Images and symbols - even dates - which originally came from paganism but are now submitted to the One True God, sometimes do have a place within Christian tradition (small “t”). And that has always been the case, since all things belong to Him and may be submitted to Him.
I doubt if we know anyone who, in placing a Christmas tree in his living room, does this because he intends to worship pagan Germanic gods or celebrate the winter solstice. The true now has a true meaning, not a false one: symbolizing Christmas, the celebration of the Nativity of the Savior.
If one chooses to question the adoption of such symbols (or the very celebration of Christmas itself - especially on Dec. 25) because of their pagan origination, then one should likewise question the Hebrew festivals we see recorded in Scripture. Christmas is no more or less “pagan” than the Jewish celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles which coincided with a Canaanite festival celebrating the grape harvest. Just as the Hebrews made their own and conformed to the honor of the One True God what were previously pagan commemorations, it was (is) entirely appropriate for the Church to reclaim, e.g., a date in time which had been perverted to the glory of a pagan deity and appropriate it for the glory of the true Unconquered Son.
Time itself is a creature of God and it along with all creation can be - and often is - distorted and misused by man. But we see in Scripture, such as in the Canticle of Daniel (Dn. 3:35-88), that all creation is to praise the Lord, even the sun and moon which regulate our days and hours. The fact that some have worshiped these creatures rather than their Creator, does not mean that they cannot be redeemed and put to the use for which they were created - ultimately to the glory of God.
In Ephesians 1:10 we read: “. . .to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth,” (RSV). Here and elsewhere in Scripture we see that all of creation is to be gathered into submission to Christ - ALL of creation. The Church is the means by which this gathering-in is accomplished, redeeming and sanctifying in Christ that which has been corrupted - including time, places, and things.
The difficulty some have with the celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord, or with some of the human traditions that have been incorporated into the celebration, seems to come from the idea that everything having to do with man’s relationship to God has to have a scriptural warrant (for the Fundamentalist Protestants especially - and why do so many atheists sound just like the most vehement Fundamentalist? ), or easily connected to either Scripture or Sacred Tradition (for us Catholics ).
If we were to apply this sense of purity to Scripture itself we would have to exclude much of what we see of the religious practices of the Hebrew people. Certainly they were divinely guided to offer to God the worship He desired from the, but if we make even the most cursory comparison to the religious practices of their neighbors - especially the Egyptians and then the Canaanites - we find great similarities and even appropriations: circumcision, festivals, sacrificial rituals and libations hymns (psalms), proverbs (Prov. 22:17-24:22 was modeled after the Egyptians “The Instruction of Amenehope”, 10000-600 B.C.). Pagan origins? Yes. Yet God used it all to fashion a people for Himself, using the “material at hand” and giving it His divine blessing and transforming it to His purposes.
So the wisdom of the Church in incorporating some cultural (pagan) traditions into the celebration of Christmas should be seen as a part of the submission of all things to Christ. We just have to make sure that we employ these things with Christ in mind - submitting our own minds to Him.