Many Christmas customs are based on the birth of Christ. Such as giving presents because of the Wise Men, who brought presents to the baby Jesus. Christmas carols based on Christ's birth and scenes of the birth with figures of shepherds, the Wise Men, and animals surrounding the baby Jesus.
But some of the ways people celebrate Christmas have nothing to do with Christ's birthday. Many bits of older holidays have crept into Christmas!
It wasn't until about 200 years after Christ's death that Christians even thought about celebrating his birth. No one knows the exact date of his birth. It is believed that December the 25th was chosen to turn people away from celebrating other holidays in this time of the year.
Saturnalia, was the Romans holiday that they celebrated in December. It was a time of feasting and parties. Also, in northern Europe there was a holiday known as Yule. They celebrated this holiday by making great fires. They then would dance around the fires, yelling for the winter to end.
In time, Christmas took the place of these holidays. But people kept some of the old customs -- such as burning a Yule log and having feasts and parties. The word Yule is still used as a name for the Christmas season.
As time went on, new customs crept into Christmas. One was the Christmas tree, which was started in Germany. As the Germans settled in new lands they brought with them this tradition.
Last but not least is Saint Nick. A long time ago, a bishop named Nicholas lived in what is now the country of Turkey. No one knows much about him. There are stories that he often helped children in need. Many years after his death, Nicholas was made a saint. In time, he became the patron saint of children.