras in the ancient era, Jesus Christ after the pagan worships were fused with the Christian ones in order to "convert" millions of non-believers.
So... Io Saturnalia!! and have fun.
Note: This is a copy of the original posting in Multae Sententiae, dated December 16, 2004