Modern society has succeeded in turning what was once just a way to inject some light and music into the darkest time of year into a monumental exercise in deadline pressure. It has become a huge logistical problem. All right! On your mark! Get Set! BE FESTIVE!
Did the gifts arrive on time? Did the party go well? Is everybody happy? Does it fit? Right color? Is it The Right Stuff? Buy it. Wrap it. Maybe even ship it, if you can't be with the ones you love. Move that merchandise, or the holiday ain't jolly.
Great. As if we didn't have enough to feel depressed about this time of year. That's why we started partying in the first place, you idiots. Why pile all these conditions on our happiness?
It was a gradual process over centuries (at least), which is why so many people let it get so far out of hand.
Ah well. I chalk up a lot of religion to death fear and survivors' guilt. Think too much about the wrong things and you completely lose sight of what's really important, which is to get through the dark time as best you can and avoid doing anything rash until your head straightens out some time in January. Water down the religion and crank up the consumer angle and you get the holly jolly mess we all negotiate today.
Be of good cheer. Season to taste.