The oldest known civilizations, Egyptian and Sumerian, both had Solstice celebrations. The rebirth/resurrection of Egyptian god Horus lasted twelve days. The Sumerian god Marduk also had a twelve day celebration where He conquered the demons of darkness! The Sumerians included in their celebrations the tradition of gift giving which later Pagan Rome (my favorite Roman period) adopted it as Saturnalia and included jingling bells to drive away evil daimons away as well as candles to welcome back the Sun. The Greeks noticed the immortality in the varieties of Evergreens, that they had the power over death unlike the other trees during the winter and wreaths and limbs were brought inside. Mistletoes were used for fertility, abundance, and protection from evil. The Norse Freyja had a kissing ritual which bestowed luck, love, fertility and protection from disease. During Persephone’s descent into the Underworld, her God Demeter cries tears that form the first snowflakes. The same story is found earlier with the Sumerian Goddess Inanna and Her descent into the Underworld (Akkadian version is Ishtar).