Oh, no, I am informed, it's a GENERIC holiday celebration (I generally refrain from pointing out that HOLIDAY is a variant of the original HOLY DAY). Just happens that SO many important holidays occur around this time that it's convenient to adjourn for vacation.
I always respond by saying, "I'll call it Winter Break the very first year that it DOESN'T include Christmas".
Christmas is the ONLY reason for the break - it comes at a bad time, just before the end of the semester. It would make FAR more sense to delay the vacation for another week, give the tests, then adjourn for a between-semesters vacation.
Won't happen. Parents (most of them taxpayers and/or voters) would have the school boards roasted - like chestnuts - for daring to implement the sensible switch.
No, we break BECAUSE the majority celebrate Christmas - many of them attending church for the only time that year (I'll address the twice-a-year Christians another time). A few celebrate Kwaanza - fewer every year - and, in selected locations, Hannukkah makes the present-giving event(s).
Funnily enough, few remember the Christian tradition of Epiphany (Jan. 6) or the Holy Day of Obligation (Jan. 1 - Feast of Mary - older Catholics may remember this as Circumcision of Jesus).
Christmas goes on from December 25 (the 1st Day of Christmas) to January 5 (the Eve of Epiphany, when the Magi appeared - celebrated as Three Kings Day in many countries).
The picture at the left shows the Holy Family at the start of their Flight into Egypt (by Michaelangelo).
So, in the spirit of the EXTENDED season,