Dec 25, before Christ

On Christmas Day, here is a question. Did people celebrate Dec 25th even before the birth of Christ ?. According to Archeologists, Dec 25th was “celebrated 300 years”: before the birth of Christ in Rome
bq. The original event marked the consecration of the ancient world’s largest sun god statue, the 34m tall, 200 ton Colossus of Rhodes. It has long been known that 25 December was not the real date of Christ’s birth and that the decision to turn it into Jesus’s birthday was made by Constantine, the Roman Emperor, in the early 4th century AD. But experts believe the origins of that decision go back to 283 BC, when, in Rhodes, the winter solstice occurred at about sunrise on 25 December.
bq. The date was chosen because the emperor seems to have believed that the Roman sun god and Christ were virtually one and the same, and the sun’s birthday had been decreed as 25 December some 50 years earlier by one of Constantine’s predecessors, the Emperor Aurelian.
[via “Independent”:]